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|A brief introduction from http://www.getgnulinux.org/linux
What is GNU/Linux?
When you hear the word Linux, you may think of programmers with a beard typing obscure code on a black screen. Good news! things have changed.
Linux is an operating system, a large piece of software that manages a computer. It is similar to Microsoft Windows, but it is entirely free. The accurate name is GNU/Linux but "Linux" is used more often.
Linux is not one company's product, but a number of companies and groups of people contribute to it. In fact, the GNU/Linux system is a core component, which is branched off into many different products. They are called distributions.
Distributions change the appearance and function of Linux
completely. They range from large, fully supported complete systems
(endorsed by companies) to lightweight ones that fit on a USB memory
stick or run on old computers (often developed by volunteers).
GNU/Linux is no harder to use than Windows, and has many more capabilities. It just takes a dozen minutes to get familiar with a distribution like Ubuntu or Fedora, which come in with many programs installed.
If you need commercial-quality software to work with business documents, Internet/networking, or multimedia and graphics, it's there right out of the box. Want more than that? Linux can do – there are many hundreds of free, high quality applications you can find, install and uninstall neatly and easily.
You shouldn't assume however, that Linux is a clone of Windows. To know what to expect when stepping into it, we suggest you read our Making the switch page.
The larger picture
When you get a distribution of GNU/Linux, you also get the freedom to study, copy, change, and redistribute it – that's what makes it truly free software.
Many companies develop their own operating system based on the core GNU software: products they do not have exclusive rights on. How does the wheel turn?
In the end, individual end-users often get the software at zero cost, while corporate customers are often happy to pay for more support.
Linux is an operating system just like Macintosh Lepord, Windows XP, or Windows Vista. The difference is that it does not get viruses like Windows and Mac do, it does not get fragmented (as long as yo don't fill a partition over 95% full), and it is smaller and faster even though it has more software. For most hardware you won't need to install drivers because Linux already has most of the drivers for your devices. Any music you rip from a CD onto your Linux computer can be put on your iPod, iPhone, Zune, MyPod, or whatever .mp3 player you have that hooks up to the PC directly. There are over 6999+ free software packages like gnucash = quicken and quickbooks, Legends = Microsoft's Halo, Frets on Fire = Guitar Hero, and OpenOffice = Microsoft Office just to name a few.
Now at this point your either saying something like "but windows works for me and I understand it so whats wrong with Vista?" or your saying something like "wow Linux sounds great I want to see it for myself"