LINUX vs. WINDOWS
Whereas Windows constitutes the leading proprietary operating system, LINUX is the foremost free open source alternative. The brainchild of Linus Torvalds (who in 1991 wrote and released the core ("kernel") of every LINUX system while a graduate student of computer science at Finland's University of Helsinki), LINUX is based upon UNIX -- the network-centered operating system pioneered by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs in 1969. Further developed by fellow intellectuals and software designers, the LINUX kernel has served as the foundation for varying combinations ("distributions") of open source components that have been packaged and released by numerous companies including Red Hat, Corel, Caldera/SCO, Novell, IBM, and Sun Microsystems. Unlike Windows, LINUX benefits from the constant monitoring and contributions by a community of thousands of talented developers worldwide ranging from academic experts to individuals interested in heightening competition with Microsoft, those motivated to improve an application to better meet their own software needs or simply computer aficionados.