The open source systems were found during the 1980s with the development of a free version of 'Unix' by Richard Freeman. The open source system becomes interesting to user groups such as the individual users who use the open source systems in industrial and academic areas mostly in the non-software areas. There are also companies who concentrate their efforts on open source software like Sun and IBM who consider the open source systems as an opportunity to undermine the monopoly of Microsoft in the computer software. The third group of users is public institutions sand government agencies especially in the Europe who consider the use of open source systems as a viable alternative for US technology and because of the increased safety and security that can be built in the open source systems.
Originally at the time of initial developments the software were known as 'free software' as defined by the GNU project. The term 'open source' has been coined later and according to Stallman it is an attempt to express the same kind of concept as that of a free software but with a more prudent and palatable approach. The functions of OSS include:
(a) Facilitating and monitoring user interface
(b) Effective job management to save computer usage time
(c) Efficient task management to act as an aid to facilitate multi-task completions
(d) Efficient data management to accommodate more volume of data
(e) Better device management for an efficient handling of the associated hardware and
(f) Ensuring the security of data which is the foremost requirement of any efficient operating system
The OSSs are considered important from the point of view of stability and performance of the selected system. The OSS must also be of low cost and a good protector of the security of the data passing through the system.
Reasons for Examining the Open Source Operating Systems
The examination of the open source operating systems becomes important due to the following reasons:
The importance and utility of the OSS have been increasingly felt in the computer industry which necessitates a closer examination of the features of OSS
It is also relevant to study the history of OSS to understand the effectiveness of these systems in contributing to the software industry
With the study of various OSS it would be possible to gain a deep insight into the various licensing models of the OSS. This is particularly helpful in a practical environment where these systems may have to be employed
An examination of the OSS will lead to an understanding of the proportion of the usage of OSS in the total operating systems market.
'Linux' is one of the popular examples of the open source operating system that is available in the market. This system carries certain distinct advantages like low cost, stability in operations, superior performance, flexibility, and easiness in installation. The system can undertake a