Why Linux?

Why we chose to use Linux

The EngSoc project started as a vision to to provide UNIX accounts to undergraduate engineering students at Carleton. This vision became reality with the help of a group of dedicated and enthiusiastic students who volunteered and are volunteering their time to learn about and set-up such a system. EngSoc relied on loaned hardware to get off its feet and only recently acquired more suitable machines. Therefore EngSoc doesn't have any sort of reliable, external funding. The logical thing to do was to use a freely available unix variant or at least, a low cost one, that would run on the loaned hardware, 486DX at the time, ca. 1995. The choices then included 386BSD, FreeBSD, and Linux. Linux was chosen as it was widely used around the world and well supported. There were already systems on campus successfully running Linux reporting performance comparable to or better than higher-end setups. It seemed appropriate with students offering their free time to volunteer to help bring all this to reality and that ultimately providing undergraduate students with free accounts, that a freely available package such as Linux was used.

"Cooperation. That's what it's all about. Linux is free -- meant in the sense of both costlessness and liberty -- and this freedom fosters positive interaction between programmers who have the shared dream of a complete, working UNIX clone. Ask any developer why they spend hour upon hour on the self-described timesink known as Linux, and they'll give you the same answer: hack value, pure and simple."
-- Matt Welsh (Coordinator of the Linux Documentation Project)

This document was originally prepared by James Chow.