Linux's Unseen Reign: The Operating System That Will Be Everywhere in Five Years

In the early '90s, Linux was a small, unassuming project developed by a handful of developers on the Internet. Few could have imagined that this open-source operating system would one day become as popular and powerful as it is today. Matt Welsh, co-author of "Running Linux," shares his experiences with Linux's humble beginnings and its promising future.

Matt Welsh, a Linux veteran since 1991, recalls the early days when installing Linux required just a couple of floppy disks and came with limited features such as no networking or graphics support. Despite these limitations, Linux held great promise. "Most Linux development projects start because someone has a crazy idea that they can make Linux do something new and wonderful," Welsh says. "And usually, they succeed."

Linux's popularity is expected to continue growing in two major areas: on the desktop and on large servers. However, it will also establish itself in niche markets where other operating systems struggle, such as embedded systems, Internet terminals, firewalls, proxies, and large-scale clusters. Linux's openness and flexibility make it an ideal choice for these applications, especially since Windows 2000 is rumored to fall short in these areas.

Co-author Matthias Kalle Dalheimer shares Welsh's optimism about Linux's future. He sees significant potential in embedded systems, which are computers that go unnoticed in everyday life, like those found in video recorders, cars, and set-top boxes. "Linux is very adaptable to many tasks," Dalheimer explains. "It will be around all of us in five years, only most people won't ever notice."

"Running Linux," the third edition of which was recently released, serves as a comprehensive guide for understanding, installing, and using the Linux operating system. The book includes an installation tutorial, system maintenance tips, document development and programming tools, and guidelines for network, file, printer, and web site administration. New topics in this edition cover KDE, Samba, PPP, and revised instructions for installation and configuration, especially for Red Hat, SuSE, and Debian distributions.

Critics have praised the second edition of "Running Linux" as the finest all-around general-purpose Linux overview available. The book covers everything a user needs to know to understand, install, and use the Linux operating system. It is an invaluable resource for users who have progressed beyond a basic installation and want to learn how to use their Linux system more effectively.

For more information about "Running Linux," including the table of contents, author bios, and a sample chapter, visit To download Appendix B, The GNOME Project, for free, go to

"Running Linux," by Matt Welsh, Matthias Kalle Dalheimer & Lar Kaufman, is available now for $32.95 (US). For more information or to order, contact O'Reilly Media at (800) 998-9938 or visit

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