The Kano OS (operating system) is the software that makes your Kano Computer work. Since the Kano Computer is built around a Raspberry Pi, the Kano OS is based on the Raspbian OS which itself is based on Debian, a Linux based operating system.
Hold on, say that again?
It is a bit much to say with one breath, so let's start with Linux.
Linux was started by Linus Torvalds when he was studying computer science in Finland. As part of his studies, Torvalds needed to work with Unix software but couldn't afford the kinds of computers that ran Unix. So he wrote the Linux kernel and bundled it with GNU utilities provided by the free software foundation. Together, these became the Linux operating system or GNU/Linux. The GNU utilities were provided under the open source GPL license of the Free Software Foundation which said that anyone could use the software, change it and redistribute it so long as they provided it under the same license. Linus Torvalds chose to license Linux in the same way. He didn't know it at the time but he was creating a new industry. Today, Linux powers everything from internet servers such as those run by Google and Yahoo to online stores such as Amazon to all of the top 500 super computers in the world. It's also at the core of Android and Chrome OS.
Thanks to that license people started building their own operating systems using Linux and the GNU utilities. One of the oldest of these was Debian, which was started by Ian Murdock who called his system Debian using his and his girlfriend's - Debbie - names.
Since Debian was very committed to maintaining a free operating system and reflecting the ideals of the Free Software Foundation, it was an obvious choice when Eben Upton started the Raspbian Foundation with a view to building a single board computer, the Raspberry Pi, which could be used in schools around the world to teach children about computer science in a way that wasn't prohibitively expensive for either parents of the children or the schools.
At Kano, our ethos is to demystify technology. For us, the Raspberry Pi was an obvious starting point and we embraced the free software idea to build on top of Raspbian and produce an entire eco-system which included everything needed in hardware and software to get everyone up and running. The idea was to take everything Raspbian, Debian and Linux had provided and make it as intuitive to put together as Lego.
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