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GNU/Linux is an operating system family originally derived from Unix by Richard M. Stallman and the educational operating system Minix by Linus Torvalds. The concept was originally designed as a UNIX-compatible operating system, and follows many of the same operating and programming principles. It it referred to as a family due to the nature of software development that has spawned multiple distributions, or collections of software built around a compiled GNU/Linux kernel.

It is common knowledge that Microsoft Windows has by far the greatest game support of the two operating system families, mainly due to the development and adoption of DirectX. This is often cited as one of main reasons that GNU/Linux is not used more often on desktops. However, GNU/Linux is now poised to become a very important platform, spurred on by both the WINE project and by the use of Android, itself based on GNU/Linux, in addition to better advances in graphical programming, such as Wayland, as well as continued development and implementation of OpenGL and Vulkan (formerly Mantle). Valve has also developed its own distribution of GNU/Linux, called SteamOS, based on the Ubuntu distribution, which itself is based on the Debian distribution; this has tempted developers to make GNU/Linux versions of their games where they otherwise may not have seen reason to devote development resources. Valve has since forked WINE, and now their version, Proton, is specifically aimed at running video games on GNU/Linux that previously could only run on Microsoft Windows.