What Is Linux

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What is Linux?
What is Linux?

Linux is a free open-source operating system based on Unix. Linus Torvalds originally created Linux with the assistance of developers from around the world. Linux is:

  • Free
  • Unix Like
  • Open Source
  • Network operating system

What is Linux?

Strictly speaking, Linux is a kernel. A kernel provides access to the computer hardware and control access to resources such as:

  • Files and data.
  • Running programs.
  • Loading programs into memory.
  • Networks.
  • Security and firewall.
  • Device driver management.
  • Other resources etc.

Linux operating system

The kernel decides who will use a resource, for how long and when.You can download the Linux kernel from the official web site. However, the Linux kernel itself is useless unless you get all the applications such as text editors, email clients, browsers, office applications, etc. Therefore, someone came up with idea of a Linux distribution. A typical Linux distribution includes:

  • Linux kernel.
  • GNU application utilities such as text editors, browsers etc.
  • Collection of various GUI (X windows) applications and utilities.
  • Office application software.
  • Software development tools and compilers.
  • Thousands of ready to use application software packages.
  • Linux Installation programs/scripts.
  • Linux post installation management tools daily work such as adding users, installing applications, etc.
  • And, a Shell to glue everything together.

Corporate and small businesses users need support while running Linux, so companies such as Red Hat or SUSE or Canonical (maker of Ubuntu) provide Linux tech-support and sell it as product. Nevertheless, community driven Linux distributions do exist such as Debian, Gentoo and they are entirely free. There are over 1000+ Linux distributions.

Linux and open source

The Linux operating system (distro) is an open-source, freely available OS. One can install Linux on:

  • Desktop computer
  • Laptop computer
  • Bare metal servers
  • Cloud servers
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Supercomputers
  • Video game devices (console)
  • In-car entertainment systems
  • In-flight entertainment systems
  • Medical devices
  • Mars Rover

Linux is everywhere

Initially, Linux was created for PC. Now it has been ported to many devices due to open-source code. For example, Android OS is based upon a modified Linux kernel version.

What does Linux OS/distro include?

A typically Linux distro such as Ubuntu/Debian or Fedora Linux and other includes:

  • Linux kernel
  • Text based applications (e.g., vim)
  • GUI based applications (e.g., Firefox)
  • Compilers and programming languages (e.g., C/C++ or PHP/Perl/Python)
  • Server applications (e.g., MySQL/MariaDB or Apache)
  • And much more.

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