What Is Linux

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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

Strictly speaking, Linux is a kernel. A kernel provides access to the computer hardware and control access to resources. 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
  • GUI (X windows)
  • 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

Corporate and small businesses users need support while running Linux, so companies such as Red Hat or Novell 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 200+ Linux distributions.