What is Linux ?

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History of LINUX

In this article, we are going to discuss what is linux?. Linux is nothing but born again another UNIX Operating System. You can say it is Linus Torvalds UNIX. In simple words, Linux is an open-source free version of the UNIX operating system developed by Linus Torvalds being a student.

Currently, Linux is the most widely used multiuser multitasking one of the most robust operating systems. It is an enhanced version of UNIX that was derived to overcome challenges in UNIX by adding additional functionality.

For example, in brief, sh is the default shell of UNIX new shell was introduced with the name itself clarifies bash which stands for born again shell which has addressed few basic shortcomings of the sh shell-like command aliasing and history facility.

In the early 90s Finnish Computer Programmer, Linus Torvalds a student at the University of Helsingfors has developed an open-source MINIX operating system like UNIX or you can say another derived version of UNIX.

Actually, Linus Torvalds’s system folder name was Linux when he started sharing this so that name stuck as it was similar to UNIX.

Based on human Physiology he named the folder with his name and UNIX as a reference ie Linus+Unix=Linux. Just for simulation Virat+Anushka leads to Virushka.

With the help of SFS Stallman and he drove UNIX Kernel by adding additional packages or you can say utilities and named the entire system as GNU/Linux or you can say Linux. Actually, GNU’s name was contributed by Richard Stallman while Linux was from Linus Torvalds which is commonly referred to and became famous with Linux only.

So let us through some light on what is open source? even it is very much clear from its name.

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What is Open Source?

Linux is distributed under an open-source license named GNU/Linux. Richard Stallman announced the GNU project in September 1983. GNU stands for “GNU’s Not Unix”  

Open Source has the below characteristics

  • Freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
  • Freedom to study how it works and tune it to your requirement.
  • Freedom for Redistribution to help others.
  • Freedom to distribute copies of your versions to others.

All these points are crucial to understanding that the community works together to create the Linux Platform. Linux is a robust operating system that is by the people and for the people.

These qualities about Linux is a major factor of people choose Linux. are also the main factor in why many people choose Linux by choice.

For what linux is used for?

LINUX has evolved over time and become the basis of commercial networking devices and it has established itself as an enterprise infrastructure base and heavily used in high-performance computing and all other sectors.

Linux is the base of many cellular telephones and supercomputers. Since its open-source nature many organizations like Red Hat, Slackware, Debian, and many more have been derived from it for the enterprise sector.

You name anything linux is used there. Linux has become the most trusted and heavily used operating system across the IT sector and many new operating systems get released and became so much popular in the market as anyone can modify and release their own version.

As compared to Microsoft which was having more than 90% of the market share due to the GUI platform and ease of use. It was found a little bit difficult for users many new distributions released which are consistently gaining momentum in, especially desktop sectors.

RHEL & CentOS are the most widely used Unix Operating Systems among commercial scientific software vendors.

What is CentOS?

CentOS is an abbreviation of Community Enterprise Operating System is a free and open-source GNU/Linux-based operating system derived from and virtually identical to Redhat Enterprise Linux known as RHEL.

CentOS is widely used in data centers throughout the world and is by far the most popular operating system for HPC clusters, including our large faculty research clusters.

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What is a distribution?

Well, the distribution you know what it means. So it has relevance with its name exactly means how linux is getting distributed. Linux comes in different distributions users can opt for based on their requirements and experience. You can find a linux flavor suitable for your needs.

These various versions are known as distributions also these are named as distros. Almost all distros except propriety versions of Linux can be downloaded for free and can be burned into USB Drives as a bootable drive.

You can find utilities like Rufus on the internet which will help you to create a USB bootable drive and you can use it for Installing a particular Linux Operating System on your desktop or laptop. 

Many distros used by the enterprise sector setup their own deployment infrastructure for speedy and consistent and customized deployment like  KickStart for Linux Deployment and JumpStart for Solaris Deployment at the Enterprise level.

List of Popular Linux Distributions

Linux Mint Manjaro Debian Ubuntu
Elementary OS Antergos Solus Fedora
Mandriva Linux OpenSUSE Arch Linux Kubuntu
Mageria NixOS LiMUX Handy Linux

The above list is not exclusive it is just for reference. There are hundreds of Linux distro available. There are many distros that have very good GNOME environment and many have very good UI. Many distributions still shipped with KDE environments like OpenSUSE.

Server-based leading Linux distros 

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • Ubuntu Server
  • CentOS
  • SUSE Enterprise Linux

Some of the above Server Distro is free like Ubuntu Server and CentOS and a few are proprietary like RHEL and SUSE Enterprise Linux and the price also includes support.

Important Linux Related Resources

Which is the most used linux distribution?

Which distribution you can use will totally depend on your requirement but the most used Linux distribution is Ubuntu.

Anyone can use Ubuntu as it is really popular and have a vast majority of developers and a huge community and you will have most of the things gets addressed.

This is much popular as it is free. Many other distros derived from it like Kubuntu.

But in general, which distribution should I use can be found out based on a few criteria like below

  • Skill level of yours on computers?
  • What you prefer a modern or standard desktop interface?
  • What you prefer Server or Desktop?

If you have basic computer skills you can start from a newbie-friendly distribution such as Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Elementary OS, or Deepin. If your Intermediate level of skills you can go with a distribution like Debian or Fedora.

For advanced levels of skills like system administrator use a distribution like Gentoo. If you want to develop your own Linux distribution from Linux from scratch.

If you’re intended for a server level distribution then you have to decide you need a GUI interface or you want to stay with CLI mode only.

By default, Ubuntu Server does not install a GUI interface. You need to have a solid understanding of the Linux Command-Line.

But if you want GUI you can install it later on top of the existing Ubuntu Server with a single command-line tool.

$ sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

System administrators also want to view a distribution with regards to features that they get.CentOS might be a really good choice that offers everything you need for your server.

You can decide and see what you need and you can choose as per your requirement.

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Major Components of Linux Operating System

Most of the Linux distro comes with almost similar components. We will see a few major components of the Linux Operating System is as below.

1. Boot Loader – This is the main package that manages the boot method of your desktop/laptop/server. Boot loader as the name suggests it loads the boot environment in connection with the BIOS program of desktop/laptop/server into the memory. bootblk program picks the location of the boot device and loads it into the memory.

2. Kernel – Booblk program then finds out kernel and kernel gets loaded into memory. The kernel is the core program of the Linux system and manages the hardware resources like C.P.U, Memory, and all devices attached to the system.

3.INIT System Stage – Once Kernel fully loaded into memory it proceeds to INIT Phase and executes init scripts defined and brings the user area. INIT system that manages the boot method, once the initial booting is handed over from the bootloader called GRUB.

4.Daemons – It starts all the defined and requires services and daemons for smooth operations of the system.

5.GUI –X Server or X will give you a GUI platform like the desktop of Windows environment.

6. Desktop Environment –You will get a login environment either GUI-based or Non-GUI based and once logged in you will desktop-like Windows not too much better UI as compared to Windows but good enough to manage things and you will get familiar once you start using it.

7. Applications –Here you need to decide and install applications you want to use. Desktop environments don’t provide all apps similar to Windows and macOS.You need some time to make yourself familiar and you start loving it because of its robustness, security, and many other features.

Other Important Linux Related Resources

Why use Linux?

This is one of the most sought questions related to Linux why to use Linux. Major people find it difficult as per their understanding but actually it is not.

People also ask why to bother learning a completely different computing environment as compared to Windows Environment which is no doubt still better in terms of UI but most of the people used to it as windows environment is present everywhere in their surroundings even being paid operating system.

With the expansion of the internet and too many data options available to users, it is becoming very difficult for many users related to security, virus attacks, and too many updates and enhancement in technology it is becoming challenging for users to maintain their desktop and laptop.

Windows Operating System Size keeps increasing so as Linux distributions but windows environment keeps increasing with high speed.

For example, you might have purchased a laptop 5-10 years back you still have it in physically good condition but you will find it hard to update to the latest Windows environment.

While you may find light wait Linux distro free of cost which will still work perfectly without any performance issues and somehow if you upgrade to latest windows environment you will find a very bad performance

Microsoft Operating System starting from DOS to Windows 10 or Windows Servers Versions these have been always paid versions while you may have many free distros available absolutely at free of cost.

Not only cost in technical terms like security which is the topmost concern in current environment Linux is always performing better than Windows which is the main reason RHEL/CentOS logically both is RHEL is being used in High-Performance Computing etc.

Actually, most linux users need to be aware of CLI which is always defined in an easily memorable form. It is just a matter of use and you start loving it.

Let me share a few of them. cd is the command used for change the directory. mkdir is to make the directory, find to find the file, locate to get the location.I mean to say all the linux commands naming have been taken based on the action that needs to be performed which are self-explanatory.

That’s right, you heard it right it is just a matter of familiarization not more than that. It may take some time but as soon as you get started very soon you will achieve the next level.

Even windows do not just click click you need to have very good knowledge if you want to achieve a specific task you need to have a good idea. It is just installation next may work but for many system admin levels, you need to understand for what action you are saying next after reading it is just UI GUI is better nothing else is as great as Linux.

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Installing Linux 

Well, Installing Linux is not an issue. It just matters where you want to install. For example, if you want to install on one desktop/laptop or even server you can use the manual method of installation.

  • Download Linux Distro in form of ISO.
  • Create a bootable USB using software like Rufus.
  • Boot from USB and follow instructions to get it installed it will be windows like experience. You just need to remember your username password while installing to login.

Installation is done.Log in and explores your awareness gets increased day by day.

Regarding Bulk Similar Quick Customized Servers Deployment you can setup a Kickstart-like environment in your infrastructure which may speed up quick and consistent installations.

For Virtual Linux Server Installations, you can create standard templates in your vcenter and simply you can deploy them from templates.

For Azure or Cloud-based Linux servers deployments, you can save templates in your dashboard and create some automation scripts for Linux virtual machine deployments.

How to Learn Linux?

There is two way you can learn Linux. Firstly you can learn via the free method and Secondly the Paid Method. It depends upon you only.

Free Method To Learn Linux

Well, the free method is available for everyone who has an interest to learn Linux. Since it is free you will have no timeline and it has been seen by human psychology that ignorance takes place as there is no loss if you do not do and also since it is free it always has limitations.

Earlier there was not too much option so learning was slow-paced but nowadays learning is fast-paced. If you have a desktop or laptop you just install and practice. You can take help from related online PDFs and also you can take help from related youtube channels and focus to practice more to make yourself comfortable.

  • Online PDF
  • Linux Blogs
  • Linus Related YouTube Videos

Small drawbacks with free methods you will find information in pieces and you need to put more effort. As I said you must stay focused and maintain consistency and a lot of practice That`s it you can achieve your goal.

As compared to the free method to learn Linux paid method to learn Linux is even more effective as it is paid so it will have a timeline and the learner will always stay focused as it has fear of losing paid money. Do you agree with me?

In the paid method to learn Linux, you will definitely get all the content without effort while the method of study will stay remains the same. It is just a matter of paid services that will provide content for you that`s why they are being paid.

You can set a definitive goal and you can achieve it faster than a free method to learn Linux in a timely manner. Once you can achieve some specified goal later you can go for certifications and all.

Below methods of your choice, which you can adapt based on your budget and preference.

Last but not least you can subscribe to our blog so you can get immediate notifications whenever new articles get posted as we try to share many Linux and Unix related contents on a consistent basis. Our blog is not limited just to freshers as we share all levels of content which is really valuable for advanced UNIX Linux infrastructure professionals.

We share our Production Level Tips and How too to accomplish the specific tasks without error with tried and tested methods. You will not find this level of documents anywhere else unless you will do it yourself.

Conclusion

That,s it about what is linux?. We have covered most of the aspects of Linux. If you think something gets missed please let us know in form of comments we will be glad to incorporate and it will also help readers.

There are more than 100 Linux distros some are heavyweight some are lightweight. Light Weight Distros may be really helpful for old hardware/laptops and overall it is absolutely free of cost what else more needed.

In Enterprise mostly RHEL, CentOS & SUSE Enterprise versions are heavily used but free distros are really helpful for desktops/laptop users to have better-operating systems as compared to Windows and that too absolutely free.

You can easily find many desktops/laptops vendors sells their products with free linux based operating systems so they can provide products at competitive prices to end-users.

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