What is Linux?

What is Linux?

Linux is an operating system, much like Windows, iOS, and Mac OS. Yet, what separates Linux from other operating systems is that it is open-source software, meaning anyone can freely access Linux, study its components, and distribute copies to others. Also, compared to other operating systems, it’s more secure and faster, which is why most companies and businesses opt for Linux when creating a website.

Despite their main differences, Linux and other operating systems have some characteristics in common. Like Windows, for example, Linux has the same software and a graphical interface. However, Linux has multiple distributions containing different software options.

Linux Distributions

Linux distributions are operating systems that include the Linux kernel. The kernel contains multiple components, such as programs and applications, that can create distributions. Creators of distributions collect, systematize, and combine code from various open-source projects to build Linux distributions. In other words, anyone with the necessary skills can create their distribution. The open-source character of the kernel makes this possible. It’s also why most Linux distributions can freely be downloaded and installed.

But since these distributions are created and altered by people with various experience levels and backgrounds, there can be significant differences from one distribution to another. These dissimilarities exist because different distributions play different roles. For example, they can be made available for different environments, such as desktops, servers, and mobile devices, to mention a few. In addition, some distributions are more suited for beginners, whereas others require a higher level of knowledge and skill. And then there are those created for scientific research.

There are currently hundreds of distributions, meaning that anyone from beginners to experienced Linux users and gamers can find one to fit their needs. Some of the more well-known ones are:

  • Ubuntu

Though generally used by gamers and those who use Linux daily, Ubuntu’s easy-to-use interface makes this distribution ideal for first-timers. Ubuntu provides pre-installed tools, which allows beginners to learn and understand the distribution without requiring input from the user who is just getting accustomed to the Linux kernel. Ubuntu offers the added benefit of supporting new technology and making it easier for beginners to transition from Windows to Linux. Furthermore, this distribution is known for its regular releases, meaning that more recent versions come out relatively regularly, with shorter pauses between these changes.

  • Linux Mint

Ideal for those just starting in the Linux world, Linux Mint does not require advanced skills and can be easily used on older computers. The Linux Mint distribution is based on Ubuntu, yet it differs from Ubuntu through tools like mintMenu, which makes navigation simpler, specifically for new beginners. Also, since it was designed for first-timers, Mint is easier to install than other distributions due to mintDesktop.

  • Debian

Designed for desktop and server, Debian is not an ideal choice for beginners. Unlike Ubuntu, for example, installing and using Debian requires more work and knowledge, as users need to configure the OS themselves. Also, it’s worth mentioning that Debian’s release cycle is longer, meaning that it has fewer updates than other distributions. Debian is one of the more stable Linux distributions because those updates undergo more testing than Ubuntu, for example. On average, Debian’s releases come out every three years.

Short History of Linux

In 1991, when Finnish software engineer Linus Torvald was still a student at University in Helsinki, he acquired an MS-DOS-driven PC, which he decided needed improvement. Torvald, a major in computer science, was not satisfied with MS-DOS and decided to install a UNIX operating system on his personal computer. However, he quickly changed his mind when he realized that the cheapest UNIX version he could find cost several thousand dollars.

Determined to run an operating system similar to UNIX on his personal computer, Torvald, assisted by more than 100 developers, started working on the first version of Linux. For the next several years, he and his team worked tirelessly to make Linux a reality. And then, in 1994, he was able to release version 1.0 of Linux.

Influenced by the obstacle he encountered when trying to install UNIX on his computer – the high prices – Torvald decided to make Linux readily available and free to everyone. In doing so, he decided, anyone with the skills and the desire to make changes to Linux could have the freedom to do so, thus changing and possibly improving it.

Why Use Linux

There are many reasons users prefer Linux. If you’re considering switching from Windows to Linux but have not yet made up your mind, know this – Linux prides itself on being highly reliable and more secure than other operating systems. So it should be no surprise that more than a third of the web pages you open on the Internet run through Linux. The same goes for many devices you may use daily, specifically Android phones. But the most appealing reason so many people use this kernel is that it’s open-source, meaning anyone can use, distribute, and modify the program.

If you’re interested in giving Linux a try but are unsure if you’re ready to commit, rest assured that there’s a way to do that. Live distribution allows you to get Linux on a flash drive and use it that way. You can return to your former OS when you remove the flash drive. Furthermore, you have the option of dual booting, meaning that Linux can co-exist with a different OS on your device.

What is Linux and Why it is Important?

Linux is an open-source OS that anyone can freely access, make changes, and distribute. Compared to other operating systems, Linux is more secure and reliable, resulting in it being the preferred OS of many companies and websites worldwide. In addition, its hundreds of distributions ensure that any user – regardless of their needs or skill level – can use Linux. Furthermore, those interested in giving it a try can start off by using Linux off a flash drive, or using dual booting.


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