What is Linux?
Are you wondering what Linux is after hearing about it in newspapers, on social networks or from some geeky friend? Here's everything you need to know about the popular open source operating system.
In this page I will give you some information on what Linux is and why you should use it. You must know that nowadays, from smartphones to cars, from supercomputers to household appliances, the Linux operating system is everywhere.
The Linux operating system is everywhere nowadays: it's in your phones, in your car, in your refrigerator, in your wearable devices. Most of the Internet is managed through Linux, or the supercomputers that allow scientific discoveries and even the largest financial centers in the world use Linux systems. But before Linux became the ideal platform for running desktops, servers and embedded systems around the world, it was (and still is) one of the most reliable and secure operating systems. Who does not know the history and operation of this open source operating system, in this article will be able to all the information they need to be updated on the Linux platform.
GNU / Linux is an operating system, just like its main competitors: Windows and Mac OS X. An operating system is software that manages all the hardware resources associated with your desktop or laptop. In other words, the operating system manages the communication between your application software and your hardware. Without the operating system, the software would not work. The operating system consists of a number of subsystems:
Bootloader: is the software that manages the boot process of your computer.
For most users, this will simply be a splash screen that pops up before booting into the operating system.
Kernel: this is the only piece of the whole that is actually called "Linux". The kernel is the heart of the system and manages the CPU, memory and peripheral devices. The kernel is the "lowest" level of the operating system.
Daemons: these are background services (print, audio, etc.) that are activated at startup or after accessing the desktop.
Shell: You've probably heard of the Linux command line. This is the shell - a command process that allows you to control the computer via commands typed into a text interface. This is what once scared people from using Linux (assuming they had to learn a seemingly archaic command line structure to make Linux work). Today this is no longer true: with modern Linux desktops, you don't need to know how to use the command line.
Graphics Server: This is the subsystem that displays graphics on the monitor. It is commonly referred to as an X server or simply "X".
Desktop Environment: This is the subsystem that users actually interact with. There are many desktop environments to choose from (Unity, GNOME, Cinnamon, Enlightenment, KDE, XFCE, etc.). Each desktop environment includes integrated applications (such as the file manager, configuration tools, web browser, games, etc.).
Applications: Desktop environments do not offer the full range of apps. Just like Windows and Mac, Linux offers thousands upon thousands of high-quality software titles that can be easily found and installed. Most modern Linux distributions include App Store-like tools that centralize and simplify application installation. For example, Ubuntu Linux has the Ubuntu Software Center that allows you to quickly search through the thousands of apps and install them from a single centralized location.
The only question most people ask is: why use Linux? You're probably wondering why you should bother learning a completely different environment, when the operating system that comes with most desktops, laptops, and servers is working flawlessly? The answer is actually quite simple and can be given in 4 points.
The fourth point is what prompted me to create this website. Compared to Windows, Linux can work much more efficiently with the same hardware. But not only. There are Linux operating systems that are so light that they can significantly extend the life of a PC, making old hardware usable. From simple Xubuntu or Linux Mint XFCE, up to distributions so minimal that they fit in less than 300 megabytes (for example Puppy Linux).
Our resources, therefore, with Linux are optimized thanks to a light operating system capable of adapting to any hardware and work environment, making the most of the performance of your computer.
The vast majority of distributions have an internal store from which to download programs, such as the one present on smartphones and even on Windows. The difference is that application centers on Linux have been around almost forever. Also, it's easy to find Windows equivalent programs (with the difference that they're free). Sometimes it is even possible to use the same Windows programs thanks to the WINE libraries. Finally, the Linux community is highly developed. Forums and chats exist specifically to help those in difficulty. You just need to know how to use them. One thing that simply doesn't exist on Windows.
Linux is distributed under an open source license. Open source follows the following key philosophies:
The above is crucial to understanding the community that works every day to create the Linux platform. It is, without a doubt, an operating system that is made by people, for people. These philosophies are also one of the main reasons why a large percentage of people use Linux: they respect the freedom of the individual and the freedom of choice.