Tuesday, September 8

Introduction to Linux

What does the word Linux bring to mind? A struggling, nerd sitting at his computer hacking his way into the Pentagon or something free and therefore rubbish and hard to use? Or perhaps you have never heard of it. Well basically what Linux is (there's a bit of technical mumbo-jumbo but I'll attempt to simplify as much as possible) is a thing called kernel. A kernel is what the operating system, for example Windows or Mac OSX or Ubuntu, uses to perform all the mundane tasks, such as hardware management, networking and basically keeping the OS running. The Linux kernel is what Linux distros or distributions use to do the above. A distro is basically an operating system based on the Linux kernel. Examples include among others, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu and Fedora. This may seem complicated but it isn't if you use this analogy - the kernel is like the engine of a car, it keeps it running.
The operating system on top of this is like the dashboard and interior of the car, looking good and helping you drive. In case you're wondering the big penguin is the symbol for Linux - don't ask me why.
But isn't any Linux distro just for nerds who spend all their time on computers? I here you ask. Well no, sure there are distros that are insanely hard to use, but for the most part they are fairly easy to use. To name a couple Ubuntu and Fedora are some of the easiest OSs out there. Some argue they're easier to use than Windows. You'll have to judge for yourself.
So why should you choose Linux or technically a 'Linux based distribution' over Windows? Well the short answer is, why not? Seriously, if you've got an ounce of technical knowledge and can read words off a screen and click a mouse, then you can install and use Linux. Some points why to give it a go:

  • It's compatible with most things. Back in the early 2000s many Linux distros weren't compatible with anything. This is because, since Windows has such a large share of the OS market, that is what computer manufacturers design their products for. But now the distros have changed and are compatible with most pieces of hardware.
  • Choice. There are, literally, hundreds of distros to choose from. Depending on your needs you will pick a different distro. I'll mention a bit about choosing a distro in my next post. There is something suited to everyone out there. As well as this new updates and releases are released incredibly often - some every 4 or 5 months or so. So if you want to be up to date with the latest stuff this is great. To find a distro go to DistroWatch
  • And finally the price. Well, there isn't any. It's one thing in life where less is better. Linux distros are whats known of the open source. This means they are and always will be free. Also you can do what you want with them. Change them, sell them or reverse engineer them. It's, too borrow an opensource quote, free as in freedom, not free as in beer.

    So why not give Linux a go? There's tons of tutorials out there or check back here and I'll have posted up a tutorial on installing a few distros. Good luck on picking one!

    1 comments: until now.

    tutorial vdj + 8 September 2009 at 22:33 (#) :

    great info friend..I know about linux right now..

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