Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Exploring Endless Possibilities, What is Linux and How is It Used?

Believe it or not, there are people in Serbia whose first computer was a laptop with a pre-installed Linux operating system. And it wasn’t even the Ubuntu distribution. Hard to believe, right? Some of them later complained, but that’s another story. Let’s focus on those who haven’t changed their Linux distribution that came pre-installed with their laptop to this day. But let’s start from the beginning. What is Linux?

Linux is the kernel of a free operating system developed by Linus Torvalds in 1991 while he was a student at the University of Helsinki in Finland. If the entire Internet was built on Unix systems that weren’t cheap, then Linux is simply a free Unix-like system. Essentially, it’s similar to Unix, assembled and developed according to the principles of free software. Developed as an open-source project, Linux is distributed under a free license that allows users to view, modify, and distribute the source code as they wish.

At its core, Linux is the operating system kernel that facilitates communication between a computer’s hardware components and software applications. What makes Linux special is its openness and flexibility, which means users have complete control over their computers and can customize the operating system to their needs. Linux supports a wide range of devices, from desktop computers to servers, embedded systems, supercomputers, and even smartphones. With over a thousand different versions that stand out for their features, aesthetics and specific user groups, Linux offers extraordinary adaptability and personalization.

A Penguin Figure Stands Next to a Laptop

In many companies, a developer is expected to know how to use the Linux operating system

Furthermore, Linux is known for its stability and security. However, due to its openness, a large number of developers worldwide continuously work on improvements and bug fixes, making the Linux operating system exceptionally reliable. What you first need to know about the Linux operating system is that it significantly differs from the Windows operating system. These are two completely distinct operating systems with different characteristics, philosophies, and approaches.

Linux is renowned for its adaptability and flexibility. Users can customize the system according to their needs, choose different desktop environments, kernel versions, and software packages. Linux is free, although it also has commercial distributions. On the other hand, the Windows operating system is not free, which can be a significant cost, especially for large organizations. Windows offers less customization and greater homogeneity in the user experience. It imposes a single graphical environment where you have limited room for changes and definitely lack access to many features.

Linux is often considered more stable and secure than Windows. Thanks to its open-source nature and development model, the Linux community promptly responds to discovered vulnerabilities and errors, contributing to enhanced security. Conversely, Windows faces a higher number of viruses, malware, and security issues due to its different security approach. Most Linux users do not rely on antivirus programs for Linux operating systems, given the negligible number of viruses that target Linux

The Linux Conundrum: Why Isn’t Everyone Switching Over?

Because the Windows operating system is easier to use and has broader and extensive support for commercial and specialized applications. Many popular applications and games are primarily available for the Windows platform, especially games. However, if someone, for example, professionally uses an application like Adobe Photoshop, it’s evident that such a user will always prefer the Windows operating system.

The good news is that the Linux operating system also has a wealth of excellent applications. Thanks to tools like Wine, Linux users can run certain Windows programs without the need to install the Windows operating system or use a virtual machine. This makes transitioning to Linux easier for those who rely on specific Windows applications.

Linux - 21. How to install Wine?

However, Wine is not a perfect solution and does not guarantee 100% compatibility with all Windows applications. Consider other solutions as well. For instance, you can have both operating systems installed on a single computer or use virtual machines. As many programmer, we find it obvious that we use several laptops alongside our PC. However, our main PC runs VMware Workstation Player, allowing me to simultaneously use multiple different Linux distributions alongside the Windows operating system.

Essentially, you don’t have to switch from one OS to another; you can use multiple operating systems and distributions. You’re not limited to just one computer. The choice is yours! Don't deprive yourself of endless possibilities, knowledge, research and even motivation by immersing yourself in the world of Linux operating systems.

Windows vs Linux

Today, many developers use multiple operating systems

Anatomy of Linux: Understanding its Components

The Linux operating system consists of several key components that together make up the operating system. These are:

  • Kernel – The kernel is the core of the Linux operating system. It manages the computer’s hardware and provides basic functions such as memory management, process management, system calls, device management, and so on. The kernel is responsible for direct communication with the hardware and the basic functions of the system.
  • Desktop Environment - The desktop environment represents the user interface of the operating system. This includes the workspace, icons, windows, menus, and other user interface elements that allow the user to interact with the system. The most well-known desktop environments for the Linux operating system are GNOME, KDE, XFCE, and many others.
  • Distribution - A Linux distribution or distro is a complete version of the Linux operating system that includes the kernel, system tools, libraries, desktop environment, applications, and other components. Distributions can vary in terms of which software packages they include, how they are configured, their target user segment, and other factors. Some of the most well-known distributions are Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, CentOS, Arch Linux, and many others.
  • System Utilities – System utilities are programs and tools used for managing and maintaining the system. This includes package management tools such as apt, yum, and others, system configuration tools, performance monitoring tools, user administration tools, network configuration tools, and much more.
  • Applications - Applications are software programs that users run to perform specific tasks. These can be all types of applications, including web browsers, office tools, multimedia players, development tools, games, and many others.

All these components together make up the Linux operating system, which is known for its openness, adaptability, reliability, and security. Users can choose different distributions and customize them according to their needs and preferences.

Simple Linux: How to Set Up Your First Linux System

Before deciding to install a Linux operating system, it’s essential to carefully consider and make informed choices. The situation varies depending on whether you have an older computer that runs the Windows operating system so slowly that refreshing it with a less hardware-demanding Linux distribution would be a significant improvement. Alternatively, perhaps you have an older laptop that you hardly use because you have other computers.

On the other hand, if you have a newer computer with ample memory and hard disk space, you can choose to install the Linux operating system alongside your Windows OS as a dual-boot setup on a specific partition. You can create and allocate memory space for the Linux OS according to your preferences. Alternatively, an even better approach is to install a virtual machine on your Windows system and run one or more Linux distributions within it. Or maybe you want to install and exclusively use the Linux operating system on a new computer. The choice is yours!

Windows - 30. How to install VMware Workstation Player?

Once you’ve decided where you want to install the Linux operating system, it’s essential to spend some time researching Linux distributions. There are top lists of Linux distributions based on internet surveys for almost every year, where you can see what other Linux users prefer. Alternatively, you can choose a Linux distribution based on your preferences or needs. Different users have different tastes.
Our personal recommendation, which is also shared by many other Linux users, is to start with the Ubuntu distribution if you’re a beginner and have the opportunity. 

However, the choice is entirely yours. Next, proceed with the installation of the Linux distribution you’ve chosen. Depending on where and which Linux distribution you’ve selected, the installation process may vary. Installations can be similar or entirely different. The good news is that on this blog, you’ll find Linux articles that will simplify installations and teach you a lot about everything. In any case, welcome to the Linux community!



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