What Is Linux?
A Linux system is an operating system that has several important differences from proprietary OSes such as Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh. Most notably, it’s open source software, which means that its code is free for anyone to view, edit and, in some cases, contribute to. It’s also flexible, allowing different distributions to include many options for how the system should function.
Linux has a command line interface that allows users to control and interact with the computer through text commands. The most popular shell is the Bourne-Again Shell (bash). This CLI, or command line interface, lets programmers create and run scripts that execute complex tasks without user interaction. It’s also ideal for executing programs in parallel. The ability to run multiple programs at the same time and share data between them is a feature that’s widely used in Linux.
The kernel, which serves as the brain of a Linux system, controls the computer’s hardware and manages its memory. It also controls a variety of peripheral devices, including video cards and sound cards. The rest of a Linux system is made up of libraries, drivers and software. Most of these are developed by outside developers for use in the Linux kernel. They add high-level functionality to the kernel, such as graphical servers, desktop environments and applications.
In addition to its flexibility, Linux is also known for its stability and security. It’s less prone to viruses, malware and system crashes than most other operating systems. In fact, it’s so reliable that it’s used by many Internet service providers to provide cloud computing services.
If you’re new to Linux, getting started can seem daunting. But there are many resources online to help you get started. In addition, most Linux software companies offer what’s called a live distribution, which allows you to try the operating system before installing it. You can run it from a CD or USB flash drive and access all of its features without making any changes to your hard drive.
As a general rule, most Linux software is compatible with each other. However, some software has been created exclusively for Linux and doesn’t run on any other OS. These are usually software development tools, such as git for distributed version control, vim and emacs for source code editing and compilers and interpreters for different programming languages.
Many people use Linux because it’s an inexpensive alternative to proprietary software. Some people buy new computers from manufacturers like System76 and Purism that come with Linux installed, while others install it on older computers or on the Raspberry Pi. Others find it useful for specific projects such as video production or gaming. No matter your reason, it’s worth trying out a live distribution to see if you can make it work for you. It might just become your default OS.