What Is Linux and Why Is It So Popular?


The Linux kernel is one of the very first programs to load when a computer boots up, and it’s the core of what makes our modern computers work. It powers the Internet and nearly all cloud computing, billions of smartphones, and many other devices we use every day. It’s also found in NASA space robots, gaming consoles and the Large Hadron Collider. It’s even the backbone of Roku and some smart TVs.

The open source philosophy behind linux promotes collaboration and innovation, while offering stability and security. Its scalability allows it to adapt to different hardware architectures, making it ideal for both small embedded systems and enterprise-level servers. Its security model is based on strong user permissions, and regular updates ensure that the system remains current and secure.

Many of the applications that run on a linux system can be installed through a package management system such as apt, yum, zypper or dpkg. These packages are produced by a wide range of independent software projects, and the free software licenses that govern these projects allow for their redistribution. The resulting collection of software, called a distribution, is designed to meet specific needs. For example, it may be optimized for performance or designed with a specific desktop environment (such as GNOME or Elementary OS).

It’s not uncommon for commercial companies to offer a specialized business version of a Linux distribution that includes proprietary support packages and tools to simplify system administration. The Linux community has also worked hard to advance the X Window System and other technology for the desktop.

Linux is an excellent learning tool for students of computer science and system administration. Its flexibility and access to the source code promote a hands-on approach to learning, allowing for rapid iteration, quick problem solving and experimentation. It’s a great way to get started in the world of open source software, and for businesses looking for reliable server solutions, it can provide a cost-effective alternative to proprietary operating systems.

There are numerous linux versions that can be downloaded for free and installed on your own machines. Depending on your skill level, you might want to start with a newbie-friendly distribution like Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Elementary OS. If you have more advanced skills, you might be interested in a distribution such as Debian, Fedora or Gentoo. And, if you’re a true hardcore, you might even want to try to build your own Linux distribution from the ground up using a tool such as Linux From Scratch.

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