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What is Linux?

What is Linux?

Linux is an open source operating system. Like other operating system (such as Windows) Linux consists of various software components that manage computer hardware resources and enable you to do tasks such as surfing the web or editing a file in a text editor.

It’s free and open source software, which means that you can use, copy, study, and change the software in any way. It is distributed with the source code so users can view and modify it. This is in contrast to Microsoft Windows, a proprietary operating system.

Many versions of Linux exist. Some of the more popular Linux distributions are Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Today, it runs almost every computing platform available: mobile phones, tablets, servers, desktops, mainframes, etc. Android, a widely used operating system for mobile phones and tablets is based on the kernel.

Evolution of Linux OS

The Linux OS was developed by Linus Torvalds in 1991, which sprouted as an idea to improve the UNIX OS. He suggested improvements but was rejected by UNIX designers. Therefore, he thought of launching an OS, designed in a way that could be modified by its users.

Nowadays, Linux is the fastest-growing OS. It is used from phones to supercomputers by almost all major hardware devices.

Structure Of Linux Operating System

An operating system is a collection of software, each designed for a specific function.

Linux OS has following components:

What is Linux

1) Kernel

Linux kernel is the core part of the operating system. It establishes communication between devices and software. Moreover, it manages system resources. It has four responsibilities:

  • device management: A system has many devices connected to it like CPU, a memory device, sound cards, graphic cards, etc. A kernel stores all the data related to all the devices in the device driver (without this kernel won’t be able to control the devices). Thus kernel knows what a device can do and how to manipulate it to bring out the best performance. It also manages communication between all the devices. The kernel has certain rules that have to be followed by all the devices.
  • Memory management: Another function that kernel has to manage is the memory management. The kernel keeps track of used and unused memory and makes sure that processes shouldn’t manipulate data of each other using virtual memory addresses.
  • Process management: In the process, management kernel assigns enough time and gives priorities to processes before handling CPU to other processes. It also deals with security and ownership information.
  • Handling system calls: Handling system calls means a programmer can write a query or ask the kernel to perform a task.

2) System Libraries

System libraries are special programs that help in accessing the kernel’s features. A kernel has to be triggered to perform a task, and this triggering is done by the applications. But applications must know how to place a system call because each kernel has a different set of system calls. Programmers have developed a standard library of procedures to communicate with the kernel. Each operating system supports these standards, and then these are transferred to system calls for that operating system.

The most well-known system library for Linux is Glibc (GNU C library).

3) System Tools

Linux OS has a set of utility tools, which are usually simple commands. It is a software which GNU project has written and publish under their open source license so that software is freely available to everyone.

With the help of commands, you can access your files, edit and manipulate data in your directories or files, change the location of files, or anything.

Why use Linux?

This is one of the most asked questions about Linux systems. Why do we use a different and bit complex operating system, if we have a simple operating system like Windows? So there are various features of Linux systems that make it completely different and one of the most used operating systems. Linux may be a perfect operating system if you want to get rid of viruses, malware, slowdowns, crashes, costly repairs, and many more. Further, it provides various advantages over other operating systems, and we don’t have to pay for it. Let’s have a look at some of its special features that will attract you to switch your operating system.

  • Free & Open Source Operating System
  • It is secure
  • Favorable choice of Developers
  • A flexible operating system

How to use Linux?

We can use Linux through an interactive user interface as well as from the terminal (Command Line Interface). Different distributions have a slightly different user interface but almost all the commands will have the same behavior for all the distributions. To run Linux from the terminal, press the “CTRL+ALT+T” keys. And, to explore its functionality, press the application button given on the left down corner of your desktop.