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Introduction to the Linux operating system – lesson 1

Familiarity with the Linux operating system

Welcome to the first part of a series on the Linux operating system. This series of articles will take you from the first test of this system, through simple user tasks in the GUI, more complex tasks in the command line, and finally to setting up your own Linux server.

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You will get the basic skills of working with this operating system, which every novice Linux user should know, even if he mainly uses Windows. Linux is present on the vast majority of servers, and the web platform is the most important today.

The series is intended for anyone who has not yet encountered Linux or has not gone too far in it. I have to start by saying that I am a satisfied Microsoft Windows user, and my main motivation for writing this series is learning how to work with Linux and building a home server. I am not interested in any system, so I approach all discussed topics objectively.

What is Linux?

Linux pro users will certainly forgive me for briefly summarizing the history and philosophy of Linux. It is very likely that a separate article on this topic will be postponed over time, I would not want to bother too much with theory directly in the series, and I will forward it as mostly practical.

Linux is a free operating system based on the older commercial UNIX system. UNIX was founded in the 1960s and was co-founded by Dennis Ritchie, the father of the C programming language.

Later, the alternative free branch of BSD UNIX was diverted from commercial UNIX, which was also suitable for academic purposes. In addition, various UNIX implementations and standards were created, which, unfortunately, then fought with each other.

This is said to have facilitated market entry for Microsoft, which subsequently eradicated UNIX entirely on workstations with its unified system. However, UNIX managed to stay on servers that MS did not pay much attention to, and it is now difficult to catch up with UNIX in this area.

 

The most important UNIX system was Linux, written by student Linus Torvalds in 1991. The name Linux comes from its name, but also refers to the recursive abbreviation Linux Is Not UniX, which means Linux is not UNIX. It is a UNIX-based system, but it uses its own free code that is available to everyone and can be changed by anyone.

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This philosophy has also gained global acceptance under the acronym GNU (Gnu is not Unix), and Linux is sometimes referred to as GNU / Linux. GNU’s goal is to create a complex operating system made up of only free software. We still like a lot of these abbreviations and philosophies, Linux is pretty simple and fragmented about it.

In addition to the kernel, Linux also includes a suite of other open source applications and therefore speaks of itself as a 100% free operating system. Linux is not one system, but only the designation for a family of free operating systems based on the Linux kernel.

Specific Linux comes in different distributions and contains different user environments, packaging systems, and applications. The most famous Linux distributions are, for example, Debian or Ubuntu (based on Debian).

Why should I use Linux?

Working with Linux is one of the basic knowledge of IT staff, it is as if we were asking why to learn English. However, its use varies greatly between desktop and server.

 

Linux on the desktop

For desktops, this situation is very weak for Linux. Here it is used by about 1% of users of operating systems. Linux is already very advanced nowadays and if you run into some difficulties it can be used intelligently on the desktop. But it is difficult for an ordinary user to offer something that Windows cannot give him. And if you add to that the problems with running common applications and problems with drivers (especially for laptops), it’s no surprise that he didn’t.

Linux on the desktop is mainly used by 2 types of people:

Secretary . Linux is very profitable for companies, as they buy dozens of licenses and save a lot on it. What system the accountant will use to process documents in the final does not matter at all.

IT professional . Linux is widely used by people who don’t need Windows applications. These are mainly web designers (although the macOS you run PhotoShop on is very competitive), sysadmins and programmers who are fluent in languages ​​such as Java or PHP. We will also find a group of demanding users who want to adapt the operating system just for themselves and who are limited by Windows.

You won’t find many ordinary people (between a secretary and a professional) with Linux on the desktop, and unfortunately there are often fanatics among them who rebel against society using it and argue about it all over the place, which, in my opinion, is not the case. beneficial to Linux.

It is possible that the desktop situation will improve in the future as many applications move to clouds and browsers, so it no longer depends on which operating system is running in your browser.

In fact, manufacturers are reluctant to release drivers for Linux, and I don’t expect a massive move to Linux just because it doesn’t really offer anything revolutionary to the average user other than zero price, while Windows is very cheap as a software.

Linux on the server

On servers, the situation is exactly the opposite. Windows is clunky, problematic, and expensive, while Linux is easy to set up and costs nothing. Unsurprisingly, it runs 70% of all servers, which is a huge number, and you can see how important Linux is in this area.

 

It is most commonly found in the form of so-called LAMP servers, which is an abbreviation for Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP technologies. These four technologies support most of the Internet.

Running a web application on a Linux server is relatively easy, you have many web hosts, frameworks and support available. Good web hosts for Windows are few and far between and are unnecessarily expensive compared to the same technology on Linux.

Among small and medium sites, you can hardly find a Windows server. For large sites, the situation is much better for Microsoft, but the question of how profitable it is to use Windows is just a business decision of the management of the company that operates the servers.

Is Linux a free operating system?

There are a lot of unnecessary misunderstandings around Linux, let’s note the most basic ones.

Does Linux really build a community of people out of enthusiasm and completely free? In fact, Linux is just software with free licenses. However, just because software is free does not mean that it is free.

In practice, enthusiasm quickly wanes, and while this principle works to some extent, the results will never be enough for Linux to truly compete with Windows. Linux is heavily funded by large corporations that save a lot of money on licenses.

Some Linux developers are paid directly to meet all the requirements and keep the system running smoothly. For example, Ubuntu is backed by Canonical Ltd., which employs hundreds of people around the world and provides commercial support to Linux companies. In 2020, its turnover was $ 50 million.

How many people use Linux?

About 1% on desktop, 70% on servers. Interestingly, Linux is used on all supercomputers (for example, in universities they are very fast), as well as on a large number of mobile phones and tablets (80% of the market), but Linux is very modified and limited here. For comparison: about 90% of users use Windows on the desktop, about 30% on the server and 3% on phones.

Is Linux better than Windows?

I will be very brief on this question because there is a surprisingly simple answer to it. Linux and Windows differ greatly depending on who is using the system and what it is being used for. No one can tell you that one system is better than the other, and if they tell you this, you should not follow it in your own interests.

Conclusion

At the end of the introductory part, I would like to say that a quality person can take what he likes without getting upset about what he does not like. So respect the decisions of others who use Windows on the desktop, or Linux on the desktop, or Windows on the server, or just any combination.

After all, this is not only true for operating systems. Condemning all branching technologies is as bad an idea as condemning an entire person for upsetting you with strange hair, or condemning a country for not liking its cuisine.

We have Windows and Linux going side by side, stupid people will argue about what is better here and there, and the really smart ones will use the best features of both systems and do what they otherwise would not be able to do.

Try to become better, drop prejudices and come and try something new with us.

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