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What is Linux?


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Sure not all of us know about Linux .... So I thought to write a few about it and I hope that I do not say any thing wrong up to my knowledge and I hope you like it and find it any useful....and if there is any mistakes please do feel free to correct me because no one know every thing ;)

Linux (pronounced LIH-nuks) is an operating system for computers, comparable to Windows or Mac OS X. It was originally created starting in 1991 by Finnish programmer Linus (pronounced LEE-nus) Torvalds with the assistance of developers from around the globe. Linux resembles Unix, an earlier operating system, but unlike Unix, Linux is open source software -- that is, you can not only download and run it on your computer, but also download all the source code the programmers created to build the operating system. You can then modify or extend the code to meet your needs.

Linux runs on a wide variety of hardware platforms, from huge mainframes to desktop PCs to cell phones. It is licensed under the Free Software Foundation's GNU Project's GNU General Public License, version 2, which lets users modify and redistribute the software.

You can think of Linux as having two parts -- a kernel, which is the basic interface between the hardware and other system software, and the functions that run on top of it, such as a graphical user interface (GUI) and application programs.

No single company sells Linux. Because it's open source software, anyone can package Linux with some programs and utilities and distribute it. The different "flavors" of Linux are called distributions. You can get a comprehensive resource for distributions is DistroWatch.com.

Many Linux distributions are designed to be installed on your computer's hard drive, either as a sole operating system, or in a dual boot configuration with another OS, which lets you choose which operating system to run every time you start your computer. Others are designed to run as live CDs that boot from removable media -- typically CDs, but there are also live DVD distributions, and even ones that boot from diskettes and USB storage media. Live distributions can be useful because they let you run a different operating system without affecting any of the contents of your hard drive.

The Linux desktop

Part of what makes Linux useful on your computer is its graphical user interface. The GUI gives Linux a "look and feel" with clickable icons and widgets, as well as screen borders, scroll bars, and menus that the user can manipulate and customize. This "point and click" environment makes the operating system more intuitive by presenting interface options in an attractive visual layout that doesn't require knowledge of textual commands. Without the GUI, Linux (or any operating system) requires users to type commands in a procedure that is known as the Command Line Interface (CLI).

While most operating systems don't let you choose the user interface you want, Linux gives you a choice of several. Most of them are more than just graphical interfaces -- they are truly complete desktop environments that come with tools, utilities, games, and other applications to make the user's computing experience a richer one. Two of the most popular desktop environments that work with Linux are KDE and GNOME.

KDE stands for K Desktop Environment. KDE runs on any Unix operating system, including Linux. All of the source code for KDE is licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, which means that anyone can access and change KDE to suit specific purposes. KDE comes packaged with most Linux distributions and includes standardized menus, toolbars, and color schemes, as well as a complete help system, networking tools, graphics and multimedia applications, and a complete office productivity solution, and dozens of other software tools. The entire KDE project is supported by the free software development community and is provided to Linux users at no cost.

GNOME (pronounced guh-NOME), the GNU Network Object Model Environment, is another ubiquitous GUI or desktop environment for Linux. It is also licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, which means it is freely available, along with the source code, for use on any Unix-based operating system. GNOME comes packaged with just about every Linux distribution. It is a part of the GNU project, which created the GNU operating system, parts of which are included with all standard Linux distributions.

Like KDE, the GNOME desktop environment includes more than just toolbars, icons and menus. Help files, networking tools, games, and productivity applications like GNOME Office round out the free software offering.

Other GUIs that work with Linux include:

XPDE desktop environment - "tries to make it easier for Windows XP users to use a Linux box."

Xfce - "lightweight desktop environment for various *NIX systems. Designed for productivity, it loads and executes applications fast, while conserving system resources."

Enlightenment - "advanced graphical libraries, tools, and environments."

IceWM - "The goal of IceWM is speed, simplicity, and not getting in the user's way."

Blackbox - "Blackbox is the fast, lightweight window manager for the X Window System you have been looking for, without all those annoying library dependencies."

Window Maker - "Window Maker is an X11 window manager originally designed to provide integration support for the GNUstep Desktop Environment."

FluxBox - "A fast compact window manager based on the Blackbox, but offering more features."

The command line

One thing all the desktop environments have in common is that they let users access Linux commands; you don't have to use a mouse to perform every operation. It may be faster and easier to perform some operations by typing in one or more commands, as users used to have to do on PCs under DOS 20 years ago.

Each desktop environment has a different way to get to a command prompt. Often, you'll open a window that lets you type commands. In GNOME, that application is called GNOME Terminal; in KDE, it's Konsole.

Edited by MGadAllah
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  • 11 months later...
Guest DennyMK

The look of Ubuntu Beryl (versus Vista). Beryl effect rocks, specially "the flaming "Close" of the windows".

Edited by DennyMK
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Guest DennyMK

I couln't even imagine how cool can Linux be. It's awsome so I'll follow the steps in your other tutorial (Dual boot XP & Ubuntu).

Thanks man.

Edited by DennyMK
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