Every computer system comes with a basic set of programs known as the “operating system”. An operating system is a software that directly manages the computer’s hardware and resources, such as CPU, memory, and storage.

The operating system sits between hardware and applications and connects all the software and physical resources allowing the computer to function. One of the most commonly used operating systems is Linux. It’s been around since the mid-1990s and has since reached a wide user base that spans various industries. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Linux.

What Is Linux? 

Linux is actually everywhere. You will find it in your mobile phone, home appliances, and desktop computers. It also runs most of the Internet, including the world’s stock exchanges and the top 500 supercomputers. But aside from being a platform of choice to operate computers, servers, and embedded systems across the globe, Linux is considered the most reliable, secure, and worry-free operating system out there. 

Just like iOS, Mac OS, and Windows, Linux is an operating system. As a matter of fact, Android, one of the world’s most popular platforms, is powered by Linux. As an operating system, Linux manages the communication between the hardware and software. Without the operating system, the software would not be able to function. 

Think about Linux as the engine of a car. The engine can run on its own. However, it will only become a functional vehicle once connected with wheels, transmission, and axles. If the engine is not running correctly, the rest of the car will not function. Linux was developed to work in the same way as UNIX, although it eventually evolved to operate on a wide variety of hardware, from supercomputers to phones. Each Linux-based operating system works using the Linux kernel, responsible for managing hardware resources. It is a set of software packages, making up the rest of the operating system. 

The operating system encompasses more common core components, such as the GNU tools. These tools provide the user with the means to manage the resources offered by the Linux kernel, install additional software, and configure the security settings and performance. When bundled together, all these tools make up the functional operating system. Since Linux is an open-source operating system, the combination of software would vary among Linux distributions.

Why Use Linux?

One of the most common questions people ask is, why use Linux? Why is there a need to learn a totally different computing environment if we are already familiar with the operating system that powers most laptops, desktops, and computer servers? 

That’s because the operating system we are used to could encounter some troubles. When using the computer, you probably face obstacles, such as malware, viruses, crashes, slowdowns, licensing fees, and costly repairs. If you struggle with these challenges, then Linux is the perfect solution. It has evolved into one of the world’s most reliable computer ecosystems. Aside from being reliable, it has zero cost of entry, giving you a perfect desktop platform.

Yes, you heard it right – it has zero cost of entry. Meaning it’s totally free! This is why lots of companies are recruiting Linux specialist engineers. You can install Linux on as many computers as you want without having to spend a single cent for licensing. The cost of Windows 2016 Standard Edition is £647 when you buy it directly from Microsoft. And this still does not include the cost of the Client Access License and other licenses for other software you might need to run, such as the webserver, database, mail server, etc. For instance, a single user Client Access License will cost £32. So, if you need to add ten users, that will cost you £647 more for the server software licenses. But with the Linux server, everything is free. Plus, it’s easy to install. In fact, installing a full-blown server will only require a few clicks. 

Aside from its zero cost, another great thing about Linux is that it’s trouble-free. You will not encounter issues like malware, viruses, or ransomware. It’s generally far less vulnerable to these attacks. As for the server reboots, they are only necessary once the Linux kernel is updated. It’s common for the Linux server to run for several years without getting rebooted. As long as you follow the recommended updates, you can be assured of dependability and stability.

What is Open Source 

Linux is distributed through an open-source license, which gives you the freedom to run the program anywhere and for any purpose. It also gives users the freedom to study how it works and make changes if they wish. Open source also means having the freedom to redistribute copies, including the copies of your modified version of the software. Without a doubt, Linux is the type of operating system that is by the people for the people. This is also one of the main reasons many people opt for Linux. It’s more about the freedom of use and choice. 

The open-source community uses an open-source development model to develop software. The software is then released through an open source license, allowing anyone to view or modify the source code. Several open-source projects are hosted through GitHub, where you can take part in community projects. Linux is one of the most popular open-source projects hosted here. 

The “source code” is part of the software that most computer users do not see. It is the code that computer programmers can change to modify how a program or application can work. Programmers with access to the program’s source code will have the ability to improve the program by adding features to it or fixing certain parts that do not work correctly. Some software comes with source code that only one person, or perhaps, the team that created it, can modify. People call this type of software “closed source” software, which is the opposite of “open source” software like Linux. Only the original authors can legally copy, inspect, or alter the closed source software.