Table of Contents
Introduction to Linux
What is Linux? Linux is a free, open-source, and community-developed operating system.
Linux is one of the few open-source systems where the kernel is responsible for establishing the connection between the computer hardware and the operating system software.
The Linux Operating System has been around since the mid-90s and has since reached a user base that spans industries and continents. It runs most of the Internet, the supercomputers making scientific breakthroughs, and even the world’s most stock exchanges.
Linux is a kernel upon which many operating systems, such as Ubuntu and Arch Linux, are built.
Have you ever wondered about the process that enables applications on your computer to run? Have you ever thought about what enables you to browse a website on a computer? Or play a game?
Behind every application, on a computer, there is an operating system that allows you to use the hardware. Seems quite interesting.
History of Linux
In 1991, Linus Torvalds began creating Linux as a hobby. While in college, Linus wanted to create a version of the MINIX operating system that would be based on Unix principles and design. Linux’s hardware support and free licensing have made Linux a tremendous success.
It powers 90% of the world’s servers and is the basis of Google’s popular Android operating system. Surprising, is it not?
Interaction with Linux
A user can interact with Linux either using a ‘graphical interface’ or using the ‘command line interface’.
The command line is an interesting beast, and if you’ve not used one before, it can be a bit daunting. Don’t worry, with a bit of practice you’ll soon come to see it as your friend.
Having said that, what is a Command Line Interface (CLI)? A command line, or terminal, is a text-based interface to the system. You can enter commands by typing them on the keyboard and results will be returned in the form of text too.
Although Linux offers high security and stability, users initially disliked the interface because it was not very user-friendly. But this was not the case for them. With regular updates and feedback from users, Linux became much more appealing. So, if you are interested in trying out Linux you can give it a try.
We have Big News! Linux is now on Mars! There was news in Feb 2021 that the Perseverance rover, the first rover to land on Mars, had brought the Linux OS to the Red Planet…
Every supercomputer runs on Linux! Yes, Linux runs all 500 of the world’s fastest supercomputers. It’s a default choice when it comes to supercomputers. Linux is everywhere!
Why is everyone using Linux?
There are many reasons why Linux is so popular in different fields. Here are a few,
It’s Free: There is no cost for using Linux OS (Desktop or Server distro) and related applications. More choices: You can’t beat Linux here. There are over 600 Linux distros and about 500 in active development. You can choose one as per your requirements. Developers Friend: Developers love Linux. It supports almost all the major programming languages you can think of. A rich set of native libraries, a powerful and far better Linux terminal than Windows CLI.
Words fell short to describe this amazing technology. Linux is insane!
Kernel or OS?
“Linux by design is a Kernel, not an Operating System.” Now you are probably wondering what a kernel is,
It is the primary part of an operating system. For a system to start working, the kernel is the very first part of your operating system that gets loaded into the RAM. It is the core interface between a computer’s hardware and its processes a.k.a applications to use the hardware.
What does an Operating system provide?
Operating systems come with several tools and services (such as a desktop, a clock, an application menu, and more). It includes the Kernel as well as part of it. There are many companies like Red Hat, Canonical, and SuSE which provide support for their customized Linux Kernel-based operating systems.
Linux is a powerful tool that can be used in a variety of ways. Let’s take a look at the top four ways in which you can use Linux to take your business to the next level.
- Portability: Linux is a portable OS. You can run it on any hardware without fear of encountering any compatibility, installation, or support issues. The OS supports high-end and low-end systems equally well.
- Application Support: Linux has a software repository that allows users to download and install commands in shell or Linux Terminal, and it can run Windows applications too.
- Multi-user: Linux has user spaces, where each space has its own data, applications, and information. Multiple users can access the same Linux machine at the same time, a feature that not even Windows or macOS can boast.
- Adaptable: Since Linux is open source, you can tweak the system as you please, and since it’s free, you can use any type of hardware.
Structure of Linux
Like any other operating system, Linux has a set of software that functions differently. The components are,
- Kernel: The Kernel is the heart of this operating system. It manages the communication between the software and the devices.
- System tools: Linux has a set of system tools that are exclusive to certain functions. These simple commands are free to everyone.
- Shell: The first thing people do when they first start working with Linux is open up a terminal. If you’ve done this, then you’ve already interacted with the shell. You can think of the shell as the “phone line” that connects you to the kernel because it’s how you communicate with your computer using commands.
- Files and Directories: In Linux, all files are organized into directories. Directories can have nested directories inside them, which in turn have their own files, and so on. In this way, an entire file system can be made up of hierarchical directories.
What is Linux used for?
As a desktop environment, Linux comes in many flavors. Ubuntu is one of the most popular and most notable for being a stable desktop environment that can be used to run apps side-by-side.
But there are also Linux distributions for embedded systems. One of the most popular ones is Raspberry Pi, which runs Raspbian. This OS is commonly used in robotics projects and other applications that require high-performance hardware, but low power consumption.
Linux even powers the Android operating system. There are over two billion Android devices in the world. This shows how widespread Linux is, even in places you may not have thought you could find Linux.
Linux in DevOps and Cloud
Linux is the perfect choice when you need to run highly available, reliable, and critical workloads in a cloud computing environment. Wide support for devices, varied use cases, and systems.
In enterprises, both in-house servers and cloud servers are running Linux. DevOps, Cloud, and Linux all three go hand in hand.
By the way, Microsoft too uses Linux! Yes, many of you will be surprised to know the fact that even Microsoft, a company that never believed in Open Source and ignored Linux for years now openly stands in support of this and are proud Open Source contributor.
According to a study, about 40 percent of the virtual machines that Microsoft Azure uses are Linux-based.
“We recognized open source is something that every developer can benefit from. It’s not nice, it’s essential. It’s not just coding, it’s community. We’re now the largest open-source project supporter in the world.”– Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s executive VP. That speaks volumes. That’s all for now. This chapter will be beneficial for anyone who wants to learn Linux from scratch or to build upon a skill.