Saturday, March 20, 2010

What is this Linux thingy and why should I care?

Linux is a free operating system just like Windows or Mac OS. The great thing about Linux is that it is completely free to download and use. I am shocked when I see people going into computer stores and paying hundreds of dollars for Windows. Most people do not know about Linux because there is no single company behind the project. It is a community effort and many individuals, companies and organizations are involved to bring you this amazing OS. Anyone can download the operating system for free and get access to thousands of free software. The Linux community is growing and the programs are high quality as well. Because Linux does not advertise as extensively as Windows or Mac computers it is sometimes difficult for the average user to learn about Linux. If you want to see a quick and easy video of what Linux looks like click here. A more visual feature rich Linux looks like this. There are also some nice screenshots that you can check out. The great thing about Linux is that you can customize almost anything about it and make it look like your own artistic creation. Don't listen to large companies that are trying to put down Linux because they have their own bottom line in mind. They don't want people to learn about Linux because they would not be able to charge the average person so much money for an operating system. You be the judge for yourself and give Linux a try. There are many different Linux distributions to choose from but a great one to start of is Ubuntu Linux. It's fast, easy, intuitive and has lots of support from a great community of people. Later on if you learn a little bit more about Linux you can move on to other distributions. Each distribution is geared towards a different user and you are bound to find one that fits your needs. Open Source software is changing the computer industry and allowing the average user to have more power without being locked in and constrained by large corporations that use patents, licenses and other methods to limit your use of software.

1 comment:

  1. I'd just like to interject. What you're referring to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux, or as I've recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux. Linux is not an operating system unto itself, but rather another free component of a fully functioning GNU system made useful by the GNU corelibs, shell utilities and vital system components comprising a full OS as defined by POSIX.

    Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is often called "Linux", and many of its users are not aware that it is basically the GNU system, developed by the GNU Project.

    There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is just a part of the system they use. Linux is the kernel: the program in the system that allocates the machine's resources to the other programs that you run. The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but useless by itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating system. Linux is normally used in combination with the GNU operating system: the whole system is basically GNU with Linux added, or GNU/Linux. All the so-called "Linux" distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux.