Linux definition

Linux is a Unix-like, open-source, community-developed OS for desktops, servers, mainframes, mobile devices, and embedded devices. One of the most supported operating systems, it runs on x86, ARM, and SPARC.

What is linux OS?

Linux is a Unix-like operating system (OS) that is open source and developed collaboratively by a large global community. It may be used on desktop computers, servers, mainframes, mobile devices, and embedded gadgets. It’s one of the most frequently used OSes since it works on so many different computer architectures. This includes x86, ARM, and SPARC.

What is linux OS?
What is linux OS?

When would you use Linux?

Every Linux distribution is responsible for managing hardware, starting programs, and handling their data. Since Linux has such a large development community and so many different distributions, there is likely a Linux version that will work for your specific need.

Server OS

Operating system designed for servers that host other servers, such as the Internet, databases, files, emails, etc. This OS works great for any server application since it was made to handle large traffic and multiple threads.

Desktop OS

Personal productivity operating system designed for use on a desktop computer. For those who would rather not pay for an operating system, this os offers a free and open alternative.

Headless server OS

An operating system (OS) designed for servers that do not have a graphical user interface (GUI) or a terminal and keyboard connected to them. Networking servers and other devices are common examples of applications for headless systems.

Embedded device or appliance OS

The operating system for embedded devices or appliances, designed for use in systems with constrained computational needs. Home appliances, car entertainment systems, and network file system appliances are just a few examples of embedded applications that employ Linux.

Network OS

Operating system for networks, used in routers, switches, DNS servers, and other networking hardware. For instance, Cisco provides a Linux-based version of its Cisco Internetwork Operating System (IOS).

Software development OS

Operating system for creating business applications. Though many open source software development tools have been moved to Windows and other operating systems, that remains the home of many of the industry’s most popular programs. For example, practically all programming languages have corresponding compilers and interpreters, such as git for distributed source control, vim and emacs for editing source code, and so on.

Cloud OS

Server operating system in the cloud. The majority of cloud service providers make Linux-powered cloud server, desktop, and service instances available to their customers.

Distros for Linux

Linux has adhered to the GNU General Public License’s (GPL) copyleft requirements ever since it was created. The GPL mandates that any changed versions of freely available materials must also be made available without charge. In reality, a new version of that built from scratch or based on GNU-licensed components must be made available without cost to the user. This eliminates the possibility of a developer or other entities making a profit off of someone else’s publicly available work.

Distros for Linux
Distros for Linux
  1. Ubuntu
  2. Debian
  3. CentOS Linux
  4. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
  5. Gentoo
  6. Fedora
  7. OpenSUSE
  8. Navy Linux

There are literally hundreds of Linux distributions (or “distros”) to choose from. Most distributions stand apart by catering to a particular ideology, function, or audience.

For instance, there are distributions designed for use on servers, PCs, gaming systems, secure embedded devices, and Raspberry Pi-based systems. Whereas the vast majority of today’s distributions come precompiled and ready to go, some, like Gentoo Linux, provide users with the source code they may compile locally after first installation to fine-tune the system’s settings. When it comes to fixing broken hard drives and other IT issues, Knoppix is only one of several distributions that can help. Kali  is used in the information security industry for penetration testing and other purposes.

Increasingly, Linux is being used in car entertainment systems. A large number of manufacturers have signed on to the Linux Foundation’s open source Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) initiative. The entertainment systems in Toyota and Lexus automobiles, for instance, are developed by AGL.

Distributions of Linux, such as Debian, Slackware, and Gentoo, can be created by the community. Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server are two examples of commercial distributions built for large businesses. Fedora from Red Hat, openSUSE from SUSE, and Ubuntu from Canonical are just a few examples of distributions that adopt a hybrid approach to development, with backing from both the community and the distribution’s corporate sponsors.

Parts of Linux and Their Jargon

Components of the Linux operating system include:


Bootloader. The bootloader controls the computer’s boot sequence and launches the Linux kernel. It may also be used to control multiboot computers.


Kernel. The Linux kernel is the central component of the operating system, responsible for regulating everything from network access to the scheduling of processes and applications to the management of fundamental hardware like printers and scanners and the coordination of file system services. When communicating with the hardware, the Linux kernel is the piece of software that does so.

kernel linux
kernel linux

System initialization

System initialization. The primary program that starts up once the kernel has been loaded. The init system prepares a computer to launch more processes, and a process is an instance of a program. All other processes in the system have init as their parent process, and init is a daemon that performs this function. When the system boots up, Init may be set to launch a variety of predetermined programs. When a web server is going to be running, the init system may be set up to load all the required software.


Daemons. A software like this operates invisibly, silently responding to service requests. A daemon, often called httpd, is required for a Linux-based web server to respond to requests.

graphical interface

The server has a graphical interface. This program manages the computer’s visual presentation of images. When working with Linux, users are limited to the command line in the absence of a graphical server. X Window System (sometimes X11 or X) is the most popular graphical server for Linux. X is a server daemon that is invoked by programs that need to generate graphical output.

Desktop environment

The desktop, in other words. When working with Linux on a desktop computer, this is the suite of programs and user interface elements that users engage with. X Window System, or similar graphical system, is typically used to manage desktop access. Every desktop has its own own visual style, down to the smallest details. Default programs for file/folder management, text editing, launching a command line session, and other frequently used functions will be included in the desktop environment as well.


Applications. This is the extra software that is installed alongside Linux. The vast majority of Linux distributions provide access to hundreds of software programs, both server-side and desktop-oriented.

Although these features are commonplace in Linux distributions, they are not always included in production installations. A Linux server, for instance, may function quite fine without a graphical host, desktop, or other associated software.

However, the Linux kernel does not deliver a fully realized OS without the help of the numerous other developers and GNU projects that supply high-level services. Each distribution can be tailored to a specific set of needs by combining specialized modules (such those providing a command-line interface, implementing a graphical user interface, handling security, or providing video input and audio services).

There is a vast range of desktop environments, each with its own approach to GUI design and set of default apps. Desktop environments consisting of and are the two most often used.


The GNOME desktop environment is the de facto standard for many users as it is included in the vast majority of Linux distributions. Other desktop environment projects, such as MATE, Cinnamon, and Unity, sprung from GNOME because of its popularity and success in making desktop environments user-friendly and stable.
When looking for an alternative to GNOME, the KDE desktop environment is the best option. It is a goal of the KDE developers to make their desktop environment intuitive and trustworthy.

The Trinity Desktop Environment is one of the offspring.

gnome linux
gnome linux

A common function of package managers for the Linux operating system is to install, upgrade, and uninstall programs. Package managers allow end users to add third-party applications to their systems. RPM Package Manager, dpkg, OpenPKG, and Zero Install are all examples of package managers.

Explaining how the Linux OS works

What allows Linux os to have so many different flavors is its modular structure. While all Linux distributions share a common kernel, there are several ways in which they might diverge:

Distinctive kernel release. Newer versions can be used to take advantage of advancements in functionality, while older versions can be used to ensure reliability.

Modules that work within the kernel. This is code that may be added to or removed from the kernel to add or remove features without requiring a system restart. Device drivers, which use code to manage the operation of attached devices, file system drivers, which use code to manage the kernel’s interaction with various file systems, and system calls, which use code to manage the way in which programs request services from the kernel, are all examples of kernel modules.

Options for set-up. Some customized versions of Linux employ kernels produced with specific configuration settings to contain just device or file system drivers, such as creating a kernel for a wireless device without any wired network device drivers.

The Linux kernel is the only component shared by all Linux-based operating systems.

Explaining how the Linux OS works
Explaining how the Linux OS works

After booting, the kernel controls all I/O operations. Everything has been set up and may now begin running.
Any program or application can be run after the system processes have been initiated, whether they be network server operations, interactive instructions entered through command line, desktop apps, or anything else.

While Linux distributions tend to share a similar kernel (with minor variations due to configuration and compilation), the user experience can vary greatly. In the case of Linux, for instance, some use scenarios that might result in very different user experiences are:

Productivity software for the desktop, such as those used by programmers and other experts. It’s possible to tailor software development workstations for speed, and administrative staff PCs for optimal usage of desktop productivity software.

Some server nodes in a network may not even have a terminal for user input. Network terminals or Windows sessions are used for remote administration of these headless machines. While many people may make use of a server, only authorized system administrators should have access to the server’s administrative interface.
Thin clients are lightweight devices that provide users access to a full desktop experience. Devices like the Raspberry Pi and Chromebooks fall within this category.

When using a desktop environment in place of a GUI, Linux performs similarly to other GUI-based operating systems. You may use your mouse or trackpad to access programs and other resources, as well as to rename, copy, and delete files.

Evaluation of Linux’s Benefits and Drawbacks

Using Linux has several benefits, such as:

  • Free and open source applications. The Linux kernel has been made available to the public through the GNU General Public License (GPL). Numerous packages in dozens of categories may be found in the majority of distributions. Device drivers and other manufacturer-specific software are common examples of proprietary software that is included in many versions.
  • Prices associated with obtaining a license. Linux does not require any sort of upfront licence payment like Microsoft Windows or Apple’s macOS. Although many Linux companies offer paid system maintenance, the operating system itself is freely distributable and usable. Companies in the IT industry can save money by replacing expensive commercial server software with open-source Linux.
  • Reliability. The Linux operating system is trusted because it is regularly updated with security fixes and has a large user base. As a result, Linux is reliable and usable in a wide variety of settings. Linux can handle software malfunctions and unexpected user input.
linux OS
linux OS
  • Capability of functioning with older technology. While the fundamental capabilities of Linux and other open source software remain unchanged, they are routinely updated with security and functionality updates. It is probable that configurations and shell scripts will continue to function normally once software upgrades have been installed. Linux and open source software often do not alter their methods of operation with new releases, in contrast to commercial software companies that issue new versions of their operating systems along with new ways of working.
  • Quite a few alternatives. Linux can be configured, compiled, and run on nearly every hardware platform, and there are hundreds of distributions to choose from and thousands of programs to try out.
    Here are a few of that drawbacks:
  • There is no gold standard since there hasn’t been one created. Lack of a single, universal Linux distribution is great for tailoring Linux to specific uses, but it makes it difficult to roll out consistent server or desktop images. As a result of the numerous available configurations, providing assistance might be difficult.
  • Assisting with funding. While there are no license costs associated with acquiring Linux, support is not gratis for businesses. SUSE and Red Hat, two of the most popular corporate Linux distributors, both provide maintenance contracts to their customers. These license costs might drastically eat away at cost savings in some situations.
    Privately developed programs. Microsoft Office and other proprietary desktop applications are incompatible with Linux desktops.
  • Incompatible hardware. Device drivers for this os are available for many devices, although this is not the case for all manufacturers.
  • Quite a steep learning curve. Linux is widely used, but many people have difficulty getting started with the desktop environment or the various Linux-based apps available.
  • The same OS feature might be useful or harmful, depending on the context. For instance, businesses that need a desktop OS that can be utilized by a broad variety of end users may find Linux’s extensive customization capabilities to be an inconvenience.

The Linux Operating System’s Past

It was at the University of Helsinki in Finland that Linus Torvalds began developing Linux as an alternative to the Minix operating system. Torvalds acknowledged the GNU Project’s 1983 efforts to develop a free software operating system (OS) that was compatible with Unix and cited the GNU as a distribution paradigm for his own work. Torvalds wanted to replace Minix, but GNU wasn’t ready yet, so he created his own Unix-like operating system kernel and called it Linux (a shortening of Linus’s Unix) and licensed it under the GNU General Public License.

linux history
The Linux Operating System’s Past

It was in September of 1991 when Torvalds first made the Linux kernel available. Developers from all across the world collaborated to combine GNU software with Torvalds’ kernel, resulting in the os operating system we know today. Even though Torvalds is working on the that kernel, a large developer community keeps adding new features and fixing bugs in existing ones.


Linux is an operating system (OS) for computers, servers, mainframes, mobile devices, and embedded devices that is similar to Unix and developed by the community. It works on almost every major computer platform, like x86, ARM, and SPARC. This makes it one of the operating systems with the most support.

Source : Technomaglogy

Technomaglogy update in: September 28, 2023


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