What, why, where, when and how is Linux?

Before jumping into any technology or anything in the world, these are the common questions comes to our mind or in another word this should be the logical approach for anything and everything.

Note: If you are already familiar with Linux, please skip this chapter. Here we are not discussing anything about the commands or technology.

What is Linux?

“It is a black screen with lots of commands. Leave it. We will go for Windows or Mac.” This is the common comment about Linux who does not know the beauty of it. I heard this from many of my friends and colleges. But is it true?

Definitely not. In very simple words, Linux is an operating system like Windows or Mac on desktop computers, It is a powerful OS which is having all and lots of extra capability compared to other business-class UNIX flavours like HP-Unix, Sun Solaris ( now oracle Solaris ), AIX etc on the server platform.

Many of you may not be knowing that the android phone in your hand is a small variant of Linux. Yes, it is a customized Linux distribution developed by Google. There are lots of embedded Linux systems running on routers, firewall not only in the IT field but also in your home.

In my home! Where? Well, We will explain this in our ‘Where is Linux” section.

Why Linux?

Why did you want to go for Linux or What is the advantage of Linux over other operating systems?

Linux is an Open Source Software. If you are a developer you will get the source code of it. And do the customization as per your requirements. If you are going to develop an application on Linux, then you can understand exactly how the base OS is working and tune the application to work smoothly. Also, OS can be tuned as per the application requirements. This is not so easy in other operating systems. Since you do not have the source code of it.

It supports most of the modern hardware from the Lower-end desktop, Laptop or even your mobile and palmtops to higher-end servers like Power series. You can select the hardware depends on your budget and requirements. Other Unix flavours like HP Unix, AIX, Solaris (Solaris have an X86 version but it will not support all the features of the Sparc version) etc. It needs its own hardware to work.

Everyone tells that Linux is multiuser and multitasking. However, we can not tell it is a differentiating feature since it is available in almost all modern Operating systems.

You have lots of open forum to discuss and get the solution. Or if you need vendor support there are some distribution providing paid support Like Redhat, Suse, Ubuntu etc. There are lots of other reasons like plenty of supported application availability, no vendor lock, etc. Again it all depends on many factors like requirements, cost, support etc. Anyway, we decided to go with Linux then again why we need to concentrate more on “Why”? It is our personal choice :). Better we will concentrate more on “how”. Maybe we will come back to “why” but not here. Why some service or setting is not working as per our expectations. One more question from me :).

Which distribution of Linux are you going to use?

It depends on your usage and the level of support you need like criticality, business needs etc. Yes, it depends on your personal choice too. In companies, it also depends on the company policies and the cost involved in it. We will come back to our first series of question.

Where is Linux?

Where can you find a Linux system? It is everywhere, on your home appliances, car, traffic controllers, factories etc. In almost all light and heavy machines and even in ship and satellites.Sorry ☺ yes in your computers, laptop, servers, routers firewall and yes in your mobile handsets too.

Machines use embedded Linux, it is a customized Linux for the lightweight appliance, only very little storage, memory, and processing power is sufficient for its operation. That is the reason it is easily integrated into our home appliances like remote control, the same embedded Linux is used in industries to automate the work also in IT equipment like routers, firewall, SAN and NAS storages.

When Linux?

You can prefer Linux any time like when you are going for desktop or server/datacenter implementation or while hosting a website you can choose Linux or in the cloud. There is no specific answer for this, if you have any query please let me know.

How Linux?

In the entire series, we are going to discuss “How Linux”.

  • How to install?
  • How to configure _____ server ?
  • How to solve _____ ? So “how” we will discuss on remaining part of this series.

Categorizing Linux desktop and Server.

The desktop version.

We have many Linux variant for Desktop; Ubuntu Linux is one of the main players on the desktop.

Server version.

There is no server desktop category in Linux, it depends on the packages installed and the way you used them.Then why all the Linux admin says “Redhat”, Suse, Centos etc are the server versions? Because Redhat or Suse is providing technical support for their OS.

Registered users get the support of the technical issue as well as bug fixes and security patches. This is not like support from an open form or a mailing group. Depends on your subscription they will have service level agreements for response and resolution.

Another important point about enterprise distribution; the vendor test most of the security issue and stability of the kernel, packages etc before introducing it to their enterprise distribution. For example, Fedora is the open-source community project for Redhat Enterprise Linux. You can see most of the advanced features will be introduced in Fedora quickly but the same will not be available in Redhat at the same pace.Before implementing any new feature or application in Enterprise distribution RedHat performs the stability and security test.

It is better to stop the introduction part. If I continue the discussion most of you will lose interest and go for some other OS ☺.