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What Is Linux Operating System | Introduction [Updated]

What Is Linux Operating System?

Linux is the best-known and most-used is an open-source operating system (OS). An operating system is the software that directly manages a system’s hardware and resources, like CPU, memory, and storage. The OS sits between applications and hardware and makes the connections between all of your software and the physical resources that do the work. I will discuss all about this in this article What Is Linux Operating System | Introduction (Linux what OS).

How does the Linux operating system work?

Every version of the Linux-based OS involves the Linux kernel which manages hardware resources, launches and handles applications, and provides some form of user interface. The enormous development community and wide range of distributions means that a Linux version is available for almost any task, and Linux has penetrated many areas of computing.

For example, Linux has risen as a famous OS for web servers such as Apache, also for network operations, scientific computing tasks that require huge compute clusters, running databases, desktop/endpoint computing, and running mobile devices with OS versions like Android.

What does Linux include?

The Linux operating system comprises several different pieces:

  1. Bootloader –  It is the software that runs the boot process of your computer. Bootloader is a piece of code that runs before any operating system is running and are used to boot operating systems.
  2. Kernel – A Kernel is a computer program that is the heart and core of an Operating System and manages the CPU, memory, and peripheral devices. The kernel is the lowest level of the OS.
  3. Init system – This is a sub-system that bootstraps the user space and is charged with controlling daemons. One of the most widely used init systems is the system? which also happens to be one of the most controversial. It is the init system that manages the boot process, once the initial booting is handed over from the bootloader (i.e., GRUB or GRand Unified Bootloader).
  4. Daemons – Daemon is a process that runs in the background and performs a specified operation at predefined times or in response to certain events.
  5. Graphical server – This is the sub-system that displays the graphics on your monitor. It is commonly referred to as the X server or just X.
  6. Desktop environment – This is the piece that the users actually interact with. There are many desktop environments to choose from (GNOME, Cinnamon, Mate, Pantheon, Enlightenment, KDE, Xfce, etc.). Each desktop environment includes built-in applications (such as file managers, configuration tools, web browsers, and games).
  7. Applications – Desktop environments do not offer the full array of apps. Just like Windows and macOS, Linux offers thousands upon thousands of high-quality software titles that can be easily found and installed. Most modern Linux distributions include App Store-like tools that centralize and simplify application installation. For example, Ubuntu Linux has the Ubuntu Software Center (a rebrand of GNOME Software) which allows you to quickly search among the thousands of apps and install them from one centralized location.

Linux and open source

Linux is a free, open-source operating system, released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Anyone can run, study, modify, and redistribute the source code, or even sell copies of their modified code, as long as they do so under the same license.

Linux has become the largest open-source software project in the world. Professional and hobbyist programmers from around the world contribute to the Linux kernel, adding features, finding and fixing bugs and security flaws, and providing new ideas—all while sharing their contributions back to the community.

Linux distributions

Since its initial development, Linux has adopted the copyleft stipulations of the Free Software Foundation which originated the GNU GPL General Public License (GPL). Copyleft says that anything taken for free and modified must in turn be distributed for free. In practice, if Linux or other GNU components are developed or modified to create a new version of Linux, that new version must be distributed for free. This is the foundation of open source development which prevents a developer or other groups from profiting from the freely available work of others.

Hundreds of different Linux versions, also known as distributions, are available today. Each is typically tailored for specific target systems, such as servers, desktops, mobile devices, or embedded devices. Distributions may be ready-to-use or source code that you must compile locally during initial installation. Community-developed distributions include Debian, Slackware, and Gentoo. Commercial distributions include Fedora by Red Hat, OpenSUSE from SUSE and Ubuntu from Canonical.

The GNU GPL does not prohibit intellectual ownership, and it is commonplace for creators of Linux components to hold copyrights on the various components. The GNU GPL ensures that those components remain free and freely distributed. While the software remains free, however, it is common for some commercial distributions to charge for value-added services, such as support or custom development services.

What Is Linux Operating System | Introduction

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