What is linux and such?

  • flashback10
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Post 3+ Months Ago

This sounds like a really stupid question, but I was just wondering what is linux and everything being discussed? I've been noticing the name everywhere I look, and it sounds like something important that I should know getting into web design. I've been trying to look it up, but nothing really makes sense of specifically what it is.

Can anyone please provide a brief, yet simple and informative, description of it? I would greatly appreciate it. It seems the best way to learn things is on boards like this. I'm trying to learn a lot on my own before I start getting into my career-core classes next year. Thanks so much.

maria-
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • Daemonguy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Linux is an Operating System, in the same vein as Windows but created to resemble something more venerable; Unix.

For more detailed information:
http://www.linux.org/

Cheers.
  • placid psychosis
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Post 3+ Months Ago

In short, UNIX powers the Internet. Linux is a derivative of UNIX, and one that has gained a fanatical community of developers. Linux is a free operating system. This is free as in freedom, not always free as in beer. Another popular "free" derivative is FreeBSD. More Web servers run Linux and the Apache HTTP server than any other OS/server software. If you intend on getting into Web design in any serious capacity, you will need to learn the basics of the Linux command line.
  • flashback10
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thank you for replying to my question. I'm really eager to learn more about it. I guess my confusion comes from wondering what makes Linux or Unix a better operating system than windows or something? What are it's advantages?

maria-
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Okay, where to start...

Linux is a kernel, a core OS. It is not an "operating environment", is the sense that Windows is. Windows comes in different "flavors", often classed as "9x" (Win95, Win98, WinME) and "NT" (WinNT, Win2000, WinXP, and Win2003). Linux also has "flavors" in the form of distributions, often called "distros". Various distros include RedHat, Fedora, Debian, Slackware, and SuSE.

When you buy a copy of Windows, you buy one package for the version you want which comes from Microsoft. You install the software and activate it, and you're ready to go with a desktop just like everyone else's. When you buy or download a copy of Linux, you have a lot of choices to make. Each distro comes from a different vendor, and many distros have multiple sub-classes. Each version may offer many choices at installation for different package types and environment features. For example, while Windows has but one shell, Explorer, Linux users often have to pick between several, each with it's own look and feel (KDE and Gnome are the most popular, although I prefer WindowMaker). When you instll Linux, you can easily end up with a desktop unique to you.

This opens a whole new world of issues, however. Unlike Windows, where if you buy a software package you can be assured it will run on your box, Linux software may be a bit more picky on what it runs on. You need to check the requirements carefully, ensuring your library versions match to what the developer of the software recommends. Sometimes binary packages simply will not run on your machine, and you have to compile from source to make it suit your needs.

Again, however, this does help optimize the software on your system. Instead of including every library out there and having bloated code, a fresh compiled from source application can be more memory efficient than its one-size-fits-all Windows counterpart.

In terms of security, Linux places much tighter restrictions on users than Windows does. Because of these restictions, Linux is far less susceptable to virii and spyware infections. Historicly, security flaws in Linux do not stem from the core OS, but from flaws in add-on software packages. This is in direct conflict with Windows security flaws, which tend to stem from the core OS.

Also, while Microsoft has a vested interest in making sure thier software supports as many types of hardware and technology as possible, Linux is limited to what the developers have access to for testing, and an interest in supporting. Again, the flip side of this is that anyone can write support for hardware or technologies and get it added to the OS to benefit the rest of the community.

If you need more info, Google is full of answers on this topic.
  • flashback10
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks so much for taking the time to explain it to me. It makes a little more sense, but I'm definitely still going to have to research it some more. Thanks again for your introduction to it. I have a better idea of what it's about now.

maria-
  • EngLee
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Post 3+ Months Ago

A great long post by placid psychosis! :)

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