Linux is known to be the most popular open source piece of software. Essentially, Linux is an operating system that was discovered by Internet Hall of Fame member Linus Torvalds. Just like Microsoft Windows, Mackintosh OS and any other type of operating system, Linux serves as an underlying layer of software that receives requests from other programs and relays them to the computer’s hardware.
The Linux OS is made up of the following components.
- The Bootloader – this is the part of the software that takes care of the boot process of your PC. In the majority of cases, the bootloader will just be a splash screen that comes up and then disappears, summoning and then making way for the operation system.
- The Kernel – basically, ‘Linux’ is understood to be a Kernel. The term Kernel refers to the core of the entire system that is tasked with the management of the memory, CPU, and peripheral devices. In layman’s language, the kernel is the ‘lowest’ OS layer.
- Daemons – these are the background services such as printing scheduling and sound that launch either during boot or after you’re logged into the PC.
- The Shell – you probably have heard of the Linux command line. This is typically what is referred to as the shell. It’s a process that permits the user to manipulate the computer through commands keyed into a simple text interface. Back in the days, this is what usually scared beginner to moderate PC users from Linux, and made it seem like a geeky operating system. Nowadays, things are different. The modern desktop Linux doesn’t necessarily require you to touch this command line.
- Graphical Server – this is the sub-system of the OS that displays graphics on your PC monitor. Sometimes, it’s referred to as the ‘X’ server.
- Desktop Environment – this is the part of the OS that an end-user will interact with. Linux has many desktop environments available, such as GNOME, Enlightenment, Cinnamon, FCE, and KDE, among others. Each desktop environment features built-in applications such as configuration tools, games, web browsers and file managers.
- Applications – while the Linux operating system comes equipped with enough of its share of applications, it doesn’t include the full array of programs that a user might need in everyday usage scenarios. Most existing distributions of the Linux OS come with an app-store like configuration (e.g. Ubuntu Software Center) that make it easy for you to search for and install applications.
How is Linux Different
Unlike most other operating systems that PC users are accustomed to, Linux is open source. This makes this operating system insanely customizable, and highly flexible.
Why Use Linux
There are multiple benefits to using the Linux operating system. To start with, it’s open source so that you incur zero cost. You also get to take advantage of software freedoms, multiuser construct, advanced multitasking, remote tasking, vendor independence, constant updates, better performance and numerous other advantages. This is precisely why more startups, government bodies, and nonprofit organizations are increasingly taking advantage of this OS.