An Overview of the Linux Operating System for Beginnersby@juxtathinka
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An Overview of the Linux Operating System for Beginners

by JuxtathinkaJuly 23rd, 2022
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Linux is an open source operating system that is used for computers, servers, mainframes, mobile devices and embedded devices. Linux is one of the most widely supported operating systems as it is available on almost every major computer platform, including x86, ARM and SPARC. Linux has been used in different ways for web servers, network operations, specific computing tasks, running databases, endpoint computing  and running mobile devices with OS versions like Android. The Linux OS is open source, professionals and developers can all contribute to the kernel.

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What is Linux?

Linux is an open-source operating system that is used for computers, servers, mainframes, mobile devices, and embedded devices. Linux is one of the most widely supported operating systems as it is available on almost every major computer platform, including x86, ARM, and SPARC.

There are several Linux OS versions available: each version manages hardware resources, launches and handles applications, and provides some sort of user interface. Linux has been used in different ways for web servers, network operations, specific computing tasks, running databases, endpoint computing, and running mobile devices with OS versions like Android.

Linux is made up of components like the kernel, system user space, and applications. The Linux kernel is the base component of the Linux operating system that manages resources and communicates with the hardware.

Linux kernel has the responsibilities of memory, process, and file management. As the Linux OS is open source, professionals and developers can all contribute to the kernel. The system user space is the administrative layer for configuration tasks and software installation. This layer includes the command lines, daemons, processes that run in the background, and the desktop environment.

Linux applications include desktop apps, programming languages, and multi-user business tools. Together, all components of the Linux operating system provide a great user experience that makes the Linux OS one of the most popular around the globe.

Linux History: A Story of Origin

Linux has been around for some time now: in 1969, a group of developers at Bells Labs decided to make a common software for all computers which would be known as Unix. Unix was written in simple, easy-to-understand C language and its code was recyclable.

The fact that Unix's code was recyclable made parts of the code which were known as kernel installable on different systems. The code was open source, but then Unix was restricted to large organizations like universities and financial institutions that had mainframes and minicomputers.

In the 1980s, more organizations were creating their versions of Unix but none struck gold. 1991 saw Linus Torvalds, a student at the University of Helsinki, Finland creates Linux for fun. The project which was intended to be a free academic project became so successful that in 1992, he released his Linux kernel under GNU General Public License.

The announcement for the Linux kernel under the GNU GPL License was made in the release notes version 0.12. In mid-December of 1992, Torvalds published version 0.99 with the GNU GPL License.

Linux and GNU developers worked together to integrate Linux with GNU components, creating a fully functional free OS. In 1996, the official mascot for Linux, a penguin was announced. The penguin was named "TUX" and it was an official symbol for Linux.

In 2000, Linus Torvalds announced that the Linux kernel came under the GPLv2 license. In 2007, he released GPLv3: however, most Linux developers were not ready to adopt the new license. In 2007, Dell started to market laptops with the default Linux OS Ubuntu distribution and by 2013, 75% of mobile phones on the market used an OS based on Linux (Android).

In 2019 Linux kernel version 5.0 was released: over the years, a free tool developed by a 21-year-old student for fun has become widely accepted by individuals and organizations all legal over the world.

The Linux Operating System: How It Works

Linux has three main levels on its system: the hardware, the Linux kernel, and the user processes. The hardware consists of the memory, one or more central processing units(CPUs) which are used to perform computation and to read and write memory, and devices such as disks and network interfaces.

The Linux kernel is the core of the Linux operating system that tells the CPU what to do, manages the hardware, and acts as the main interface between the hardware and any running program.

The kernel is also responsible for managing tasks in four general system areas: processes, memory, device drivers, and system calls and support.

This means that the Linux kernel determines which processes are allowed to use the CPU, keeps track of all memory, and acts as an interface between hardware and processes.

The kernel also operates the hardware and the processes use system calls to communicate with the hardware. These processes are the running programs that the kernel manages and they make up the Linux OS upper level called user space.

The process is commonly identified as the user process and it runs in user mode. The user space refers to parts of the main memory that the user process can access: if a user process crashes, the mistake is usually cleaned up by the Linux kernel. The Linux kernel supports the traditional concept of a Unix user.

A User is an entity that has the ability to process and own files. A user is associated with a username: However, Linux does not manage usernames, it identifies users by simply numeric identities called userids.

Users existing to support permissions and boundaries: each user space has a user owner and processes run as the owner. Users can terminate or modify the behavior of their own processes, but they cannot interfere with the processes of other users.

A Linux system is made up of the same number of users as the number of human beings that use the system. There are some special users on the system called root users: they are administrators and they can terminate or alter other users' processes.

They can read any file on the local system and can be dangerous for the system because their mistakes are difficult to identify and correct. All these components described above work hand in hand to make Linux an effective operating system.

Linux Commands

A Linux command is a program or utility that runs on a command line. A command line is an interface that accepts lines of text and processes them into instructions for your computer. A graphical user interface is an abstraction of command line programs.

A flag is a method of passing options to commands that you run: in most cases, flags are optional. Flags can be invoked using hyphens and double hyphens in the system. An argument or parameter is the input you give to a command to ensure it runs properly.

Usually, the argument is a file path but it can be anything you type in the terminal. Argument execution will depend on the order in which the arguments are passed to the function. If you want to send in command, your first point of action should be to fire a terminal.

You can fire a terminal in Linux by using Ctrl + Alt + T.  Alternatively, you can search your application wall for "terminal."

The terminal is a command line interface that interacts with the system: this is similar to the command prompt in the Windows operating system. However, command prompts in the Linux operating system are case sensitive, working on a powerful command line interface provided by Linux.

You can perform basic and advanced tasks through the terminal. Tasks like creating and deleting files, package installation, user management, and security tasks can be performed simply by executing a command with the "ENTER" key.

For example, you can display the location of the current working directory by executing "pwd" as a command. You can also use "mkdir" to create a new directory under any directory. If you want to create a new empty file, you can use "touch" to create a single file or multiple files of your choosing.

The "cat" command is a multi-purpose entity in the Linux system: you can use it to create a file, display file contents, and copy the contents of one file to another file among other tasks.

Currently, there are over __100 Linux commands__available for you to use. You can use Linux commands for any tasks that you want to perform on your system.

Why is Linux popular

There are many operating systems available for individuals and organizations to use, why then is Linux so popular as an operating system in the midst of multiple competitors? The main reason why Linux is popular is that it provides a free and open source software licensing model (FOSS).

People love freebies: free software that allows users to download current versions of hundreds of distributions is a very attractive deal. In addition, businesses can use a support system to supplement the free price if the need arises.

In any of these scenarios, you do not need new hardware and the quality of the Linux software is as good as or even better than known applications. In addition, Linux allows you to download and run thousands of free, fully functional applications.

The Linux operating system offers its users security and stability: it continues to be the most secure kernel currently running in production. Linux boasts of an army of competent and dedicated individuals that take their time to identify and correct bugs.

Linux has a multi-user operating system: the design is structured to provide tighter access controls and permissions for both applications and users. The malicious users are disincentivized, reducing the rate of creation of malware or viruses on the platform.

Apart from all the above-listed qualities that make Linux popular, it provides a good support system for its users. The Linux community has many talented developers that are always ready to offer support to you if you need it. In addition, you can get paid support when you as an end user or an organization pay for the support subscription.

The support subscription gives you access to updated versions of the Linux operating system and hardware support. The features that Linux provides make the OS the third most popular desktop OS, with a 2.09% market share and a CAGR of 19.2%. It is projected that the Linux market globally will reach $15.64 billion by 2027: time will tell.

The Linux Operating System: A Beginner User Review

As a user who has used desktops and multiple Android devices, I must say that Linux is free software that makes life easier for users all over the globe. The platform is easy to use and install: it is also available in many languages, providing worldwide availability.

If you want to use the language used in your region, all you need to do is simply change the language settings on your keyboard. Linux operating system is one innovative platform that gives you frequent updates that you can control.

These upgrades are easily accessible and they are faster than updates on other operating systems. In addition, Linux is lightweight: it has fewer requirements, smaller memory footprints and it uses up less storage space.

My favorite feature of Linux is its flexibility. It can be used on a variety of desktop applications, embedded systems, and server applications. The platform also supports almost every popular programming language, making it the best tool for developers with a wide range of development-related applications.

This is not to say that Linux does not have its limitations: for example, if you use Linux you will notice that Linux does not have a single standard edition like other operating systems.

Beginners find it difficult to choose a standard Linux OS from the several community-developed editions or distributions of Linux. In addition, using Linux can be very difficult if you do not know how to handle the terminal: performing tasks might be a pain in your posterior.

Although some Linux OS distributions like Linux Mint are quite beginner-friendly, some like Arch leave experienced users sweating heavily. Linux has a significant problem in its limited market share: as a result, popular Windows and Mac apps are not being ported to Linux by developers.

Some people want to use Linux but their favorite apps may not be available for Linux. In addition, getting computers preloaded with Linux is difficult, especially on online stores like Amazon.

In my opinion, Linux is a good free software that you can use on your system and there are free Linux tutorials available for you as a beginner to get started on the Linux operating system. Now!

Resource: "How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know" by Brian Ward, 2nd Edition published November 14, 2014.