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What is Linux and How Does It Work?

Linux is an operating system that runs on the Linux kernel which was created by Linus Torvalds back in the early 1990s in Finland. The kernel was made available for free and allowed other programmers to add to the kernel as a free contribution. After hundreds of programmers started developing the kernel, the Linux system rapidly grew. Like UNIX, Linux is a free operating system which can by run on your PC hardware and it provides you with more control over your operating system.

How Linux Works

Not everyone uses Linux because it is a little harder to manage than Microsoft Windows, however if you get use to it there are more configuration options than Windows and it offers more flexibility of usage.

  • Linux Kernel: The Linux kernel is what distinguishes the Linux operating system from other systems. The kernel is located in the central portion of the operating system and controls the operating system security, hardware interfaces, and acts as the primary resource for the operating system itself. The kernel contains a source code that is available to everyone which allows you to edit and modify your operating system to suit your individual needs. Many companies and organizations have used the kernel to design operating systems that are customized to their company's needs and requirements.
  • Server Platform: Linux is referred to as a server platform because it has the capability to form the foundation for which an operating system can be built and has been used as an alternative to the Microsoft Windows operating system. Because of its capability to act as a platform it can also be used as a microchip for other devices and appliances.

Downloading Linux

Unlike UNIX, Linux works together with a set of other GNU programs. GNU programs are sets of programs that are created for free and are similar to the current day open source programs. With that said, Linux is not a single program or a suite of tools like the Microsoft Windows operating system. Therefore, a Linux download is known as a "distribution" because it works with all of the GNU programs to form an operating system.

There are Linux versions that are available for your hard disk drive or they can be run from a compact disc. This is because it is not necessary to install Linux on your hard disk drive to run the Linux operating system. Since the system offers versatility, it can also be easily run from a CD which is also known as a "Live CD" version. The operating system is capable of booting up from the CD just like it would from your hard drive on your computer. If you are not sure which download to use there is a host of information on the Linux website on how to download and use the Linux operating system.

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