Linux is an open-source operating system or a kernel. It is not only the most popular server operating system, but also the widely used open-source operating system. It was founded by Linus Torvalds in 1991 with the collaboration of GNU. Linux is used to power a multitude of systems. For instance, laptops, computers, smartphones, smart refrigerators and many more. Even though in the beginning, it was only famous in computer programmers, now it is used almost everywhere. Today Linux servers run Google, Facebook and many other well-known services.
Linux is different when compared to other popular clients operating systems such as Windows and Mac OS. Linux is an open-source system while other systems are not. That means users cannot make changes in those operating systems since the user cannot access their source code. But anyone can modify the Linux operating system. This does not mean Linux does not have commercial editions.
Some refer to Linux as a clone of UNIX. UNIX was the foundation of Linux, or technically speaking an inspiration in terms of technology. When considering the core both are similar. Even though Linux is like UNIX it has its unique features. Some of the differences between UNIX and Linux are:
- Linux is very flexible, but UNIX is rigid, hence it cannot be used in any computer.
- Linux offers extensive portability in contrast to Unix.
- Source code of Linux is readily available, but for UNIX is it is not actually the case.
These are the reasons for the foundation of Linux.
A complete Linux system package can be called distribution. This includes the Linux kernel, GNU applications, a desktop environment and applications. There are so many available distributions addressing a plethora of needs. Some of the noteworthy distributions are:
- Linux Mint.
- Red Hat/Cent OS.
These distributions are customized for users’ needs. One can choose the most suitable distribution according to their needs. For instance, Ubuntu can be installed easily, and anyone can use it, while OpenSUSE requires advanced knowledge. Some distributions, such as Linux Mint, can use who has low computer expertise.
Recently there is a surge of Linux users due to many benefits. When considering the benefits of Linux, the most popular one is that it is free. Since operating systems, such as Windows and Mac are quite expensive, Linux has become predominant among users. Although in the history Linux was not a user-friendly operating system, now it has sufficient facilities and users can choose from millions of applications. It is flexible and highly customizable. One can install what he/she wants without downloading a full set of features.
One of the major benefits of Linux is its security. Since there many severe problems have arisen due to security issues with many operating systems, the increased use of Linux is inevitable, given its strong security architecture. When using Linux, it is not necessary to use anti-virus programs in most cases (this does not mean it is entirely free of bugs or vulnerabilities, but these are rare). It is also beneficial when considering user privacy because the Linux system does not collect details of the user.
Since Linux is an open-source operating system, any enthusiast has the opportunity modify a distribution. It gives the opportunity to make one’s own Linux distribution. Even with all these facilities, it is highly stable and reliable.
Installation of Linux is extremely simplified now with modern GUI capabilities, and it works on almost every hardware. Software updates and patches also are faster when compared to other operating systems. The support teams available for general Linux users, as well as the enterprise users, is becoming ever popular.
Linux also had a few disadvantages. The main reason for this was Linux was not a dominant operating system in the market. Therefore, users had to face some difficulties, such as:
- Most of the drivers are written for Windows or Mac OS X. Therefore, some hardware cannot be used with Linux for advanced operations. This is especially true when it comes to gaming.
- Finding support services is difficult when compared to other operating systems
- It is quite difficult to find popular applications.
- Certain major vendors have not developed priority software for Linux because Linux was not a popular client operating system, such as Windows or Mac.
In addition to the afore-mentioned disadvantages there are few other issues. One is the number of flavors of Linux. It is extensive. This may confuse beginners. Since Linux offers more control to the user, newbies may experience a difficult time. When considering users whose main focus is gaming, they might not be satisfied with Linux due to it is the limitation with popular gaming applications and certain driver support issues.
Even though Windows operating system is dominant for the past few decades, Linux has gained popularity at present. There are several advantages to Linux when compared to the operating systems such as Windows. A few of those are:
- Linux offers more secure and an error free environment, given the security architecture and nature of the applications.
- Linux still runs on decades old computers.
- With Linux, advanced user can make operating system level changes while the others do not allow such modifications.
- A person who works on a Mac can easily adapt Linux when compared to Windows because the Mac operating system also uses a UNIX like operating system.
Since Linux offers more versatility to the users, most of the famous platforms, such as android phones, use Linux. The following is a list of industry and tech giants relying on Linux based devices for their mission critical applications.
CERN, World’s largest Physics laboratory uses Linux to power its hardon collider (particle accelerator). More than 90% of world supercomputers run on Linux. There are countless other instances. The internet is dominated by Linux flavors.
Even proprietary platforms release their editions for Linux, drivers and other developments focused on Linux. This helps to provide reliability, flexibility and scalability. For instance, companies like Steam release operating systems based on Linux to offer console-like experience in living rooms.
There are many job prospects when considering the Linux platform. The cloud uses Linux extensively. DevOps and SysOps areas are gaining speed with Linux. Many industry applications use Linux for mega projects. Many sectors, such as education, healthcare, IT and military, adapt and enhance it in multiple ways. It is time to move on with Linux!