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What is Linux?

Linux is the most popular and arguably most technically advanced kernel available for the GNU Operating System; a set of tools and applications aiming to replicate AT&T's proprietary UNIX OS entirely in Open Source software. In many ways Linux replicates the functionality of the established UNIX systems: AT&T's System V and Berkley's BSD and its myriad of derivatives such as HP-UX, TRU64, IRIX, Solaris, and so on which were primarily aimed at engineers and other professionals.

However, Linux also brings many new and innovative technologies to the table that aim to create a popular platform akin to Apple's MacOS or Microsoft's Windows. This includes support for various consumer hardware pieces out of the box (The most of any operating system ever), and a Plug N' Play architecture called HAL. So while many pieces of free software will run on other UNIX-like OS's you will find a much more pleasant experience utilizing these under the Linux Kernel.

What Linux is Not.

Linux is not an Operating System, Desktop Environment, or Software Suite. It is simply a kernel: a piece of software that orchestrates the interactions between specific programs(Such as Word, Firefox and Photoshop) and your computer hardware(Screen, Keyboard, Processor). On most workstations and servers you will see Linux coupled with a suite of standardized software known as the GNU/OS and occasionally with Desktop Environments such as GNOME or KDE. However, the scale on which the Linux kernel operates is immense: From wristwatches to behemoth supercomputers; so unlike Windows and MacOS you are likely to encounter a spectrum of interfaces when using Linux.

What this Series of Articles will focus on.

Here at the Evergreen State College we use Linux to power workstations and some of our servers. Most of the Linux workstations here are equipped with the standard GNU tools and the GNOME desktop environment. The articles will mainly focus on basic usage of the UNIX/GNU tools and effective usage of the GNOME visual desktop environment.

Learning to Use Linux

A great resource to learn how to use Linux is Linux Journey, a site dedicated to making learning Linux fun and easy.

Pages in category "Linux"

This category contains only the following page.