What is Linux?
You must have probably heard of Linux? Right? (Well read on if you don’t). But do you know why people use it and what are its benefits? Why is it considered as one of the most popular OS?
From 1985, Microsoft has dominated the world with its faithful and widely used Windows. Mostly common users know only about that old Windows. But opening out the Windows of the world of OS’s we get to realize that their are many other OS’s which exist! Programmers have put in their hard work and precious time in developing these OS’s, full of features and surprises and most of them free of cost!
Running an old-slow computer? Did your hard drive crash recently? Or maybe you want to recover data from an already nuts one? Linux is their for your every need!
The Work Behind Linux
In 1984, a project named GNU was launched to develop a UNIX-style operating system that is free software. The GNU project developed a lot of software that are free under the GPL (General Public License). In 1991, Linus Torvalds along with many programmers developed the Linux kernel and put it under the GPL license. The Linux Kernel together with lots of GNU software formed the GNU/Linux Operating System.
The major benefit why one may use Linux is that Linux along with its source code is freely available to everyone. Thus, any one can use, enhance, and distribute either the original version or the enhanced version of Linux. Therefore, Linux is often considered an excellent, low-cost alternative to other expensive Operating Systems.
Due to the Linux functionality and ability, it has become quite popular worldwide and a vast number of software programmers have taken Linux Source code and adapted it to meet their individual needs. At this time, there are dozens of ongoing projects for porting Linux to various hardware configurations.
Linux comes with a complete development environment including C, C++, and Fotran compilers, toolkits such as Qt and scripting languages such as Perl, Awk, and Sed. Linux also provides an ideal environment to run servers such as Apache or an FTP server.
What are Linux Distro’s ?
Along with a fully-fledged OS, there are an innumerable ‘Linux Distros’ which have been created just for the above purposes. These slim Os’s boot directly off Removable Media and you get to keep your files with personal settings all in one place. Imagine carrying your whole PC in your pocket!
For eg. DSL (Damn Small Linux) is one of the smallest Linux desktop, very stable and having a size of only 50mb! Want more features? Then take a look at Slax or Puppy. They are merely a size of 200 MB and include a whole lot of apps with multimedia support. The great thing about these two is that they could be configured to directly run on RAM (by copying itself to RAM before booting) The advantage to run on RAM is that it reduces wear of the removable device and runs much faster than it would directly. Moreover there is no need to keep your device plugged in as you can remove it as soon as it has booted completely (though you need to plug it back in for saving your progress).
This whole write-up was typed both in AbiWord (in Puppy) and KWrite (in Slax) running completely from a Pendrive. My harddrive crashed weeks ago, but I’m still happy with these!
The Many Advantages Of Linux
Cost – The most obvious advantage of using Linux is the fact that it is free to obtain, while most Microsoft products are expensive. Moreover, Linux can be installed on multiple computers whereas in Microsoft products, you need a separate license for multiple computers.
Linux is easy to install! Linux is quite easier to install. Especially the distros, some of which are merely zipped up archives; you just need to extract the files and run some scripts to get it set-up.
Stabilty is very stable! – Linux systems rarely crash, if they do, the whole system normally does end up going nuts.There is no such thing as ‘Blue Screen of Death’ in Linux!
Linux is less vulnerable to computer malware! – Because most computer viruses are designed to run on . Security patches are released much faster to Linux than any other operating systems because there are so many good-hearted people contributing to it.
Linux typically does not slow down over time! – One unique feature is that Linux does not have a like Windows, which can become corrupted with registry errors and may slow down a computer over time.
Another feature of Linux is that it is normally formatted in a different way using ext4, which eliminates the need to defragment a Linux hard drive. On the other hand, hard drives in Windows needed to be formatted regularly to maintain good performance.
Extensive Hardware Support – Linux is just the right thing for old computers with barely any processing power or memory for modern needs. Install Linux and you can use it as a spare computer, a multimedia center or even a backup server! There are innumerable possibilities. Old Pentium 2’s and 3’s can run it quite smoothly with nice looking desktop! Better than Windows!
Learning Curve – Those who have become too comfortable with Windows may need a little time to get set up. Linux is quite simple and you have all access of your various drives and files right from your desktop. Though, Linux gives you much more control easily.
Compatible Programs – Most programs developed for Windows wont run in Linux. You may need complicated emulators like Wine, etc. These emulators are not guaranteed to work properly. Their are many equivalent applications that can perform your daily tasks. You need to find the right compatible version.
Not for gaming – Fans of PC gaming will get much more limited compatibility in running latest games than Windows. Though if you have a powerful PC, some emulators might get it done !