What is Linux?

What is Linux?

When most people ask this question, the response is simply Debian, Ubuntu, Red Hat, or maybe Arch Linux. But these are what are called Linux distributions, so Linux is the kernel of those Linux distributions combined with other software, such as gnu software and other pre-installed software. To break down everything that’s combined to create a distribution, we have to look at some of the creators of each separate part.

Richard Stallman

The first person I need to cover is Richard Stallman. In the 1980s, many companies started developing their own Unix operating system. For instance, IBM, Sun Sytems, and HP all had different versions of the Unix operating system that they were developing. And the result was a mass of Unix dialects and a dozen different ways to do the same thing. So this is where Richard Stallman came in to end the era of separation and prevent people from reinventing the wheel. This was when he started the GNU project. GNU means GNU is not Unix. Richard’s goal was to make an operating system that was freely available to everyone also where everyone could work together. Many of the command-line tools that are in modern-day Linux use the tools that were created under this organization by Richard Stallman. More on Richard’s background:

  • American free software movement activist
  • Programmer
  • Founded the GNU Project in 1983
  • Founded the Free Software Foundation

Lastly, Richard Stallman is an avid promoter for software to be distributed in a manner such that its users receive the freedom to use, study, distribute, and modify that software.

What is the Linux kernel?

The Linux kernel is a free and open-source monolithic module multitasking Unix-like operating system. The kernel is simply a program that talks directly to the hardware and manages the resources and processes. Linux stands for Linux Is Not UniX.

Linus Torvalds

The Linux kernel was created by a Finnish programmer named Linus Torvalds. After its creation, it was soon adopted as the kernel for the gnu operating system, and it became a free replacement for Unix. Since the combination of these two projects, it has spawned a large number of operating system distributions, and they’re pretty much all commonly called Linux.

  • Finnish-American Software Engineer
  • Created the Linux Kernel in 1991
  • Combined GNU & Linux Kernel
  • His Linux Kernel is used by most if not all Linux Distributions today.
  • He also created the distributed version control system Git

What is a Linux distribution?

There are many Linux distributions, but a Linux distribution is a complete Linux system package. Many Linux distributions are available to meet just about any computing requirements you could have. Also, most distributions are customized for specific user groups, such as business users, multimedia enthusiasts, software developers, and your average home user.

Course Distribution

Ubuntu is the distribution I’ll use throughout this course. Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions. Ubuntu is Debian-based, and it is composed mostly of free and open-source software. Ubuntu is released in three different; desktop edition, server edition, and core edition, which is typically used for internet of things devices and robots. All these editions can run on the computer alone or on a virtual machine, so I chose them for this course. I want to make it available for everyone to follow along, no matter the hardware.