What is Linux?
Linux is an operating system, just like Windows, and Mac OS. An operating system is the software that directly manages a system’s hardware and resources, like CPU, memory, and storage. The OS sits between applications and hardware and makes the connections between all of your software and the physical resources that do the work.
Linux has been around since the mid-1990s and has since reached a user-base that spans the globe. From smartphones to cars, supercomputers and home appliances, home desktops to enterprise servers, the Linux operating system is everywhere. It also runs most of the Internet, all of the world’s top 500 supercomputers, and the world’s stock exchanges. Android, is powered by the Linux operating system.
But besides being the platform of choice to run desktops, servers, and embedded systems across the globe, Linux is one of the most reliable, secure and worry-free operating systems available.
Linux also is different from other operating systems in many important ways. First, and perhaps most importantly, Linux is open source software. The code used to create Linux is free and available to the public to view, edit, and—for users with the appropriate skills—to contribute to.
Linux is also different in that, although the core pieces of the Linux operating system are generally common, there are many distributions of Linux, which include different software options. This means that Linux is incredibly customizable, because not just applications, such as word processors and web browsers, can be swapped out. Linux users also can choose core components, such as which system displays graphics, and other user-interface components.
Who uses Linux and why?
Since its inception, businesses have used Linux extensively on their servers. Linux is also used in some corporate environments as the desktop platform for their employees, with commercially available solutions including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop and Ubuntu. Many commercial, nonprofit and governmental organizations (called Linux adopters) utilize a version of the Linux operating system, including the White House, the U.S. Department of Defense and Wikipedia.
Refer to: List of Linux adopters
Additionally, Linux is used for some game consoles, such as PlayStation3. When Sony released the PlayStation 3, they included the ability to install the Linux operating systems on the powerful computer/game console. The system is based on a PowerPC processor and thus must run a PowerPC-compatible operating system.
Linux desktop users are typically those who value an open source operating system and appreciate the speed, security and user experience of this open-source software. Linux may not be the most polished OS, but it’s on the cutting edge of innovation. If there’s a security hole, developers usually release an update within the day. Instead of waiting months for update packages, Linux users receive regular updates as new technology becomes available. To top it all off, Linux is free and supports a culture of collaboration in the software world.
Linus Benedict Torvalds is a Finnish-American software engineer who is the creator and, historically, the principal developer of the Linux kernel, which is the kernel for GNU/Linux operating systems and other operating systems such as Android and Chrome OS.Wikipedia
Versions or Distributions
Linux has a number of different versions to suit any type of user. From new users to hard-core users, you’ll find a “flavor” of Linux to match your needs. These versions are called distributions (or, in the short form, “distros”).
Refer to our Distributions page to lean more about Linux distros.