Introduction to Linux

Introduction to Linux

What is Linux?

Linux is an Open Source operating system(also known as an OS) that was created by Linus Torvalds in 1991.

Linux is POSIX compliant which means that it is UNIX like, many of the commands that work on UNIX will also work on Linux. Do not be confused though, linux and UNIX are completely different operating systems.

GNU GPL and Linux licensing

The GNU GPL or GNU General Public License is what keeps Linux open and free. The GNU GPL license is the most widely used free software license and it guarantees end users the freedoms to use, modify, share and study the software, this if often referred to as copy left(as in the opposite to copyright).

For further reading on the GNU GPL license read the GNU website.

Linux licensing can get complicated so make sure that if you are going to Linux check the license information before you use it. Just because a lot of Linux versions are completely free does not mean all are, some distributions you need to pay licensing fees. Even with the versions that you need to pay licensing fees you will still be able to read the source code because it is open source.

As of June 2014, more than 97% of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers run some variant of Linux

What are Linux Distros?

Distro is short for distribution, a Linux Distro is basically a version of Linux. There are many different versions of Linux some popular ones are:

  • Ubuntu
  • Linux Mint
  • Debian
  • Fedora
  • Centos

Before installing Linux make sure your distro does what you want it to do. Many distros are designed for a particular purpose, like Asterisk which is designed to be a phone system or ClearOS which is designed to be a Small Business Server.

Linux ROOT and its importance

In Linux root means with the highest privileges. The root user(also called superuser) has the highest privileges possible and is able to do anything on the Linux operating system.

Root can also mean the highest place in the folder structure. The root of the operating system is where it is installed, in a comparison to Windows the root of the OS would be the C: drive.

What is Linux used for in the real world?

Linux is used in the real world for many different purposes some of these include:

Running mobile devices

If you didn’t know one of the worlds most popular operating systems is actually a version of Linux. The android operating system which powers over a billion devices is a Linux operating system, although android is the most popular(at the time of writing this) there are other distros that are targeted at mobile devices such as:

  • Firefox OS
  • Open WebOS
  • Tizen
  • And more


Linux is used for many servers worldwide, because of the way Linux is built it is a very stable platform to put on your server. People use it for server operating systems because it can reduce costs and also is more secure.


Linux works fine on desktops, it is a little bit unrefined but it is always improving. Linux Mint is designed to be a desktop operating system and it is quite user friendly.

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