Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Getting Started With Linux- A Linux Beginners Guide.


Linux is an Open-Source Operating System. It was invented by Linus Torvalds in October 1991- when he was creating his project, he gave the world a freely available operating system. One crucial thing to be remembered is that- Linux has nothing to do with Unix. People often consider Linux as a derivative of Unix, which is not the reality. Linux and Unix are totally different operating systems.

What is an Operating system?

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An operating system is a medium with which softwares can talk to hardwares. In simple words, Operating system allows hardwares to communicate with softwares.


What is an Open-source software?

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When a software developer creates any software, he may make the source code available to the users, in order to tell the world how he created that software. Using that piece of code, any user can add or modify the existing code so as to create an entirely new software (depending on the permissions of the inventor).

In brief, Open-source software is a program whose source code is made available to its users, so that users can study, alter, improve and if they wish, they can distribute the software made by them.

One should not confuse between Open-source softwares and Free softwares. This confusion arises due to the fact that many open-source softwares are available to the users absolutely free. But the fact is-“Open-source != Free”

Linux Distributions:

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Once the source code was provided by Mr. Linus, many people around the globe started tackling with the code to build their own operating systems. They made their operating systems to behave how they wanted it to. And now, we can see a number of operating systems being used worldwide. Each of them is discovered for a particular purpose. For example, Damn Small Linux is designed to be a small distribution designed to run on older hardware as it only occupies about 52MB of disk space post installation.

Some of the famous distributions of Linux are:-
  • Ubuntu
  • Fedora
  • Red hat enterprises Linux
  • SUSE Linux
  • CentOS and many more..

What is a Shell?

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Shell is nothing but the interface which we use to interact with the operating systems. Whatever we can see on the screen is Shell.

Shell can be a Graphical User Interface (GUI) or Command Line Interface (CLI). GUI provides user a graphical platform to communicate with operating systems as in Windows 7, where we can see folder icons, we can right click, left click and so on. On the other side, CLI doesn’t provide any graphical platform, but a black window (just like Command Prompt in Windows), where one has to input commands (e.g. mkdir- in case of making a new directory).

What is “ROOT”?

As many operating systems provide multi-user environment, it has to take care that User-1′s settings should not be disturbed by User-2.

Coming to Root, it is often called as Super-User. When any person logs in as Root, he then has an authority to do anything in the system. For users other than Root, well, they do have different permissions to use the operating system which, I feel, should not be discussed at this point of time.

So, Root user is the highest level user of the operating system and has authority to do whatever he wishes with the operating system.

Capitalization:

If you have observed while using Windows that, if we make a directory named as “BOOK” and if we make another directory called “book” there itself, it will tell you that- “There is already a file having “book” as its name”. This means Capitalization doesn’t make any sense in Windows.

In Linux, “BOOK” is a different file than “book” which is again different than “Book” which is different than “BooK”- All are different files. In brief, Capitalization matters in Linux.

Server vs. Desktop Versions

Server versions of Linux  are installed with minimum number of softwares required for the system to work properly. After installation, you will see an entirely dark screen with a blinking cursor just like Command Prompt of Windows.
Desktop versions of Linux are usually provided with a GUI environment along with numerous tools and applications. Post-installation, you will see a similar environment that appears much like that Windows or the Mac OS.


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