Linux is a UNIX-base operating system. Its original creator was a Finnish student name Linus Torvalds, although being ‘open source’ it has changed a great deal since its original conception. It belongs to nobody and is free to download and use. Any changes to it are open for all to adopt, and as a result it has developed into a very powerful OS that is rapidly gaining in popularity worldwide, particularly among those seeking an alternative to Windows.
In 1991, hardware was expanding rapidly, and DOS was the king of operating systems. Software development was slower, and Macs, while better, were also much pricier than PCs. UNIX was growing, but at that time in its history the source code was jealously guarded and expensive to use.
Linus Torvalds was a Helsinki university student who liked playing around with software and computers, and in 1991 he announced the creation of a new core operating system that he had named Linux. It is now one of the most used systems for the PC, and is particularly suitable for businesses with small IT budgets. Linux is free to use and install, and is more reliable than almost all other systems, running for many months and even years without a reboot being necessary.
Advantages and Benefits of Linux
One of the significant benefits of open source software such as Linux is that because it has no owner, it can be debugged without resource to a license owner or software proprietor. Businesses therefore have the flexibility to do as they wish with the OS without having to worry about conforming to complex license agreements.
The major advantage of Linux is its cost: the core OS is free, while many software applications also come with a GNU General public License. It can also be used simultaneously by large numbers of users without slowing down or freezing and it is very fast. It is an excellent networking platform and performs at optimum efficiency even with little available hard disk space.
Linux also runs on a wide range of hardware types, including PCs, Macs, mainframes, supercomputers, some cell phones and industrial robots. Some prefer to dual-boot Linux and Windows while others prefer Linux and Mac OS. System76 machines come pre-installed with Linux in the form of Ubuntu, a Debian distribution of Linux. This is the most popular distribution of Linux for laptops.
Linux Vs Windows
The main benefits and advantages of Linux over other operating systems, particularly Microsoft Windows, are:
- It is free to use and distribute.
- Support is free through online help sites, blogs and forums.
- It is very reliable – more so than most other operating systems with very few crashes.
- A huge amount of free open source software has been developed for it.
- It is very resistant to malware such as spyware, adware and viruses.
- It runs in a wide variety of machines that cannot be updated to use newer Windows versions.
- Since the source code is visible, ‘backdoors’ are easily spotted, so Linux offers greater security for sensitive applications.
- Linux offers a high degree of flexibility of configuration, and significant customization is possible without modifying the source code.
The Linux operating system is widely used by both home and business users, and its usage is increasing daily. It is considered that Linux will eventually overtake Microsoft Windows as the most popular operating system, which could also open the door further for more free software such as Open Office, The Gimp, Paint, Thunderbird, Firefox and Scribus. It is easy to install and run alongside your existing operating system, so give it a try, because it is also easy to remove if you don’t like it – which is unlikely.