what is an linux operating system

what is an linux operating system, Linux operating system (or Linux OS) is an open source. Linux is a computer operating system that was created as...

what is an linux operating system
what is an linux operating system

what is an linux operating system | digitalskillsguide.com

what is an linux operating system

Linux is a computer operating system that was created as an alternative to more expensive and less user-friendly systems. It is composed of free and open-source software and is named after developer Linus Torvalds. While Linux distributions can be used for a wide variety of purposes, they are most commonly used in servers, desktops, or embedded systems.

The Linux operating system (or Linux OS) is an open source, freely available OS that can be installed on a wide range of devices such as desktops, servers, smartphones and tablets, supercomputers, video game consoles, and purpose-built devices from in-car entertainment systems, to the Mars Rover, to medical wearables.

An operating system is the software that directly manages a system’s hardware and resources, like CPU, memory, and storage. The operating system (OS) sits between applications and hardware and makes the connections between all of your software and the physical resources that do the work.

Linux is a family of open-source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991, by Linus Torvalds. Linux is typically packaged in a Linux distribution.

Below is detailed information on what is an linux operating system.

what is an linux operating system Table of Contents

1. How does Linux work?

2. What's a command line

3. What does Linux include

4. How is the Linux operating system used?

5. Installing Linux: How to install an linux operating system

6. Installing software on Linux

7. Linux and open source

8. How the Linux operating system works

9. what is an linux operating system features 

10. Why choose Red Hat?

11. Advantages of using Linux and Disadvantages of using Linux 

    11.1 Advantages of using Linux Operating system

    11.2 Disadvantages of using Linux operating system

12. What is a shell in linux operating system?


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1. How does Linux work?

In order to understand how Linux works, it is important to first understand what an operating system is. An operating system is a software program that manages the hardware and software resources of a computer. It provides a platform for applications to run on, and it gives users a way to interact with the computer.

Linux is a type of operating system that is built on the Unix kernel. The Unix kernel is a core piece of software that provides basic services for the rest of the operating system. It handles things like memory management, process management, and I/O (input/output) operations.

The beauty of Linux is that it can be customized to fit the needs of any user. For example, someone who just wants to use their computer for email and web browsing can install a very light-weight version of Linux that will run quickly and efficiently on their hardware. On the other hand, someone who wants to use their computer for more demanding tasks like video editing or gaming can install a heavier-weight version of Linux that will provide more features and performance.

No matter what your needs are, there is a version of Linux that will suit you perfectly. And because Linux is open source software, anyone can contribute to its development

2. What's a command line

The Linux operating system is well known for its robustness and flexibility. One key component of this success is the command line interface (CLI), which allows users to enter text-based commands to control the computer.

While the CLI might seem daunting at first, it's actually quite easy to use once you get the hang of it. In fact, many power users prefer the CLI over graphical interfaces for its speed and efficiency.

If you're new to Linux, don't worry - we'll walk you through everything you need to know about the command line in this blog post.

3. What does Linux include

Most people know that Linux is an operating system, but not everyone knows what that really entails. So, what does an operating system do? In short, it is the software that manages all of the hardware resources associated with your computer. It also provides a platform for running application software.

Linux is a particularly popular operating system for servers. That’s because it’s very stable and secure, and it can be configured to work in almost any way you need it to. It’s also relatively easy to learn, which makes it a good choice for people who are new to server administration.

Of course, Linux isn’t just for servers. It can also be used on desktop computers, laptops, and even smartphones. And because it’s open source, there are many different “flavors” of Linux to choose from, each with its own unique set of features and applications.

Whether you’re a seasoned programmer or just getting started with your first computer, there’s a Linux distribution out there that’s perfect for you.

4. How is the Linux operating system used?

Every version of the Linux OS manages hardware resources, launches and handles applications, and provides some form of user interface. The enormous community for developers and wide range of distributions means that a Linux version is available for almost any task, and Linux has penetrated many areas of computing.

For example, Linux has emerged as a popular OS for web servers such as Apache, as well as for network operations, scientific computing tasks that require huge compute clusters, running databases, desktop and endpoint computing, and running mobile devices with OS versions like Android.

The Linux OS can be found in many different settings, supporting many different use cases. 

Linux is used in the following ways:

1. Server OS

Server OS for web servers, database servers, file servers, email servers and any other type of shared server. Designed to support high-volume and multithreading applications, Linux is well-suited for all types of server applications.

2. Desktop OS

Desktop OS for personal productivity computing. Linux is an open source and freely available desktop environment for users who prefer it to commercial OSes.

3. Headless server OS

Headless server OS for systems that do not require a graphical user interface (GUI) or directly connected terminal and keyboard. Headless systems are often used for remotely managed networking server and other devices.

4. Embedded device or appliance OS

Embedded device or appliance OS for systems that require limited computing function. Linux is used as an embedded OS for a variety of applications, including household appliances, automotive entertainment systems and network file system appliances.

5. Network OS

Network OS for routers, switches, domain name system servers, home networking devices and more. For example, Cisco offers a version of the Cisco Internetwork Operating System (IOS) that uses the Linux kernel.

6. Software development OS

Software development OS for enterprise software development. Although many development tools have been ported to Windows or other OSes, Linux is home to some of the most widely used open source software development tools. For example, git for distributed source control; vim and emacs for source code editing; and compilers and interpreters for almost every programming language.

7. Cloud OS 

Cloud OS for cloud instances. Major cloud computing providers offer access to cloud computing instances running Linux for cloud servers, desktops and other services.

Linux is highly configurable and depends on a modular design that enables users to customize their own versions of Linux. Depending on the application, Linux can be optimized for different purposes such as:

  • networking performance;
  • computation performance;
  • deployment on specific hardware platforms; and
  • deployment on systems with limited memory, storage or computing resources.

Users can choose different Linux distributions for specific applications or adapt a specific distribution to incorporate custom kernel configurations.

5. Installing Linux: How to install an linux operating system

For many people, the idea of installing an operating system might seem like a very daunting task. Believe it or not, Linux offers one of the easiest installations of all operating systems. In fact, most versions of Linux offer what is called a Live distribution, which means you run the operating system from either a CD/DVD or USB flash drive without making any changes to your hard drive. You get the full functionality without having to commit to the installation. Once you’ve tried it out, and decided you wanted to use it, you simply double-click the “Install” icon and walk through the simple installation wizard.

Typically, the installation wizards walk you through the process with the following steps (We’ll illustrate the installation of Ubuntu Linux): 

Preparation: Make sure your machine meets the requirements for installation. This also may ask you if you want to install third-party software (such as plugins for MP3 playback, video codecs, and more).

Wireless setup (if necessary): If you are using a laptop (or machine with wireless), you’ll need to connect to the network, in order to download third-party software and updates.

Hard drive allocation (Figure 4): This step allows you to select how you want the operating system to be installed. Are you going to install Linux alongside another operating system (called “dual booting”), use the entire hard drive, upgrade an existing Linux installation, or install over an existing version of Linux.

Location: Select your location from the map.

Keyboard layout: Select the keyboard for your system.

User setup: Set up your username and password.

That’s it. Once the system has completed the installation, reboot and you’re ready to go. For a more in-depth guide to installing Linux, take a look at “How to Install and Try Linux the Absolutely Easiest and Safest Way” or download the Linux Foundation’s PDF guide for Linux installation.

6. Installing software on Linux

Just as the operating system itself is easy to install, so too are applications. Most modern Linux distributions include what most would consider an app store. This is a centralized location where software can be searched and installed. Ubuntu Linux (and many other distributions) rely on GNOME Software, Elementary OS has the AppCenter, Deepin has the Deepin Software Center, openSUSE has their AppStore, and some distributions rely on Synaptic.

Regardless of the name, each of these tools do the same thing: a central place to search for and install Linux software. Of course, these pieces of software depend upon the presence of a GUI. For GUI-less servers, you will have to depend upon the command-line interface for installation.

Let’s look at two different tools to illustrate how easy even the command line installation can be. Our examples are for Debian-based distributions and Fedora-based distributions. The Debian-based distros will use the apt-get tool for installing software and Fedora-based distros will require the use of the yum tool. Both work very similarly. We’ll illustrate using the apt-get command. Let’s say you want to install the wget tool (which is a handy tool used to download files from the command line). To install this using apt-get, the command would like like this:

sudo apt-get install wget

The sudo command is added because you need super user privileges in order to install software. Similarly, to install the same software on a Fedora-based distribution, you would first su to the super user (literally issue the command su and enter the root password), and issue this command:

yum install wget

That’s all there is to installing software on a Linux machine. It’s not nearly as challenging as you might think. Still in doubt? Recall the Easy Lamp Server Installation from earlier. With a single command:

sudo taskel

You can install a complete LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) server on either a server or desktop distribution. It really is that easy.

7. Linux and open source

The Linux operating system is a free and open source software platform that is widely used today. This type of operating system is built upon the Linux kernel, which was first released in 1991. The kernel is the core component of the Linux OS and it is what allows the user to interact with the system.

There are many different types of Linux distributions, or "distros", that are available for users to choose from. Some of the most popular distros include Ubuntu, Fedora, and Debian. Each distro has its own unique features and benefits, so it's important to choose the right one for your needs.

If you're new to Linux, don't worry! There are plenty of resources available to help you get started. Check out our blog for more information on using Linux and open source software.

8. How the Linux operating system works

The Linux OS follows a modular design that is the key to its many variations and distributions. All Linux distributions are based on the Linux kernel, but they can differ depending on factors such as:

what is an linux operating system
what is an linux operating system

1. Kernel version. 

Distributions can be configured with more recent versions to incorporate newer features or with older versions to be more stable.

2. Kernel modules

This is software that can be loaded and unloaded into the kernel to extend functionality without rebooting. Kernel modules are often used to support:

device drivers, which use code that controls how attached devices operate;

file system drivers, which use code that controls how the kernel works with different file systems; and

system calls, which use code that controls how programs request services from the kernel.

3. Configuration options

Linux kernels compiled with configuration options set to include only device or file system drivers are used for some specialized distributions; for example, compiling a kernel for a wireless device without any wired network device drivers.

The Linux kernel is the one thing that all systems running Linux have in common. Linux works by:

  • Loading and booting a Linux kernel.
  • Once booted, the kernel manages all system input and output. The system is initialized, and processes can be started.
  • As system processes are started, the system can be used for processes that include network server functions, commands entered interactively via command line, desktop applications or any application or program.

While the kernel may be almost identical -- with some divergence for configuration and compilation differences -- the user experience can vary widely, depending on how the Linux system is being used. For example, some Linux use cases with widely different user experiences include:

Desktop productivity systems, such as those used by software developers or other professionals. Software development workstations may be optimized for performance, while desktops for administrative professionals may be optimized for use of desktop productivity tools.

Network servers may not even include a terminal for direct access. These headless servers are managed remotely through network terminal or Windows sessions. Servers may be used by many but should be directly accessed only by authorized system admins.

Thin clients enable users to access a rich desktop environment from a lightweight device. This includes Raspberry Pi single-card computers and Google Chromebooks.

When using Linux with a desktop environment as a GUI, Linux works much the same as any GUI-based OS. Applications and other resources can be opened by clicking on icons, and files can be moved, copied or deleted using a mouse or trackpad.

Likewise, using the Linux command line is similar to any modern OS command line:


This example shows the default command prompt in the Windows Subsystem for Linux. The prompt displays, from left to right, userID@hostname, and the full path of the current directory followed by the "$" symbol.

9. what is an linux operating system features 

The Linux operating system comprises several different pieces:

1. Bootloader

The software that manages the boot process of your computer. For most users, this will simply be a splash screen that pops up and eventually goes away to boot into the operating system.

2. Kernel 

This is the one piece of the whole that is actually called ‘Linux’. The kernel is the core of the system and manages the CPU, memory, and peripheral devices. The kernel is the lowest level of the OS.

3. Init system 

This is a sub-system that bootstraps the user space and is charged with controlling daemons. One of the most widely used init systems is systemd, which also happens to be one of the most controversial. It is the init system that manages the boot process, once the initial booting is handed over from the bootloader (i.e., GRUB or GRand Unified Bootloader).

4. Daemons 

These are background services (printing, sound, scheduling, etc.) that either start up during boot or after you log into the desktop.

5. Graphical server 

This is the sub-system that displays the graphics on your monitor. It is commonly referred to as the X server or just X.

6. Desktop environment 

This is the piece that the users actually interact with. There are many desktop environments to choose from (GNOME, Cinnamon, Mate, Pantheon, Enlightenment, KDE, Xfce, etc.). Each desktop environment includes built-in applications (such as file managers, configuration tools, web browsers, and games).

7. Applications 

Desktop environments do not offer the full array of apps. Just like Windows and macOS, Linux offers thousands upon thousands of high-quality software titles that can be easily found and installed. Most modern Linux distributions (more on this below) include App Store-like tools that centralize and simplify application installation. For example, Ubuntu Linux has the Ubuntu Software Center (a rebrand of GNOME Software) which allows you to quickly search among the thousands of apps and install them from one centralized location.

10. Why choose Red Hat?

Red Hat is a respected leader in the open source community, and its Linux operating system is used by many large organizations. Its enterprise-grade support and security features make it a good choice for businesses. Additionally, Red Hat offers a wide range of tools and resources to help you get the most out of its operating system.

11. Advantages of using Linux and Disadvantages of using Linux operating system

11.1 Advantages of using Linux Operating system

  • Open source software. The Linux kernel is released under the GNU GPL open source software license. Most distros include hundreds of applications, with many options in almost every category. Many distributions also include proprietary software, such as device drivers provided by manufacturers, to support their hardware.
  • Licensing costs. Unlike Microsoft Windows or Apple macOS, Linux has no explicit licensing fees. While system support is available for a fee from many Linux vendors, the OS itself is free to copy and use. Some IT organizations have increased their savings by switching their server software from a commercial OS to Linux.
  • Reliability. Linux is considered a reliable OS and is well-supported with security patches. Linux is also considered to be stable, meaning it can run in most circumstances. Linux also copes with errors when running software and unexpected input.
  • Backward compatibility. Linux and other open source software tend to be updated frequently for security and functional patches, while retaining core functionality. Configurations and shell scripts are likely to work unchanged even when software updates are applied. Unlike commercial software vendors that roll out new versions of their OSes along with new ways to work, Linux and open source applications generally don't change their modes of operation with new releases.
  • Many choices. Between the hundreds of available distributions, thousands of applications and almost infinite options for configuring, compiling and running Linux on almost any hardware platform, it is possible to optimize Linux for almost any application.

11.2 Disadvantages of using Linux operating system

  • Lack of established standard. There is no standard version of Linux, which may be good for optimizing Linux for particular applications, but less so for deploying standardized server or desktop images. The wide range of options can complicate support as a result.
  • Support costs. While an organization can acquire Linux freely without licensing fees, support is not free. Most enterprise Linux distributors like SUSE and Red Hat offer support contracts. Depending on the circumstances, these license fees can reduce savings significantly.
  • Proprietary software. Desktop productivity software like Microsoft Office cannot be used on Linux desktops, and other proprietary software may be unavailable for Linux platforms.
  • Unsupported hardware. While many hardware manufacturers make Linux device drivers available for their products, many do not.
  • Steep learning curve. Many users struggle to learn to use the Linux desktop or Linux-based applications.
In some cases, the same Linux attribute can be either an advantage or disadvantage. For example, having many options for customizing the Linux OS is advantageous for manufacturers looking for an embedded OS, but it is a disadvantage for enterprises that want a desktop OS that can be used by a wide range of end users.

12. What is a shell in linux operating system?

The shell is the Linux command line interpreter. It provides an interface between the user and the kernel and executes programs called commands.
A Shell provides you with an interface to the Unix system. It gathers input from you and executes programs based on that input. When a program finishes executing, it displays that program's output.
Shell is an environment in which we can run our commands, programs, and shell scripts. There are different flavors of a shell, just as there are different flavors of operating systems. Each flavor of shell has its own set of recognized commands and functions.


Hope you now know most on the things concerning what is an linux operating system.

what is an linux operating system



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DIGITAL SKILLS GUIDE: what is an linux operating system
what is an linux operating system
what is an linux operating system, Linux operating system (or Linux OS) is an open source. Linux is a computer operating system that was created as...
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