Monday, February 06, 2006

GNU/Linux Intro: The whats and hows...

Here's my first post on my blog dedicated to GNU/Linux and Open Source Software. The URL may mislead you to think that it's about a new distribution of Linux, but that is not the case. It's basically an attempt to reach out the newbies of GNU/Linux and guide them on what GNU/Linux is, why it is, and how to make use of it.

I'd like to make a mention here... I'm not deep into GNU/Linux myself. I use only GNU/Linux on my system, and seek out solutions for everything I do... there's a whole world out there. Since I use the OS and its software the way I do, many of my friends have asked me in the past for brief intros to it, and where to start up. So this blog is an attempt to address such matters.

To start with, GNU/Linux is an Operating System. It could be installed as the sole OS on a harddisk, or could be installed along with another OS, such as DOS, Microsoft Windows, MacOS, etc. with a dual-boot menu appearing whenever the computer starts up.

Everytime I refer to GNU/Linux, it implies two major components:

1. the Linux "kernel", which handles the core interaction with the hardware(and includes core operating system functions such as scheduling, memory management, I/O, etc. as well as device drivers for the hardware)

2. The GNU Software which allows actual user interaction via the shell and/or a graphical user interface(XWindows)

Conventionally, when you need to acquire GNU/Linux, you have to get a "distribution" of it. These are like different "flavours" of GNU/Linux. In other words, different companies or organisations put together the Linux kernel, different choices of GNU Software and other software under different forms of licensing. They make their flavour available under a name, some freely, and some for a cost. Typically, the cost is either for the media through which you receive the OS, or for support that they will provide for their flavour.

Some common flavours are:
1. RedHat Enterprise Linux
2. Fedora Core Linux
3. Mandrake Linux
4. Ubuntu Linux
5. SuSe Linux
6. Xandros Linux
7. Debian Linux
8. Progeny Debian Linux
9. Knoppix
10. Damn Small Linux

There are actually hundreds of distributions of GNU/Linux currently available. My next post will be on the whys of GNU/Linux

1 comment:

Srikanth said...

Thanks of the post, it will surely help a lot of newbies and experienced guys who don't know too :)