There is one word going around in the industry lately - Linux. Serious pros claim it to be a delight to use as compared to windows. Laymen say it is too difficult to use. Most people are too afraid to even try their hand at Linux. Its reputation just frightens them.
Actually, there is nothing difficult about using Linux. It definitely is not as easy to use as Windows but there are a lot of other advantages. My main reason in trying out Linux was to rebel against the monopoly held by Mr. Bill Gates. Once I started off, I found that there is precious little to guide newbies. Who the heck wants to configure the Apache web server etc?? I just wanted to know how to use Linux in a normal day-to-day fashion.
This series of articles actually attempts to teach you the basics of Linux that you would really need. How to install, how do I get on the net (just a little bit more difficult than windows) etc. We won't attempt to teach you the heavy-duty stuff. The basics are all you'll get.
A bit of history first:
Linus Torvalds invented Linux in the early 80s. This Finnish student decided that he did not like to buy Unix or any of its many clones. Linux is essentially a derivation of Minix. (Hence pronounced "Lih-nucks") It forms the basis of the GNU open source software and the copy-left principles.
Open source software is that software in which the source code is also given out along with the software. (For all the techies) The copy-left principle says that anybody can use it, copy it and even sell it to others as long as they don't charge money for the software itself (they can charge you for packaging help support etc).
Originally Linux was only for the brains when installing a Linux version was something of a great job, which could be done only by a computer guru. However, of late, due to advanced packing of all the software by RedHat, SuSe and others the process is only slightly more difficult than installing windows.
Myths about Linux:
Linux requires a separate hard disk:
This is pure nonsense. Windows as well as Linux can faithfully co-exist on the same hard disk. The only thing you require is separate partitions. Disk partitioning is another topic, which we will come to later.
Linux is exceptionally difficult to use:
This was true once upon a time but now it definitely isn't so.
Linux is entirely text based:
Again, this was true a long, long time ago. Now you have the X-window system, which is much better than any windows version.
You can't play games in Linux:
Now this was one complaint I had which is now slowly being rectified. Quake 3 released its Linux version along with the source code almost at the same time as the windows version - which is really saying something because no one else had even attempted a thing like this before. But Linux really rules.
Linux doesn't work on slow machines:
Take a 486. Install a bare bones version of Linux on it. If you do not use any graphics intensive or processor intensive work you will find it works perfectly fine.
What makes Linux so popular?
There are many reasons. The first is flexibility. You can make Linux dance on its toes - if you know how. The presence of source code allowed you to make changes and compile it in any way to suit you best.
This is a very popular word you will hear in any company, which has its own servers. It means the amount of time an operating system can keep a computer running without requiring any maintenance or rebooting. In Linux this is measured in days (compared to Win-NT which is in hours)
You may not believe it but Linux looks as good as or as I say better than windows. Looks do matter after all.
Linux moves very fast.
As compared to windows the speed of operation is more. Security is also greater in Linux (Get back to this in the near future)
The main hitch in Linux is installing it. The portioning required is pretty difficult not to mention dangerous as a single mistake can result in a loss of data (believe me I have done it). But it also gives you a lot of pleasure to do something with it (so that you can tell all your friends).
So if you are with me, next time we will find out more about this OS and learn how to install it.