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Operating system

-is a freely distributed operating system that
behaves like the Unix operating system. Linux
was designed specifically for the PC platform
and takes advantage of its design to give
users comparable performance to high-end
UNIX workstations. Many big-name companies
have joined the Linux bandwagon such as IBM
and Compaq, offering systems pre-installed
with Linux. Also, many companies have
started Linux packages, such as Red Hat,
Corel, and Samba. However, they can only
charge for services and documentation
packaged with the Linux software. More and
more businesses are using Linux as an
efficient and more economical way to run their
Linux is a complete multitasking, multi-user
operating system that behaves like UNIX in
terms of kernel behavior and peripheral
support. Linux has all the features of UNIX and
boasts of its open source code and mainly free
The Linux kernel was originally developed for
the Intel 80386, which was developed with
multitasking as one of its features. The kernel is
the lowest-level core factor of the operating
system. The kernel is the code that controls the
interface between user programs and hardware
devices, the scheduling of processes to achieve
multitasking, and many other aspects of the
The Linux kernel is a monolithic kernel; all the
device drivers are part of the kernel proper.
Despite the fact that most of Intel's CPUs are
used with single-tasking MS-DOS, Linux makes
good use of the advanced multitasking features
built into the CPU's instruction set. Linux
supports demand paging, which means that only
the sections of a program that are necessary are
read into RAM. Linux also offers support for
copy-on-write, a process that if more than one
copy of a particular application is loaded, all
tasks can share the same memory. When large
memory requirements are needed and only small
amounts of physical RAM are available, Linux
has another feature called swap space
. Swap space allows pages of memory to
be written to a reserved area of a disk and
treated as an extension of physical
memory. By moving pages between the
swap space and RAM, Linux can, in effect,
act as if it had much more physical RAM
than it does, with the cost of some speed
due to the hard drive's slower access.
Linux also supports diverse file systems,
as well as those compatible with DOS and
OS/2. Linux's file system, ext2fs, is
intended for best possible use of the disk.

Linux is a freely distributable version of UNIX. UNIX
is one of the most popular operating systems for
networking worldwide because of its large support base
and distribution. Linus Torvalds, who was then a
student at the University of Helsinki in Finland,
developed Linux in 1991. It was released for free on the
Internet and generated the largest software-
development phenomena of all time. Because of GNU
software (GNU being an acronym for Gnu's Not UNIX)
created by the Free Software Foundation, Linux has
many utilities to offer. The Free Software Foundation
offers royalty-free software to programmers and
developers. From the very beginning, Linux has been
entwined with GNU software. From 1991, Linux quickly
developed on hackers' web pages as the alternative to
Windows and the more expensive UNIX systems.
When Red Hat released its commercial version
of Linux packaged with tech support and
documentation, the floodgates broke and the
majority of the public became aware of Linux
and its capabilities. Now more and more new
users are willing to try Linux on their personal
PCs and business users are willing to use Linux
to run their networks. Linux has become the
latest phenomenon to hit the PC software
market. Linux is a unique operating system in
that it is an active participant in the Open Source
Software movement. Linux is legally covered by
the GNU General Public License, also known as
Open Source software is free but is not in the
public domain. It is not shareware either. GPL
allows people to take free software and distribute
their own versions of the software. However, the
vendors who sell free software cannot restrict
the rights of users who purchase the software. In
other words, users who buy GPL software can
make copies of it and distribute it free of charge
or for a fee. Also, distributors of GPL software
must make it clear that the software is covered
by the GPL and must provide the complete
source code for the software at no cost. Linux
embodies the Open Source model. Open source
applies to software for which the source code is
freely available for anyone to download, alter,
and redistribute.
. Linux is the perfect operating system for
hackers because they can freely download
newer versions of the Linux kernel or other
Linux utilities of the Internet and instantly
change its source code to fix any software
bugs found. That way, bugs can be fixed in
a matter of hours as opposed to days and
weeks. Beta testers and code debuggers
are unorganized and spread throughout the
world, but surprisingly, they have managed
to quickly debug Linux software efficiently
and cooperate online through the use of the

RedHat Linux- Lately, RedHat has
been making the headlines with it's Linux
distribution. It is one of the most popular
distributions out there right now, and
supports the Intel, Alpha, and SPARC
platforms. Many users prefer RedHat
Linux because of its ease of use,
installation, and live tech support. RedHat
Linux primarily comes bundled with the X
Windows System, GNOME and KDE
desktop environments, as well as the
StarOffice suite.
Linux Mandrake- Yet another rather
popular distribution is Linux Mandrake.
Similar to RedHat, it also bundles the X
Windows System, GNOME, KDE, and
StarOffice. What really distances
Mandrake from RedHat Linux is its
improved ease of use plus a few added
extra tools and utilities.
Corel Linux- Although less
popular than something like RedHat,
Corel Linux continues to shine with
its usability and ease of installation
through its Install Express. It comes
with only the KDE environment, but
also includes WordPerfect for Linux
instead of Sun's StarOffice.
Debian/GNU- Debian/GNU is
intended for the more advanced Linux
users out there. Although it is more
difficult to use than other
distributions, Debian/GNU is
frequently chosen for web server
purposes. Its stability and web
adminstration tools are the reason
many webmasters rely on Debian/GNU
for their server environment.
Slackware- As one of the first
distributions of Linux created,
Slackware continues to be fairly
popular. It also includes the usual
X Window System, GNOME, and
KDE. Slackware boasts excellent
stability, at the expense of less
updated code and more
intermediate to advanced user
SuSE Linux- If you're looking full feature
bundles with your Linux distribution, try
SuSE Linux. Originally created by German
programmers, this distribution has become
quite popular in Europe and is gaining much
recognition in the United States. Of course it
includes the standard X Windows System,
KDE and GNOME environments, but it
distances itself from the other offerings by
including a huge amount of bundled
software. This distribution is also
recommended for newer users.
Caldera Open Linux- Primarily
designed for the business and
power user, Caldera Linux
focuses on internet applications.
It includes a full collection of
internet connectivity and access
tools, and helps anyone take full
of advantage of the internet
through Linux.
Keep in mind that all of these distributions are
very similar to each other, and their software
bundles tend to be too. One major
consideration that you should make when
choosing a distribution is what you plan on
using it for, and if you need particular software
applications with it. Your best bet is to go and
get an actual CD with the distribution, since it
makes it much easier to install and run. You
can always try to download it for free, but
you'll probably end up finding it to be rather
time consuming and difficult.
For example, the best distributions for the new
user would be RedHat, Mandrake, Corel, and
SuSE. A power or internet-oriented user would
probably choose something like Caldera,
Slackware, or Debian/GNU.
You've got a new computer.
You've also got all that new,
shiny, top of the line hardware in
there. Will Linux run on it the
way you want it to?
Hard Drive Partioning
This is the biggest problem that
many new Linux users may have when
they begin installation. Linux requires
its own, individual partition, which is
difficult to make on various systems.
The most common problem is trying to
make two partions out of one Windows
partition. Unfortunately, there is no
easy way to do this but to clear
everything off your hard drive and
starting from scratch by budgeting a
space for Windows and Linux.
The ideal and easiest way to get Linux on a new
partition, and effectively, on your comptuer, is to
have a hard drive with two partitions. One of
these partitions is a Windows/DOS partition,
while the other one must be unused and can be
any format. You can just simply change the
unused partition to become a Linux partition,
and load Linux right onto it.
If you're stuck with one large partition on your
only hard drive, you must reformat and make
two partitions. Doing this will result in losing all
your data... so make sure you backup everything
before you begin. Even if you have extra space
on your big Windows partition, you're still out of
luck- you must re-partition your hard drive.
There are some third-party software
programs that will let you resize or
compress your current partition to free
up space for another one. You are
probably going to want to backup
everything anyways, because you may
end up with a hard drive with nothing on
it if something goes wrong.
You should probably use fdisk in DOS to
help you make your two (or more)
Having the correct drivers is crucial
to making sure your distribution of Linux
runs correctly with your hardware. The
new version of the X Windows System,
XFree86 4.0 contains many new drivers
that will let you run some of the newest
hardware on the market. Of course, your
manufacturer always has the best set of
drivers for you hardware, so it's
normally a good idea to check with them
Although software for Linux is developing daily, the
support base for software in Linux is still quite small
compared to Windows. However, software for Linux
tends to be open-source and free much like the
operating system. And although some software may
not be as fancy as Windows software, Linux software
does the job, and it does it well. This guide will attempt
to go over some basic Unix commands that will help
you navigate around the Linux, and this guide will also
review some of the major software in Linux available
for you.
Software on Linux
Running software on Linux can be
fun and can be a hassle. There are a
ton of programs out for Linux, but the
trick is choosing the one right for you.
This is a brief overview of some of the
more common software.
LILO- If you have one or more other
operating systems installed with Linux,
LILO (Linux Loader) is a program that
allows you to select which one to load
at your computer's startup. Be warned,
LILO messes with your Master Boot
Record and if you mess with LILO, you
could mess up your computer. (Trust
me, it happened to me!) However, LILO
is generally stable and easy to use.
Distributions like Red Hat bundle LILO
with their installation.
Office Suites- Want something like
Microsoft Office, except for Linux?
There are two major office suites
available for Linux at this time. One is
Corel's WordPerfect Suite. The other is
a lesser known but equally as powerful
Sun Microsystems StarOffice. Both
allow users access to most of the
features Microsoft Office has to offer.
However, WordPerfect for Linux and
StarOffice are free to download off the
Internet. Corel Linux bundles its
WordPerfect with its version.
Text Editors- Emacs Editor is a very
popular text editor in the Linux world.
There are many benefits to Emacs and it
has become a standard for many
Linuxers. Emacs is usually loaded with
the distribution installation.
Emulators- Miss your favorite DOS or
Windows application? Not to worry. There
are plenty of emulators for Linux that allow
users to run DOS or Windows files directly
on the Linux system. Two popular DOS
emulators are Dosemu and xdos. For the
Windows emulation, the current project is
Wine. Wine is still being developed but its
promises are breathtaking. The ability to run
Windows applications on Linux is definitely
worthwhile and programs will run just as
faster, maybe even faster with the Linux
environment. Wine is the solution for many
Linux users who like Linux but still use
several important Windows applications
X Window System- This is the
program that allows graphical interface
on the Linux system. X Windows makes it
easy to configure your system. Most
distributions come with X Windows and
install it when they install the Linux
kernel. X is easy to use and makes Linux
a whole lot friendlier.
Gaming- The gaming industry is just
gaining speed on Linux. Companies
like id are beginning to tailor to Linux
gamers. Games like Quake 3 are
beginning to have Linux versions in
addition to Windows and Macintosh
versions. However, many best-selling
games like Starcraft have to be
emulated on the Linux box using Wine.

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