Of all the open source operating systems, LINUX heralded an era of freedom from licensed softwares and signalled the end of the road for monopoly softwares from the giant Microsoft. With the arrival of LINUX and its many versions, users got themselves liberated from the shackles of Windows operating systems and soon found that they could edit and tinker with LINUX to generate new versions of the famous OS. Linux has gained an unexpectedly large amount of interest in the home market over the past two years. This could be due to any number of reasons including, it’s both free and open source, almost all applications are free and open source, the stability is unsurpassed, the code is constantly revised, updated and added to by a numerous amount of programmers across the world. Linux is undisputable a giant in the OS world, with just the name Linux being a symbol of stability and security. With the interest in Linux growing, many new distributions have surfaced offering easy installation and configuration. Well-established distributions such as Redhat are also striving to meet the same goals.
Linux is an operating system and therefore is the basic set of programs and utilities that make the computer run. Some other common operating systems are Unix (and its variants BSD, AIX, Solaris, HPUX, and others); DOS; Microsoft Windows; Amiga; and Mac OS.Linux is Free Software. In a nutshell, software that is free in the sense that Linux is distributed along with its source code so that anyone who receives it is free to make changes and redistribute it. Users are free to make copies of Linux and give them to friends, it’s also fine to tweak a few lines of the source code.The only catch is that the user who modifies it has to necessarily make available the source code to all users. Linux is not owned by anyone. One misconception many first-time Linux.com readers have is that this site, Linux.com, is similar to Microsoft.com, which is owned and controlled by the company that produces the Windows operating system. No one company or individual “owns” Linux, which was developed, and is still being improved, by thousands of corporate-supported and volunteer programmers all over the world.
Users are generally provided with Linux distribution that contains not only the basic Linux operating system, but also programs that enhance it in many ways. Anyone who wants to put together his or her own Linux distribution is free to do so, and we know of more than 200 different Linux distributions that fill special “niche” purposes. But we advise new users to stick with one of the five or six most popular general-purpose Linux distributions until they know a little about what Linux can and can’t do. You can get Linux from a number of online software repositories, including the official Web sites for each distribution. It helps to have a fast connection and a CD burner so you can quickly download an .ISO image of the distribution and burn it onto a CD. You then can load the bootable installation programs that lead you, step by step, through the process of getting Linux on your computer.
The more popular distributions are available in many computer stores and directly from each distribution’s publisher. The convenience of a distribution on CDs, including manuals, generally makes your first installation so much easier that it is well worth the money.
Linux boasts of some of the best free online support for its operating system.Take advantage of some free, expert technical support: the Linux Users Group, or LUG. The heartbeat of Linux support, and of Linux itself, is the LUG. There are LUGs in almost every country in the world, where you can get Linux advice and help from people who live near you, speak your language, and are willing to donate their time so that new users can learn about Linux without going through any more head-scratching than necessary.Each LUG operates independently and has its own style and meeting schedule. Note that if there is no LUG close enough for you to conveniently attend meetings, most LUGs maintain email lists you can join and use to get answers to any Linux questions you have.
The best-known corporate GNU/Linux distribution is REDHAT. Mandrake Linux
was the first Linux distribution that worked hard to make Linux easy for ordinary desktop users. Freely downloadable version available; commercial versions have pre-integrated sofware packages and are easier for first-timers to set up than the download edition. There are other distributions like Fedora, Debia, Knoppix,Suse, Slackware, MEPIS, Gentoo and so on.