GNU / Linux, everything you need to know about this operating system

Andy Vilchez
6 min read
GNU / Linux, everything you need to know about this operating system
What is Linux?

GNU / Linux, is an open source operating system similar to Unix. It was released in 1992, primarily driven by Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds as a free alternative to the operating systems of the time.

It is made up of two parts, GNU, which is the operating system itself, and Linux, the kernel; together they form a robust and powerful ecosystem called the distribution. These are maintained by groups of developers who put the pieces together and offer users fully functional versions of the system.

Despite being an unpopular system among desktop users, GNU / Linux is widely used on servers and supercomputers for its security and functionality.

What is GNU?

GNU / Linux, everything you need to know about this operating system

GNU is an operating system developed by Richard Stallman and a group of volunteers in the early eighties, when he set out to create a free and functional system that did not depend on a corporation.

It was designed from scratch with the premise of being completely free software, it is distributed under a GPL license and has a very large community behind it.

Basically this system can be considered a Frankenstein, because it is composed of many pieces developed by different programmers and that when joined together they create an operating system.

Stallman and his volunteers had been developing GNU for 10 years, but they were missing one piece to bring their system to life, the kernel.

What is Linux?

GNU / Linux, everything you need to know about this operating system

When it comes to Linux, the operating system is probably the first thing that comes to mind, but really Linux is a kernel or a kernel.

When Linus Torvalds started this project almost 30 years ago, he never imagined the impact it would have on the world.

The kernel is the link between hardware and software, basically it allows the different programs that make up an operating system to communicate and have access to the installed hardware.

Linux is the most popular kernel in the world, it is used in practically everything. Most likely, you have been using Linux without knowing it. For example, if you have an Android device, you are using Linux.

What is a distribution?

GNU / Linux, everything you need to know about this operating system
Linux distribution

A distribution or distro is a set of software that a group of programmers compiles and unite, using the Linux kernel and the GNU system to make a functional system. It includes mostly free software, although it can also include some proprietary software.

There are many distributions, which are maintained and developed by the community. Others have been created by companies that offer them for free to users and companies, with support being their source of income.

Among the best known distros are Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian, and Fedora. If you are interested in trying GNU / Linux one of these is the best option for beginners, they are clean-looking and intuitive distros.

Why is GNU / Linux not popular?

Despite being a complete and free operating system, it is not at all popular with desktop users, in fact, only about 2% of the world's computers use GNU / Linux.

This is mainly due to the good work done with Microsoft in marketing their product, but there are other reasons:

The Windows Monopoly

Since its inception, Microsoft developed agreements with hardware manufacturers to install their operating system on the new computers they manufactured. This caused its used to grow exponentially over the years.

Linux is difficult to use

If we compare Windows or macOS with GNU / Linux, then, yes, it is more difficult to use.

Most desktop users are looking for a system that they can use in any situation and can solve problems with a couple of clicks.

Although Linux has changed a lot and made it easier to use, it is not yet at the level of Windows, and if something works fine, why change it?

The terminal is the antichrist

On Windows, you can do everything with just a few clicks, on Linux, at some point you will have to forcibly use the terminal.

Most new users will see this with horror, but it doesn't have to be that way, the use of the terminal is not that complicated and there is a lot of documentation on the net.

Your appearance is not pretty

Although this statement would have been correct a few years ago, the truth is that today using GNU / Linux is not complicated at all.

Current distributions have improved a lot, those times when the Linux interface was simple and impractical are long gone. There are even distributions that simulate the Windows interface.

The programs you use are not available in GNU / Linux

While this statement is true, it represents a half-truth. Although you cannot find the typical Windows programs in Linux, you will find alternatives that will do the job just as well or better.

But if you insist, a Windows application emulator is available, although you will not get the same performance, you can use the programs you need.

Why complicate your life using GNU / Linux?

GNU / Linux, everything you need to know about this operating system

Windows and macOS are proprietary systems, which work fine, but they won't offer you the freedom that Linux will give you. In addition, GNU / Linux is currently a fully functional system that meets perfectly for everyday use. Why not try something new?

Linux is an operating system that is definitely worth using. Although it may be somewhat uncomfortable at first, you will most likely end up becoming fond of it with a little use.

Personally, the first time I used Linux I felt a little lost, I did not know what to do.

Even, I was tempting to install Windows again in half an hour.

However, the key is to give it a try, after a few days of use, you realize that it is much easier than you thought.

So, if you decide to try Linux, you should not give up before knowing all its functionalities. At first, it can be intimidating, however, it is really simple.