What is Linux and its Uses
Linux is, in simplest terms, an operating system. It is the software on a computer that enables applications and the computer operator to access the devices on the computer to perform desired functions. The operating system (OS) relays instructions from an application to, for instance, the computer’s processor.
The processor performs the instructed task, then sends the results back to the application via the operating system. Explained in these terms, Linux is very similar to other operating systems, such as Windows and OS X.
But something sets Linux apart from these operating systems. The Linux operating system represented a $25 billion ecosystem in 2008. Since its inception in 1991, Linux has grown to become a force in computing, powering everything from the New York Stock Exchange to mobile phones to supercomputers to consumer devices.
As an open operating system, Linux is developed collaboratively, meaning no one company is solely responsible for its development or ongoing support. Companies participating in the Linux economy share research and development costs with their partners and competitors.
This spreading of development burden amongst individuals and companies has resulted in a large and efficient ecosystem and unheralded software innovation. Over 1,000 developers, from at least 100 different companies, contribute to every kernel release. In the past two years alone, over 3,200 developers from 200 companies have contributed to the kernel which is just one small piece of a Linux distribution.
Today, Linux systems are used in every domain, from embedded systems to supercomputers and have secured a place in server installations often using the popular LAMP application stack. Use of Linux distributions in home and enterprise desktops has been growing.
Uses of Linux :
- A modern, very stable, multi-user, multitasking environment on your inexpensive PC hardware, at no monetary cost for the software. Linux is rich and powerful platforms in all the operating systems. Out-of-box Linux has as much capability as MS Windows NT with $5000 in software add-ons, is more stable, and requires less powerful hardware for comparable tasks.
- Standard platform. Linux is VERY standard it is essentially a POSIX compliant UNIX. Linux includes all the UNIX standard tools and utilities.
- Low cost : You don’t need to spend time and money to obtain licenses since Linux and much of its software come with the GNU General Public License. You can start to work immediately without worrying that your software may stop working anytime because the free trial version expires. Additionally, there are large repositories from which you can freely download high quality software for almost any task you can think of.
- Stability: Linux doesn’t need to be rebooted periodically to maintain performance levels. It doesn’t freeze up or slow down over time due to memory leaks and such. Continuous up-times of hundreds of days (up to a year or more) are not uncommon.
- Performance: Linux provides persistent high performance on workstations and on networks. It can handle unusually large numbers of users simultaneously, and can make old computers sufficiently responsive to be useful again.
- Network friendliness: Linux was developed by a group of programmers over the Internet and has therefore strong support for network functionality; client and server systems can be easily set up on any computer running Linux. It can perform tasks such as network backups faster and more reliably than alternative systems.
- Flexibility: Linux can be used for high performance server applications, desktop applications, and embedded systems. You can save disk space by only installing the components needed for a particular use. You can restrict the use of specific computers by installing for example only selected office applications instead of the whole suite.
- Compatibility: It runs all common Unix software packages and can process all common file formats.
- Choice: The large number of Linux distributions gives you a choice. Each distribution is developed and supported by a different organization. You can pick the one you like best; the core functionalities are the same; most software runs on most distributions.