Is Linux an operating system?

When it comes to Linux operating system, people often confuse it with programs and generally ask question “Is Linux an operating system?” People have come to know about operating system very late. They identify with it because of Microsoft office package, which enables them to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, and manage e-mails. New versions of the windows are being introduced after every few years and accordingly new software that utilize new features that latest operating system provides. Some of the previously used software became obsolete, especially when their latest versions or updates were not available. Those who developed habit of using third-party software came to realize that on switching to some new software, they need to specify the operating system that is installed on their system. The type of operating system is crucial in determining the software mirror/file that can be downloaded. People who have been using other operating systems ask, “Is Linux an operating system?”

Once people realized about operating system, they became conscious about the cost involved during the dire need to change or upgrade to the new operating system. In addition to it, many harmful viruses, like Trojans to which Windows is highly susceptible made it difficult for them to remain loyal to their favorite operating system.

Linux is an operating system developed by Linus Benedict Torvalds and was released for public in 1992. Being a command-line interface, it did not become very popular among users. With the later development of GUI (Graphical User Interfaces), it is slowly recognized as potential operating system with negligible virus threat to its kernel.

Linux is compatible to run on a number of platforms such as desktop computer, mobiles phones, tablets, televisions, mainframes and supercomputers. Being open source software, which means that its programming source code is made available to the developers to be used, modified and redistributed, it has been evolved over time and includes many applications that make it desirable. It is licensed under General Public License (GNU). GNU License signifies that when you redistribute the software to others, you are required to pass the same freedom that you received. They get the source code and can make any modifications and redistribution as per their needs.

The question that general public asks, ‘Is Linux an operating system?’ arises when they come across many popular distributions such as Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu, Kbuntu and openSUSE.

All these above versions are the result of modification and development of original source code by different programming groups. These programming groups being discrete and want to have copyright on the new modifications that they have worked upon and thus they have given their source code/operating system a different name such as Kbuntu. Now, users have the answer for the question “Is Linux an operating system?” Yes, It is!!!

Linux is relatively a simpler operating system whose distributions include the Linux kernel, utilities/commands, libraries and application software. The utilities include Aspell that is a spell checker, bzip2 to compress and decompress files, ifup to configure a network interface and neat to set up a network card.

Many external applications such as Mozilla Firefox for web browsing, GIMP image editor for editing images, and OpenOffice to create open office documents are used with this operating system. To configure different applications to run smoothly on the browsers, many free servers such as Apache HTTP Server and OpenSSH servers are supported to run in the background. These servers use command-line interfaces, which are compatible with the operating system for configuration and maintenance.

The Linux operating system is nowadays, come pre-installed in many desktop PCs, some Dell computers, System76 computers, and some Lenovo ThinkPads. Many graphical user interfaces such as GNOME and KDE are consistent with operating system components such as drivers and can be installed with the use of installation wizard. With this, developers could answers people’s question “Is Linux an operating system?

The low cost of improved Linux versions and almost no cost associated with free open source software is an important point to consider when opting for operating system. Some governments have directed their educational and social welfare institutions to completely support the use of Linux operating system because of cut in the cost of installation, especially on multiple workstations. Linux is also virus proof, which makes it less susceptible to crash. There are fewer problems related to maintenance due to lesser need to reinstall the operating system, data backup and program installation usually associated with system breakup. The Linux provides excellent commands to monitor however, data backup and other services for proper intended use of operating systems. If someone asks you next time “Is Linux an operating system?” you can definitely say ‘Yes’ to it.

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