Linux: This is behind the open source operating systems

Linux: This is behind the open source operating systems

Although Linux operating systems are by no means unknown, there are comparatively few computer users who have Linux installed on their home computers. The situation in the server environment is completely different: Here the UNIX-like systems are more than a popular alternative to Microsoft Windows, even if the two are difficult to compare with one another.

What exactly is Linux?

The Finn Linus Torvalds published an operating system kernel under the name Linux in 1991 – a composition of his first name Linus and the underlying model UNIX. Since then, this elementary interface between software and hardware has been used as the basis for a large number of operating systems, which are also often referred to as Linux. In addition to the freely licensed Linux kernel (since 1992), the Linux operating systems are largely based on the freely available GNU software. The kernel and software packages also become distributions called and still enjoy great popularity among developers. This is mainly due to the fact that, on the one hand, they are distributed quickly and, on the other hand, they can be adapted to one’s own needs as desired. In addition to the Linux kernel and free software programs, the distributors can also add proprietary applications such as B. Adobe Reader as well as specially created programs (proprietary or free).

Over the years, countless distributions including their derivatives (derivatives) have been released in this way. The best-known Linux operating systems include Debian, its derivative Ubuntu, Mint, Gentoo, Fedora, Red Hat (Enterprise), openSUSE, and, for example, the Android smartphone system.

What are the advantages of Linux operating systems?

The biggest advantages of Linux distributions relate to the points of cost, flexibility, and security. Most distributions are available free of charge on CD/DVD or as files for download. If you have a Linux system installed on your hard drive, you can use it on any other computer with a comparable architecture without having to reinstall the system and applications. Thanks to the modular design, you can also decide for yourself which components you need – depending on the computing power of your system. Depending on your own taste, you can also choose between different user interfaces such as Gnome or UnitySelect. If you do not opt ​​for commercial distribution, you will also benefit from the constant free further development of your platform by other users or simply change it yourself according to your own wishes – completely independent of the manufacturer.

When it comes to security, Linux distributions score particularly well with free encryption options and options for restricting user rights, which can be used, for example, to prevent the accidental start and distribution of harmful applications in the company network. However, the widespread myth that there are no security gaps or malware for Linux systems is by no means true. Because while Linux is an unattractive target for hackers at home due to its rather low use, it is estimated that at least half of all servers are based on Linux operating systems, which puts them in the focus of criminals just as much as a comparable Windows server setup.

linux distribution

For whom is the use of a Linux distribution suitable?

As a private user, it is particularly worthwhile to use Linux as the operating system for your own PC if you are looking for a free and manufacturer-independent solution. While you usually have to buy new Windows systems, the Linux distributions are further developed and supplemented by users – e.g. B. also through security updates. If this is no longer the case with a system, you can always easily switch to another variant. However, it is true that many private users find it difficult to get started with Linux. Even tried-and-tested Windows users who are planning to switch must reckon with a certain amount of adjustment time and be open to changes due to the unfamiliar environment and the exchange of many well-known applications.

The use of Linux as a server operating system is just as worthwhile and much more established. In addition to the advantages mentioned – flexibility, security, independence from the manufacturer – the low hardware requirements, the much simpler licensing compared to Microsoft, and the excellent cloud support speak in particular for the Linux operating systems. However, you should also consider client usage when making your decision: While Linux is an excellent solution for web-based applications such as e-commerce or CRM systems, Windows is ahead of the game when it comes to client-based services such as Office programs. The fact that Linux distributions are always the most cost-effective solution, even as a server system, is not necessarily true: While the software is usually free of charge, the support often costs even more.

Command Server Administration: Linux and the Shell

Once you have decided on a Linux distribution, you are faced with the task of setting up and controlling the system. In order for you as a user to be able to communicate with the computer, you are dependent on the services of the shell. This interface forwards your commands to the system kernel. There are basically two types of shells: With the help of graphical interfaces, you can operate your system conveniently with the mouse and using symbols, control elements, or widgets. Command lines, on the other hand, are controlled by entering commands with the keyboard; the corresponding user interface is usually called a “shell”. In Linux systems, however, one also speaks of the “terminal”.

Administering servers from the command line is more complex, but it is also very efficient because you can make all system changes centrally. To give you a little insight into the possibilities of the Linux terminal, we have compiled a short list of important Linux commands for server administration here:

ls Show contents of a directory
CD change directory
chmod Adjust access rights of a directory or a file
chown Change group and owner of a file or directory
mkdir Creating a directory or folder
rmdir Deleting a directory or folder
ps View status of a process
kill end of a process
reboot Reboot the system
shut down shut down the system
sudo Run command as administrator
useradd Create user
groupadd Create a group of users
ifconfig Network interface configuration and status
curl Transfer files to or from another server
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