It is always good to have a basic knowledge about the thing you wish to learn. This post will serve as an introduction to the Linux & it’s related terms. If you have no idea about Linux you should read this post. Even if you have a fair bit of knowledge reading the post won’t hurt.

What is Linux?


Linux(pronounced as lih-nux) in proper sense refers to the kernel of the operating system. Kernel is the main file of any operating system(OS). Microsoft OS to use a kernel file but that’s not synonymous to what we are talking here. The Linux Kernel was designed by Linus Torvalds in 1991. The Kernel together with GNU packages form what is known as a Linux Distro. Undoubtedly Kernel is the heart of any Linux distribution & an OS cannot be built without the Kernel.

What is GNU?


GNU is a group of packages & programs which together with the Kernel form the various linux operating systems. GNU is a recursive acronym for GNU’S Not Unix. GNU’s development was started by Richard Stallman who is also known as the ‘Father of GNU’. GNU consists of GNU compilers collection(GCC), GNU bash shell, GNU binary utilities(binutils), GNU Core utilities(coreutils) & the GNU C library(glibc). The GNU General Public License was written to use for GNU. Since Kernel & GNU packages go hand in hand its easy to confuse the two being same but it should be remembered that Kernel is not a part of GNU.

What is Open Source?

As the name implies, Open Source refers to software which ships alongwith the original source code. The Open Source initiative is to provide good quality, flexible softwares at alower cost. Open Source is a non-profit initiative.  Open Source software are free to modify but on condition that you should provide the modified source code to all users. Users are often seen confusing free softwares with open source softwares but thats not correct. An Open Source software can be paid too. Since the source code of the softwares is distributed to public anyone who has programming skills can dig it & modify it to suit his needs. The very open nature of softwares ensures any bugs to be fixed soon as they are discovered. This makes Open Source less prone to viruses which is a definite plus. Open Source Softwares are not only available for windows but also for other operating systems like Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac etc. Mozilla Firefox browser is a brilliant example of Open Source Software. It is available for a variety of platforms & is already dominating the current browser market.

By now you must have got a fair idea of the Linux, GNU and the Open Source World. Keep tuned in as I go deep further in my upcoming posts.