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What Even is the Linux Operating System?
Linux is actually not an operating system but rather an open-source kernel used in many applications for servers, internet of things, phones, desktop, and even the servers running the WHOLE internet. Linux is used in many places, mostly in servers. Most servers run some form of the Linux kernel with something connecting that to the person maintaining the server. Linux is great because it is customization for the most part. Oddly enough one main thing that stays unchanged is the file system organization, which has a specification. There are many operating systems running the Linux kernel. Some popular ones include Ubuntu, Debian, Manjaro, Arch, and well over 200 others. Each one of these 200+ operating systems have pros and cons and obviously there is no one in their right mind to do it. One day I might but I am busy for right now to test all of them.
What is a distro and how do I pick one?
A distro, also known as distribution, is basically the 200+ Linux based operating system. Picking one has a few questions to ask.
- More software
- Fixed release or rolling release (more explanation later)
- What environment do I want (more explanation later)
- How good is my hardware
- Do I want to stick with popular or go lesser known
Now to answer these we need definitions and examples. Starting with the more software. Easy to define, has more software that I don't have to compile from source. Compiling from source means you get the source code in a zip or tarball, extract it in a folder, and follow the instructions to compile the code. What we want is if we want more of that and where to get it. Now usually this comes at a risk. Ubuntu has more software but it is... freezing? dropping? removing? still supporting?... 32 bit software which means devs will have to work around a 64 bit system (which more MODERN computers use). Now many people will not care, but if you are a programmer this is highly bad as some code needs to run as the 32 bit architecture. Right now no one really knows what is going to happen but we hope good things come out of it. Now Ubuntu is based off of Debian, and Pop!_OS are based off of Ubuntu which means they can keep 32 bit so those two are still on the table. Now I cannot confirm this but I think NASA uses Debian, so that's cool. So go with something Debian based if you want software. The Debian family is also the biggest too which is cool. Also pay attention for Package Managers (PMs) because PMs are how you get software. Debian uses DPKG and APT. Arch uses PacMan, and others have... other ones.
What the Debian family tree does not have is Rolling release which if you are an average user, step away. This means Gentoo, Arch, Manjaro as all of them run into problems. Now if you like what the Linux market has to offer NOW then a rolling release will be fine, but be prepared for problems. Now a fixed release is nice, where you download it once and never have to reset everything to update it as you can stay on that updates for several years after LTS and not run into problems where Windows 7 is not quite yet dead but like you should upgrade to Windows 10 or anything Linux. FRC (fixed release cycles) are easy to use. I use Ubuntu on my main laptop, and every update I have to download a new ISO and redo the whole install but then again you can still use 16.04 (we are on 19.04) and still have no issues. Heck I see people doing just fine on 14.04 which is awesome.
Now one part many people just glance over is their DE (desktop environment) AKA how it all looks. A GUI system. MacOS was the first to implement GUI's and Xerox developed the tech. Just choose one that looks nice
so basically GNOME only and have fun! Nothing much to add here.
Hardware is important. Most if not all modern hardware can work with Linux. The only things that might not are graphics cards (GPU's). Just know your architectures (whether your system is 32 bit (usually older hardware) or 64 bit (newer hardware)) and get the version for that system architecture. A good one for old computers is Core Linux/Tiny Core Linux which is impressively small. Newer stuff can use Pop!_OS, Ubuntu, Arch, etc.
More or less popular depends on one thing. How much support. Your options are community, small, and none. The only few distros I can think of that have good support teams are Ubuntu, Pop!_OS, OpenSUSE and Debian. The rest have community support (like Arch, Gentoo, etc.), or small to none (which is 99% of all distros). How much can you do by yourself basically.
That is all the information I need to share, the rest you can google.
Basic commands in terminal
sudo <pm> install <package>
switch <pm> with your package manager and <package> with your package.
Nano is like text editing but in terminal. It is also better than Vim that is just
Whenever you compile from source this command will SAVE YOU. Common variants are make install, make regular, make check, etc depending on how the software was designed.
This is how to run shell scripts. This command is awesome.
The C compiler, keep it in mind
Like GCC but for C++.
rm -r directory/
Verbose, tells you what it does. Looks AWESOME and also could share useful information but it looks SOOO COOL like you are a true hacker.
Thats all I have to share for this confusing mess.