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Old 08-25-2012, 03:16 PM   #1
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Linux Mageia

Hey guys i know for most of you this might seem dumb but i just took a quick linux workshop it seems very interesting but i did not really understand what exacly linux is i learned a lot of commands but can someone explaine in a nutshell what linux is and and why or how i would use linux. Thanks ma
Old 08-25-2012, 03:57 PM   #2
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Linux is the kernel of an operating system which is open source software, and distributed by many individuals, groups, and organizations as operating system/software packages commonly called Linux. Linux, in short, is an operating sytem to run a computer, much like Windows or MacOS.
Old 08-26-2012, 01:41 AM   #3
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When someone says they're running Linux on there computer, what they mean is, they're running a Linux distribution. Mageia is one Linux distribution. What is a Linux distribution? I see it this way. A Linux distribution is like a person. A Linux distribution is composed of a Brain, which is the kernel. A body which is the Gnu applications. Lastly clothes; these are the packages.
Technically 'Linux' is just the kernel (the brain), strictly nothing else. Only once the other parts are added, is it regarded as a distribution.
The Linux kernel is Free software, as in freedom, not free beer. Free software with a capital 'f' means you have freedom to do what you want with it. Open source software is similar but will impose some restriction.
Gnu, (the body) was originally designed to be a Free version of Unix. They had all the parts except the kernel. The Linux kernel is also Free software (Not open source) and it was adopted and pared with the Gnu applications to get a complete operating system. This is why some people say they run Gnu/Linux instead of just Linux. It acknowledges Gnus work on the operating system.

Hopefully this will have cleared up what the following are.
A Linux distibution
Old 08-26-2012, 12:15 PM   #4
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Look at it like this. Imagine that if your Windows computer had been sold to you with Microsoft Office (professional), Quicken, Photoshop elements, Visio, Corel Draw, etc. Then it would be like a Linux distribution. Except for the price tag, of course!

The other thing is the dependencies. Programmers don't keep re-inventing the wheel: they use pre-existing libraries of useful tools. With Windows, every program has to be self-contained, with any dll files it needs. With Linux, they share them. Every program on the Linux Mint installation disk shares the same copy of the gtk graphics library. That's how they get them all on a CD. But it takes a lot of skill and care for the creators of a distro to make sure that each program has everything it needs and that they all co-exist happily.

Why use Linux? Economy and reliability, for a start. NASA, the London Stock Exchange, Google, Amazon: they use Linux, and they know what they're doing. Is it suited to the home user? If your chief interest is games and social networking, it may be a waste of time. If you have your own business or are a professional, it may be a life-saver. I can't compare them, as I've never had Windows. Search the web for "reasons for using Linux" and read on...
Old 08-26-2012, 02:56 PM   #5
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I second everything DavidMcCann wrote. The only thing that I would add is that using Linux requires a different mindset than using MS Windows or Mac OS. You have to be willing to commit to solving problems when they come up as they invariably do even with the "works out of the box" distributions. But it helps you to actually own your system because you have invested time in effort in building it.

On a related note, Linux is far more customizable than either Windows or Mac OS. With Windows, you pretty much have to do things the way Microsoft has decided you should do them and it will look pretty much the same on everyone's computer. But with Linux, there is virtually no limit in what you can do if you put in the time and effort. Plus, each Linux flavor has its own look and feel if you don't want to spend the time to customize it. And every desktop environment has its own look and feel.

My reasons for using Linux is that I like to make the OS into what I want it to be, and I will admit that having a large selection of quality free (both free of charge and free from corporate interests) is a HUGE bonus. I have installed software on my system that would no doubt cost several thousand dollars if I had the same under Windows.

Linux is about freedom and choice. But it also demands a commitment.


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