It is a family of open-source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991, by Linus Torvalds. Linux is typically packaged in a Linux distribution.
Distributions include the Linux kernel and supporting system software and libraries, many of which are provided by the GNU Project. Many Linux distributions use the word “Linux” in their name, but the Free Software Foundation uses the name GNU/Linux to emphasize the importance of GNU software, causing some controversy.
Popular Linux distributions include Debian, Fedora, and Ubuntu. Commercial distributions include Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Desktop Linux distributions include a windowing system such as X11 or Wayland and a desktop environment such as GNOME or KDE Plasma. Distributions intended for servers may omit graphics altogether or include a solution stack such as LAMP. Because Linux is freely redistributable, anyone may create a distribution for any purpose.
Linux was originally developed for personal computers based on the Intel x86 architecture but has since been ported to more platforms than any other operating system. Linux is the leading operating system on servers (over 96.4% of the top 1 million web servers’ operating systems are Linux), and other big iron systems such as mainframe computers, and the only OS used on TOP500 supercomputers (since November 2017, having gradually eliminated all competitors). It is used by around 2.3 percent of desktop computers. The Chromebook, which runs the Linux kernel-based Chrome OS, dominates the US K–12 education market and represents nearly 20 percent of sub-$300 notebook sales in the US.
Linux also runs on embedded systems, i.e. devices whose operating system is typically built into the firmware and is highly tailored to the system. This includes routers, automation controls, smart home technology (like Google Nest), televisions (Samsung and LG Smart TVs use Tizen and WebOS, respectively), automobiles (for example, Tesla, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, and Toyota all rely on Linux), digital video recorders, video game consoles, and smartwatches. Many smartphones and tablet computers run Android and other Linux derivatives. Because of the dominance of Android on smartphones, Linux has the largest installed base of all general-purpose operating systems.
Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free and open-source software collaboration. The source code may be used, modified, and distributed—commercially or non-commercially—by anyone under the terms of its respective licenses, such as the GNU General Public License.
One of the main advantages of Linux is that it is an open-source operating system i.e. its source code is easily available for everyone. Anyone capable of coding can contribute, modify, enhance, and distribute the code to anyone and for any purpose.
Linux is more secure in comparison to other operating systems such as Windows. Linux is not completely secure as there is some malware for it also but it is less vulnerable than others. Every program in Linux whether an application or a virus needs authorization from the administrator in the form of a password. Unless the password is typed virus won’t execute. There is no requirement of any anti-virus program in Linux.
Linux helps you to use or utilize your old and outdated computer systems as a firewall, router, backup server or file server and many more. There are many distributions available to use according to your system capability. As you can use Puppy Linux for low- end systems.
In Linux, you encounter a larger number of software updates. These software updates are much faster than updates in any other operating system. Updates in Linux can be done easily without facing any major issue or concern.
A feature that gives a major advantage over other operating systems is customization. You can customize any feature, add or delete any feature according to your need as it is an open-source operating system. Not only this, but various wallpapers and attractive icon themes can also be installed to give an amazing look to your system.
There are many distributions available also called distros of Linux. It provides various choices or flavors to the users. You can select any bistros according to your needs. Some bistros of Linux are Fedora, Ubuntu, Arch Linux, Debian, Linux Mint, and many more. If you are a beginner you can use Ubuntu or Linux Mint. If you are a good programmer you may use Debian or Fedora.
Linux is freely available on the web to download and use. You do not need to buy the license for it as Linux and many of its software come with GNU General Public License. This proved to be one of the major advantages Linux faces over Windows and other operating systems. You need to spend a huge amount to buy the license of Windows which is not the case with Linux.
Forums by excited users are made on the web to help and solve the problem any other user is facing. There are a lot of dedicated programmers there to help you out whenever and wherever possible.
Linux provides high stability also this is a good advantage i.e. it does not need to be rebooted after a short period of time. Your Linux system rarely slows down or freezes. As in windows, you need to reboot your system after installing or uninstalling an application or updating your software but this is not the case with Linux. You can work without any disturbance on your Linux systems.
Linux ensures the privacy of user’s data as it never collects much data from the user while using its distributions or software but this is not true for many other operating systems.
Linux provides high performance on various networks and workstations. It allows a large number of users to work simultaneously and handles them efficiently.
Linux gives support for network functionality as it was written by programmers over the internet. Linux helps you to set up client and server systems on your computer systems easily and in a fast manner.
Linux provides a high range of flexibility as you can install only the required components. There is no need to install a full or complete suite. You can also keep Linux file under multiple partitions so if one of them corrupts then there is no major loss. You only need to repair that particular partition, not the complete file which is not the case with other operating systems.
Linux runs or executes all possible file formats and is compatible with a large number of file formats.
Linux can be easily installed from the web and does not require any prerequisites as it can run on any hardware, even on your oldest systems.
Linux performs all the tasks efficiently even after the hard disk is almost full. This increases the performance of the Linux hence Linux provides high performance also.
Linux is a multitasking operating system as it can perform many tasks simultaneously without any decrease in its speed such as downloading a large file would not slow down the system.
Linux provides various desktop environments to make it easy to use. While installing Linux you can choose any desktop environment according to your wishes such as KDE (K Desktop Environment) or GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment).