30 Juli 2009

the linux operating system

Linux- sometimes referred to by the press as 'Windows NT's worst enemy'.
Wired Magazine once called it 'The greatest story never told'. This is a
perfect definition because the story behind Linux is indeed a great one, yet
it is unknown to so many people. Let's start at the beginning.


Back when 'Stayin' Alive' was still topping the charts, and Microsoft was
a spec in the world of computers, AT&T produced a multi-user operating
system and labeled it 'UNIX'. Throughout the years, UNIX caught on and
many different versions of it began to come out. A popular one, called
'Minix' (mini-UNIX) was available for use at The University of Helsinki in
Finland. A student at the University named Linus Torvalds believed he
could create an operating system superior to Minix. In 1991 he started
his new operating system as a side project, but it soon developed into a
full-time hobby until 1994 when the first official version of the
operating system was released.

You're probably now saying 'so what's the big deal about Linux? Isn't it
just another operating system?' Absolutely not! First of all, Linux is
released under something called 'open source license'. Open source is really
more of an idea than a thing. Linux is released with all the source code and
files that it was made with. This means a few things. Anyone who is good
at programming can mess with the Linux code and release his own version of
it. This also means that even though if you buy Linux in a store it will
cost money, you're not paying for the actual Linux itself. Your money goes to
the price of packaging, the extra software that comes with the operating
system, and technical support. The second, and most important reason that
Linux is a big deal is because it's a much more stable operating system than
Windows. It runs on any system; even bottom of the line 386's from before
Linux even came out. Programs running under Linux almost never crash, and in
the off chance that one does because of bad programming by the program author,
it will not take the operating system down with it. Another important reason
Linux is good is that it is secure. It is much harder to bring down by a
hacker than Windows is (for further reading, read the 'Basic Unix Security
Guide' by R a v e N at blacksun.box.sk). This is just an extremely short list
of the reasons why Linux is so great. For further reading check out
www.linux.org

This tutorial is for Windows users who want to migrate to Linux. This is
written for Redhat or Mandrake Linux (the two most easy-to-install and
user-friendly Linux distributions), but the information here will most probably
help you with whatever distribution you are using. The only problem with this
is that Mandrake and RedHat are relativley simple to install, and some other
distrobutions are much more complex. I highly suggest you buy Linux-Mandrake
rather than RedHat. Mainly because it is cheaper and comes with more
software, but as you read through this tutorial, you'll see more reasons why I
recommend Mandrake.

The first thing you're going to have to do with your new operating system is
install it- but you can't do that so quickly.

2.0 - Preparation

If you already have Microsoft Windows on your system and you want it to
co-exist with Linux, you are going to have to create another hard drive
partition. What a hard drive partition is a totally separate part of a
hard drive. If two hard drive partitions weren't physically part of the
same disc, they would be two different hard drives. Anyway, the reason
for this is that Windows and Linux are totally different in the way they
access hard drives and handle files. If they are using each other's hard
drive space the two operating systems can conflict and cause major problems
for your computer. Well, as I was saying, you need to create a hard drive
partition reserved for Linux. There are MS-DOS programs that do this, but
they are "lethal" partition making programs. By this I mean that while making
a new partition, they can destroy or at least corrupt files on another
partition. If you want to make a partition for Linux, without killing your
Windows files you need a "non-lethal" partition program. If you get
Linux-Mandrake, a "non-lethal" partition program is included with it (this is
just one of the reasons why I recommend Mandrake over RedHat).

Well with all this talk of partitions and hard drives, you must be wondering
roughly how much hard drive space you'll need for Linux. If you want the
complete system with everything, you'll need about 1.5 gigabyte+ hard drive
space. However it is possible to productively run a full Linux distribution
(there are "miniature" Linux distributions that range from around 2 to 35
megabytes, and there's also Trinux, which runs from two 1.44MB floppy disks!
Get it from www.trinux.org) to with as little as 150 megabytes. Trust me, you
don't want EVERYTHING. Linux comes with tons of software you'll probably won't
need. For example: Linux comes with a variety of network servers - a web
server, a Sendmail server, a telnet server, an FTP server etc'. If you choose
not to install something and then regret, you can still get it later off the
original installation CD.

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