What is Linux?
Linux is a UNIX© clone OS
based on Minix,
created in 1991 by Linus
Torvalds (University of Helsinki). Torvalds controls all changes and releases of
For close to three decades, Linux has been one of the
most commonly used and most reliable operating systems for servers in the market, no matter what paid
third-party reports that are plaguing the internet
Most Linux distributions include a collection of
programs that run on the Linux kernel like X,
KDE, GNOME and LibreOffice. Under the Linux name, you can get RHEL (paid subscription, enterprise licensing), Fedora, Ubuntu, Mandriva,
Debian, Slackware, SUSE
(paid subscription, enterprise licensing), Turbolinux, Yellow
Dog and many others. You can buy the disks
for any Linux distribution from the developers or third-party vendors or you can
also download most versions of Linux from many sites
legally, thanks to various open source
you can buy them on CD-ROM with the proper
documentation as means to support the project.
Before trying to install Linux, get a full inventory
of what your computer has. You might have to help the installer recognize the hardware.
Also make sure that your hardware
manufacturer supports the Linux distribution of your choice.
There are many ways to install Linux (from a CD-ROM, FTP, HTTP, NFS, a DOS partition, etc). If you are a beginner or
lazy (as I am), do the installation from a CD-ROM. Just put the disk
in the CD-ROM drive,
wait and boot. Do
NOT forget that the installation will format the partition where you install the OS. If you want to test Linux without doing any
changes or formating your HDD, get a copy of any live disk,
which has become common practice nowadays.
A simple way to install Linux is to create two main
partitions, a /swap
and a system native. As a rule of thumb, make the /swap
memory, written to disk)
twice the RAM that your PC has. For example if the PC has 256 MB of RAM, assign 512 MB for /swap. Allocate the
remainder of the HDD
for the /root partition and make sure it is primary and bootable. You can also
create a partition for user accounts (/home) and another for user installations (/usr). Neither of the
latter two partitions are destroyed when upgrading the OS. To create the partitions, refer to the manual included
with the system
that you are installing. A good technical reference is the
downloadable Slackware Book even if Slackware is not your Linux distribution of choice.
Then again, if you want to install Linux easily and painlessly
with mere questions to configure the system, you can try Ubuntu based on Debian. I have been running a flavor of Ubuntu for a couple of years already without any
complaints, other than installing the codecs to play DVDs manually.