This page is an overview of Linux, the most widely used free operating system.
Please check the other articles I have written in the Linux section of my web site.
The Linux Operating System - A Brief Description
Linux is an outstanding Operating System that is getting very popular. It is a UNIX like system that is distributed with the source code for free! If you are in the Information Technology field (or like hacking in general) don't miss this one, since it is getting hotter and hotter every day!
Linux has caused a significant move towards a new mind-set called Open Source Software. To read more about the Open Source philosophy, check their web site.
If you are skeptical about using Linux to run your computing side of your business, take a look at the very well balanced Manager's Guide to Linux by Ganesh C. Prasad. It will tell you what Linux can (and can't) do, and is very well worth your time. If you do not address this issue now, you will have to deal with it in the future, so it is better to be prepared.
Linux has been gaining a lot of ground lately. You can see for yourself the world's smallest web server (running Linux of course!) at Stanford University. Its size is comparable to a matchbox! On the other end of the scale, here is a story about a 3,000,000$ IBM RS/6000 SP/2 32-node parallel system has been replaced by a 130,000$ Dell 32-node cluster (running Linux of course!) at an oil company in New York. To learn more on the Beowulf Project, the Linux clustering effort, visit their home page, listing 55 companies and universities using this technology. For an introduction, check this article on OpenSourceIT web site.
Although Linux is mainly used as a web/file/print server, it is also starting to be popular as a desktop system ever since the K Desktop Environment (KDE) started to mature.
There are various news sites dealing with Linux, Open Source and general technology news. For example, Linux Weekly News is a web-zine that publishes weekly news items relating to Linux. SlashDot.Org is a very nice site providing up to the our news on the technology front, from the Nerd point of view.
Where / How to Get Linux?
I often get this question, so I am going to put it on this site for reference.
There are several ways to get Linux. The best way depends on where you are in the world, the local market, and several other factors.
- Via the Internet
If you have a super fast internet connection, you can download Linux from several sites around the internet. If you are a dialup user, then this option is not very practical.
- CD and Book Combination
Your local computer book store will have books on Linux. At least one of these will have a CD with Linux bundled on it. If you are going for the Red Hat distribution (the most popular one) then make sure that it is version 5.2 or 6.0 (at least). If you are new to UNIX/Linux, then make sure that the book has enough introductory information for you to get by.
- CD via the Internet
If you don't need a book (e.g. you are an experienced UNIX user), then you can order CDs via the Internet. The best CDs to order are "bundles" which contain several distributions on one CD set (4 or 6 CDs). One popular bundle is InfoMagic Linux Developer Resource, and another one is LinuxMall's MegaCD Pack. The best places to buy either one of the above is LinuxMall or CheapBytes.
Where to get support?
You can get support from various places on the internet.
There are many newsgroups dedicated to Linux. You can check them at Google Groups. The most useful are:
- news:comp.os.linux.hardware - What hardware is supported and what is not.
- news:comp.os.linux.networking - Networking issues.
Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
Again, this is a very useful resource. Go to your favorite IRC network, and go to the room #Linux or #LinuxOS. There will be a lot of people who are willing to help with your problems.
Linux Resources on the Web
Well, these are too numerous for anyone to keep track of. Of course
- Red Hat Software - One of the most popular Linux distribution vendors. Recently they went public, in a very successful IPO (Initial Public Offer).
- Linux.com Portal Site, recently launched by VA Linux Systems, a Linux hardware manufacturer. VA Linux also went public recently in a record breaking IPO.
- Linux.org The classic portal site on Linux. Very useful.
- Linux Weekly News - This is a very comprehensive weekly e-zine about all the happenings and press coverage on Linux for the past week. Published every Thursday.
- LinuxWorld Web e-zine - Another magazine that has reviews of products, interviews with key figures in the Linux world, and more.
- FreshMeat.Net - Announcement of new software and new releases of software. It has a search engine by keyword.
- Top 10 Linux Sites on the Web - LinuxPlanet.com, an Interent.com site, reviews the top 10 sites on Linux. Worth a read.
Will it work in Arabic?
Mostly, yes. Check our page on Linux in the Arab world for more info.