Linux operating systems are a family of Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel which is an open source software. Its is really important to understand that Linux, is not in fact, an operating system, it’s a kernel (a program managing the OS), in which many Linux OSes are written. Like you must have heard the name Ubuntu. Ubuntu is an operating system, whereas Linux is the kernel it’s based on. And other operating systems like ubuntu make up the family of linux operating system.
Just like Windows is a family of operating systems, which includes Windows 10, 11, 8, XP whereas Windows NT is the kernel they are built with.
What do you mean by ‘open source’ ?
In the first para, ‘open source’ refers to the fact that Linux kernel can be installed, used, modified and distributed for free ! this means you can install linux kernel(in tar.xz format) in your windows or mac computer and make An operating system of your own ! (you can’t download windows NT or unix kernel).
Also almost all kinds of linux operating systems are free to download(in the form of iso file).
Now you must be wondering how can someone run a different os on the top of other os ? Well you can by first downloading an iso file of an os and then use it above something called a virtual machine. A virtual machine is a tool that creates virtualized hardware so that another Os can run on it.
Kernel vs operating system
By this time I am pretty sure you are confused between what a kernel and os is. Well i won’t spend much time in it since pictures speak more than words
Linux was created in 1991 by a Finnish Computer Science Student Linus Torvald as a personal project using C as the primary language. At that time Unix kernel(kernel in which MacOS is based on) was booming. It was widely getting adapted by many companies. Linux is very similar to Unix , but the difference here was than Linus made it open source, which Unix wasn’t. Since Linux was free, it was getting widely adapted all over the world. People had seen Bill Gates’ Windows, and macOS, which were kinda expensive.
But Linux changed the game as almost all the OSes were free. Ubuntu, emerged as the most famous kind of linux based operating systems. Although because it was open source and Linus had no rights over Linux based OSes, he created a community which basically which approves legitimate OSes. He also classified Linux OSes in many groups
Example of Linux Operating systems
Linux operating systems, are some times also called linux distributions or ‘distros’. Here are some of the famous distros-
- Kali – Its widely used for ethical hacking
Why Linux Operating systems stand out
Other than being open source there are other special features about Linux too. The most important thing is ‘flexibility’. You can do literally anything that is possible with its kernel. There are no restrictions. The other reason is that it’s more secure. Its OSes are rarely affected by malwares and viruses because of it’s design. Thats the reason its widely used by programmers and hackers for ethical hacking. Also there is always a variety you can choose from according to your flavor. If you’re a hacker ? Try Kali. If you want a simple interface, go with mint or ubuntu. There might be a chance that you are thinking Linux is not as famous as windows or mac.
Well in the context of personal computers, yes its not. but you’ll be surprised that most of supercomputer and devices are in fact using linux. Also many other OSes also have a little blood of it.