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What is Linux?


Sometimes I mention Linux and people ask me "What is Linux?", and I explain what Linux is without getting technical about it. I usually start by saying "You know how you have Microsoft on a computer, well, Linux is something you can get that replaces microsoft". And then I go on to mention that having Linux instead of Microsoft has various advantages, for example that it's more powerful, better designed, crashes less often, and it's cheaper.

When I say Linux replaces Microsoft on your computer, although that's true, it's not the whole story, as it's generally possible to have both Linux and Microsoft on the same computer. That's known as having a "dual boot system" and it's also a good excuse to justify adding yet another hard disc drive to your computer.

Although Microsoft Windows has been very common at one time, it is disliked by many people for various reasons, and they are looking for a better alternative. For some people, the choice of Linux in preference to Microsoft is an ethical one. Linux does not persecute you if you make a copy of the operating system and give it away to your friends.

In business, making money is important, and it's best if the computers you have running in your business are reliable, efficient, and aren't costing money unnecessarily. As Microsoft charges a "per seat" licence, whereas Linux is approximately free, and as Linux has a much more efficient technical overhead, for a business, upgrading to Linux makes good business sense! See Linux for Business

I don't care if Bill Gates makes a huge amount of money, and I hope that when Microsoft goes broke he manages to keep some of the money for himself. There is no harm in Bill Gates the boss of Microsoft making a lot of money. What matters to me is that I can have a decent operating system on my computer. I want to be able to write computer programs and to be in control of my own computer. Microsoft appears to be construed artificially to be against that, so I much prefer to have LINUX, where there is at least freedom to create your own stuff and be in charge of what goes on on your own machine!

Linux is an operating system. That is, it is an internal management system within the computer which gives the computer enough intelligence to obey your commands. Since the age when computers were big machines with spinning wheels of magnetic tape drives, and boffins in white coats went around making sure the punch tape and drum drives were in order, technology has moved on, and now the power of supercomputers costing millions is available in the box on your desktop. The average PC is more powerful than full-scale university research machines of so-many decades ago, so it seems reasonable that you should be able to use it to that effect. Linux is evolved from that era and gives you that power.

When specifying a new computer, I always insist it is Linux Compatible.

If you are interested, I have some useful contacts here. A few places that have some Linux items available are on the page of Places that Sell Computers. Also, there are more Linux References here, and also a section on Linux for Business