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  • Retired professor's Straightforward Introduction to Linux for New Users.

    Microsoft, a global technology leader, recently stated that the number of desktop computers using its Windows 10 operating system was about to surpass the e billion mark. While the Linux operating system family is the most widely used in the world, it only powers. That can't be, right?

    Linux is the platform of choice for server applications, cloud computing data centres, supercomputers, and many enterprise networks, and as of 2021 it is estimated that it is powering around 90% of personal and enterprise computing devices worldwide. The NASA Pleiades supercomputer runs on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, as does. If you've been thinking about trying Linux but aren't sure where to begin, remember that you're already halfway there because of your experience with Unix-like operating systems. Unix-like systems include Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Chrome OS, and even BlackBerry's QNX OS. Most people who are familiar with Android smartphones can quickly learn to operate an iPhe running Apple's iOS, and the same is true of macOS users who convert to Windows.

    While kids might not be enthusiastic about it, they understand its purpose almost instinctively. Since Linux is so similar to Unix, you should feel right at home once you give it a try. To What Extent Is Linux Used? Linux, like Windows and macOS, is an operating system (OS) that serves as a framework for managing your computer's software and hardware. It facilitates interaction between software applications and computers.

    Back in the early 1990s, developers first started working on what would become Linux. Linus Torvalds, a student at the University of Tampere in Finland, for the personal computer (PC) he possessed at the time, which was based on the Intel x86 architecture. Kernel Linux Torvalds is credited with creating the Linux kernel and continues to do so with help from the open-source development community. The foundation of this operating system is the, which as of March 2019 As an alternative to Windows, why not think about Linux?version 5.0.5 The kernel is a crucial piece of software written to manage the operating system and the overall functionality of computers. In light of the foregoing, it's worth emphasising that "Linux" might mean either the kernel or the operating system family.

    Since Linux is the foundation of the movement, there are many different operating system (OS) variants, most of which are designed for desktop and laptop computers. For instance, Android excels on touchscreen smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets. The Chrome Operating System, or Chrome OS, is a customised version of Linux designed for use on newer laptop computers. In the realm of commercial server operating systems, Red Hat Enterprise Linux stands apart. All of these "distros" (short for "distributions") are Linux distributions.

    Free and open-source software (FOSS) Linux desktop distributis are the recommended starting point for the purposes of this guide. To use a Linux distribution, which you might not even have to instal, you will need a desktop or laptop computer and, ideally, a USB drive. Like every operating system, Linux includes: Bootloader The bootloader is executed when the computer is powered on, and it loads the kernel into memory. The Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) next checks that all of the hardware is functional and can communicate with one another. Some Linux distributions, like Puppy Linux, are so small that they can load the entire operating system and kernel into RAM without using more than 300 MB.

    Everything from the mouse and keyboard to the screen and sound is working after the bootloader finishes its job. DaemsLinux is a multitasking operating system that makes use of daems to run in the background and wait for requests. While testing a Linux distribution, you might not see daems because they run in the background like processes in Windows Task Manager or the Mac Activity Monitor. Shell The operating system shell in many Linux distributions can be accessed via a command line interface (CLI) that is often controlled via a terminal programme. Some potential Linux users are put off by the fact that the kernel may be communicated with using only text-based CLI commands; however, this is no different than opening CMD from Windows' Start Menu and entering commands from the DOS period.

    The shell and CLI commands will be revisited later on in this tutorial. The Graphical ServerThis is where you'll find the familiar Windows-style user interface. The X Window System (also X11 or X) is used by the vast majority of Linux distributions; it is responsible for coordinating the display of all visual elements with the user's input (mouse or touch screen). Like the early Windows 3.1x days of the 16-bit period, when users booted into DOS and had to type the "win" command to access the GUI, some Linux distributions, particularly the lighter versions, boot into a terminal-like envirment that prompts users to input the "xwin" command to start the GUI. Workspace Environment To put it simply, this is the part with which every user has the most experience.

    Numerous environments exist in the Linux world. Linux includes a variety of desktop environments that are visually similar to Windows' Aero and Metro, as well as macOS' Aqua user interface, including KDE, MATE, Cinnam, GNOME, Xfce, and Unity. Many Linux desktop environments, including KDE, attempt to mimic Windows to make them more accessible to Windows users, but as open-source systems, they are subject to change. Sometimes, desktop environments can be modified for use in particular circumstances. The is one such instance, as it provides a venue for teaching young minds.

    Picking a Developmental Linux Distribution There are currently over available, the vast majority of which can be downloaded and installed without cost and are based on one of the following major distributions: Arch Linux, Debian Linux, OpenSUSE Linux, Slackware OS The general consensus among Linux experts is that new users should begin with a distribution based on Debian. Debian has gained a reputation as a "universal operating system" due to its flexibility and the ease with which it can be installed on a wide variety of devices. Slackware-based distributions aren't the best option unless you're using extremely ancient hardware, while Arch-based distributions are typically more advanced. As such, the following suggestions are all based on Debian. Presently, Linux Mint is part of the.

    It offers one of the tidiest desktop environments available, combining features from both Windows and macOS. Mint provides ts of optis for new users. The Start menu and the method for choosing which applications to instal are also comparable to those found in Windows 7 and 10. It's lightning fast and works with a wide range of systems, including legacy hardware (though 64-bit is recommended). This is your greatest option if you want to convert from Windows to Linux.

    Windows users who are considering making the transition can do so using Ubuntu as an alternative. When compared to other operating systems, Ubuntu is like the "cool granddad" who has seen it all and is still going strong. Ubuntu was designed to be used by everybody, not only computer experts. Ubuntu is fantastic for novices because it comes with a wealth of user-friendly documentation and active community assistance. Puppy Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution that was built and packaged with the intention of reviving obsolete computers.

    The complete operating system functionality may be run from RAM with this lightweight distributi, so a hard drive is not necessary. Users who wish to try out Linux for the first time or who have an older Windows Netbook that is no longer supported can do so using Puppy Linux. SliTaz is a comparable option that operates from a bundle that weighs less than 200 MB. Linux distributions like Mint and Ubuntu come pre-installed with a wide range of useful applications, including those for productivity (similar to Microsoft Office, but free), web browsing, media playback and editing, instant messaging, audio editing, and more. In addition, hundreds of software may be downloaded and installed automatically with all necessary dependencies on most Linux distributions.

    Driving Linux on a Test Drive One cool thing about Linux distributions is that you can try them out before committing to them as your primary operating system. This is feasible because the kernel, graphical server, desktop environment, and applications can be booted from removable media like a USB drive, which is supported by the vast majority of Linux distributions thanks to "live CD" functionality. Although testing Linux distributions on virtual computers is a viable alternative, USB flash drives remain the most convenient and widely used testing medium. To test popular distributions like Mint and Ubuntu, you must first locate the appropriate ISO file to do so by visiting their respective download pages. We advise using USB flash sticks with at least 2 GB of storage, but if you don't have that much space, you can try out other lightweight distributions that still have all the features you need: In preparation for its new life as a computing device, your USB flash drive must be formatted properly.

    Before restarting your computer, insert the USB containing the ISO image. If prompted, change the boot order in the BIOS to USB by pressing e of the following keys: Pressing the Escape key, F1, F2, F8, and F10 You can make the USB drive the primary boot device and the hard drive the secondary one by using the arrow keys in the BIOS setup utility's boot priority menu. Once you're finished making changes to the BIOS, be sure to save your work before restarting the computer and following the on-screen instructions. During a normal live USB session, you can expect to observe the following core Linux components: * A login screen manager. To manage your applications, you need a window manager.

    You need a manager that can take care of more than just the fundamental applications and can deal with windows, panels, menus, and dashboards as well. You should be able to access the desktop once booting is complete. Like Windows, Linux comes in a variety of flavours. In a few of minutes, you should become familiar with common areas such as the taskbar, the notifications area, the applications menu, the settings page, the time and date, and so on. Utilizing the Linux Command Line Interface Users with a higher level of technical expertise may want to try out a terminal-ly Linux distribution like Tiny Core Linux or mini-Debian to further reduce the number of moving parts.

    If you do this, the operating system will skip the graphical user interface and launch directly into the command line. The screen you see is a terminal, from which you may perform actions like: The pwd command displays the full path to the current working directory. The ls command shows a directory's file contents. To change directories, type "cd" (short for "change directory"). Mkdir makes a new directory under the current one.

    If the file extension is supplied, for instance ".txt," then touch will generate a new blank text file. Moving files from one directory to another is what mv does. You can use the rename command to give files new names, and the delete command (rm) will get rid of them. Following a successful file deletion, rmdir permanently deletes the directory from which it was originally created. The man command is the most helpful for new users because it describes and explains other commands in Linux.

    You can narrow the scope of "man" by specifying topics with the apropos command. Suppose you're interested in digging further into Linux's file-based hierarchy. If you want to see all of the Linux docs that mention "hierarchy," just type apropos hierarchy. Structure of the Linux Filesystem You should check out the Linux file system's standard hierarchical structure if you're going to be using it as a permanent instal. This is how it might appear on a Debian-based OS like Ubuntu: Most users will want to go straight to /bin.

    The kernel's home is the /boot directory. Where the device drivers are kept is labelled /dev. A user's configuration files are stored in the /etc directory. Put personal files in /home. You must not modify the files in the /lib directory, which include dynamic libraries and dependencies.

    You can find references to many types of media, such as physical hard drives and virtual computers, under the /media directory. Mounted hard drives and removable media are represented by the notation /mnt. After installation, extra programmes can be found under the /opt directory. Like /lib, /proc should be left as-is. The superuser's home directory, /root, is where they can run administrative tasks.

    Run directory (/run) is a short-term storage directory./sbin is the equivalent of the root directory, where superuser commands are carried out. For files accessible through FTP and HTTP, look in /srv./sys is where you'll find the kernel's configuration files. The /tmp directory is also used as a short-term storage space./usr is where all of your apps that you installed yourself are kept./var is yet another temporary directory that web browsers and other web-based programmes rely on. How to Use Linux's File Management Interface The desktop graphical user interface (GUI) of most Linux distributions that include a graphical server will appear immediately after booting.

    An ic resembling the Windows Start menu butt can be found at the bottom or top of the screen on desktops like and. The Bin, Root, Home, Usr, or Mnt folder will be the default destination when you click or press this element. Skeuomorphic icons representing commonplace goods like filing cabinets, disc drives, and computers are now standard on the current version of the Gnome desktop. Navigati's graphical elements function much like their counterparts in macOS and Windows, with a click launching the corresponding directory or folder into its own window. Intuitive ics for navigating folders are also included in the Unity desktop, which is used by many Ubuntu distributions.

    In the command line interface (CLI) of a Linux terminal software, the first step in any navigational endeavour is to issue the pwd command, which displays the working directory.pwd/home/ The ls command lists every single file in the current directory. The cd command also lets you move across folders, as shown here: Change Directory to: cd /home/downloadpwd/home/download You can use the cd command to navigate to a subfolder within the current path rather than inputting the complete path, as in: pwd/home/cd downloadpwd/download Type cd..cd..pwd/home/Moving Files Across Linux Directories to go up one level from where you are currently. When working in a desktop environment, every directory window acts as a file manager, requiring you to open many directories before you can drag and drop files across them. The mv command is used to move files from one location to another in a Linux terminal. Say you want to relocate a file called "project" from the "home" folder's "download" subfolder.

    Type: mv /home/download/project /home/download/documents1 to transfer the file to the documents1 subfolder of the same directory. The mv command supports the usage of wildcard arguments, which are denoted by the symbol *. Type mv /home/download/*.mp3 /home/download/music to transfer all of your sgs from the /home/download directory to the music subfolder. Input Line File Renaming Most Linux desktop environments include right-click context menus, allowing you to rename files simply by selecting them and using the right mouse button. In the command line interface (CLI), renaming files can be done with the mv command.

    The file new.txt, for example, might be renamed to "secd" for security reasons. The order you'd give is: new secd mv Don't forget that the above example will function as long as the new.txt file is found in the current working directory. In Linux, you can rename files without going to a specific directory first. This is because the mv command can be used from anywhere. If you tell mv where to go, it will get there.

    Assuming new.txt is in /home/download/, you can change it to secd.txt with the following command: mv /home/download/new /home/download/secd. Activities and Procedures in Linux In most Linux distributions with graphical user interfaces, you'll find a bundled set of system tools and utilities, including a task manager not dissimilar to Windows's Task Manager. Some of the best reasons to go with a Linux distribution that uses the Gnome desktop are things like the Gnome System Monitor. It's a highly effective tool due to the detailed information it provides about ongoing processes and the many management options it provides. The Gnome System Monitor and other graphical task managers derive their data from the Linux shell, making it possible to access and manipulate that data using the command line interface.

    Like the ls command, but with running processes arranged by how much memory and CPU they're consuming, top presents a list of everything that's currently operating on the computer. The programme htop is an alternate option. If you have it installed on your Linux distribution, it will provide a graphical user interface (GUI) experience within the terminal, allowing you to see what processes are running.ps, like the top command, lists running processes; however, the -A and grep options improve the use of ps. In a Firefox session, for instance, you may see each and every one of the background tasks being performed by this free and open-source web browser. Displaying Linux processes in a hierarchical tree structure, pstree is a semi-graphical method.

    As expected, "kill" causes the kernel to terminate the currently running process. The kill command requires the system-issued process ID number, which can be found by using any of the aforementioned instructions. The pkill command will terminate all processes that have been called by a specified application that is currently executing. To kill all Firefox processes, just type "pkill firefox" in a terminal. You can also use killall to trigger pkill.

    While the pkill command may not always close the graphical user interface of a running application, the xkill command will close any open windows. In the same way that Windows has its own permissions system, Linux also has its own. It has protections in place to stop people from accessing other people's files if they don't have permission to do so. Launch the terminal application and type: to see what permissions you have set up for your current installation.ls -l If you run the above command, you'll see a list of files in lg format. Your account's granted permissions will be displayed here.

    The first column on the left shows the read, write, and execute permissions as a string of characters. When the letters "rwx" appear before your user name in the first row, it implies that you have read, write, and execute permissions for the file in question. In the event that any of the rwx characters have been substituted with a "-" character, the permissi is absent. Accounts protected by passwords will likely display รข€” rather than rwx. The chmod command allows you to assign, change, and manage permissions from the command line, but only after you have been elevated to the superuser role.

    Setting a root password is required in many Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, which is based on the Debian distribution. Type your user name where it says "sudo adduser" Password: You create a strong password for yourself at the prompt. Here is an example of using the chmod command to alter permissions: type chmod u+rwx project.txt to grant everyone read and write access. The preceding code snippet grants the current user read, write, and execute access to the "project" text file. Permissiveness can be removed by switching the + argument to -.

    In Debian-based distributions, the Eiciel software offers a straightforward graphical user interface (GUI) for managing permissis. Establishing a Web Connection One reason to continue with popular desktop distributions like Ubuntu and Mint is that they come pre-compiled with network card drivers so you can connect to the internet right away. Amazingly accurate network card and device detection is provided by the bundled configuration wizards in these distributions, and in certain instances, users are given the option to configure virtual private networking for enhanced anonymity and protection from prying eyes. Expanding Linux's Software Offerings Simply access your Linux distribution's software centre or package manager when you need to instal additional programmes. Launch a terminal session in Ubuntu and type in this command to download the most recent version of the Firefox web browser: Using the command line interface, I ran: sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get instal firefox Before Windows 10 and the Microsoft Store, Linux desktop distributions were frequently viewed as superior due to its software centre functionality.

    One of the most common complaints about Linux is that it doesn't come with a fully featured office suite. Windows users are too accustomed to Microsoft Office to consider alternatives. Office suites that run smoothly on Linux and offer comparable functionality to Microsoft Office but at a fraction of the price are readily available. Apache OpenOffice is a top-tier free office suite. Its word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation tools are just as reliable as those available in Microsoft Office.

    Files created in either OpenOffice or Microsoft Office can be opened and used in the other programme. Online Document Editor: Google Docs For personal or professional use, this freeware office suite is now a serious competitor. This is a cloud-based optimization service rather than locally installed software. When compared to Microsoft Office, Google Docs offers nearly identical functionality; however, unlike Microsoft Office, it does not require you to install it on each device you use. Nearly identical to how they operate with Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac OS X.

    Office365If you are convinced that you cannot function in society without Microsoft Office, you can log in to Office365 from any computer with an internet connection. Costing money, it lets you keep using Microsoft Office on Linux. As an alternative to Windows, why not think about Linux? An outdated desktop or laptop can be brought into the twenty-first century and brought back to life with the help of the correct Linux distribution. For example, the IT department has abandoned Windows XP, which is used by some legacy hardware but for which no longer any security patches are released.

    However, there are Linux distributions created with compatibility with legacy hardware in mind. Some users may find they are better served by Linux because of its functionality. Upon the release of Windows 8 and 10, some users expressed displeasure with the radically revamped user interface. Linux distributions, meanwhile, offer user interfaces that are more reminiscent of Windows 7, which may be preferable to certain users who are more familiar with older computer interfaces. This is not a problem for Linux, which has excellent safety.

    A lot of progress has been made in the technology world thanks to Windows. Yet, Linux has established a more trustworthy reputation in terms of safety. Unlike Windows, Linux doesn't have the kind of flaws that have plagued Microsoft's OS in the past. The speed of Linux is well-known. Many computer experts claim that Linux offers superior performance to Windows.

    More performance may be extracted from Linux, especially in server editions. You should use Linux since it offers superior stability and reliability for servers in general. The Linux community has taken a stand on the privacy issue, which has become a challenge for major software companies. When compared to tech giants like Google and Microsoft, the FOSS Linux distribution community appears to provide greater security. Conclusion: Linux is an extremely underappreciated operating system and software platform.

    Misconceptions about Linux's "complexity," lack of software options, and absence of commercial backing have turned off far too many potential users. When it comes to older devices that have been neglected by mainstream providers when it comes to security patches and updates, Linux operates as well as, if not better than, Windows. There is a learning curve to using Linux, but once you get over the initial hurdle, it's as easy as jumping from a horse. Let's quickly review the key points from this manual: What Linux Is, The Linux Kernel, The Best Linux Distributions, Installing and Using Linux, Essential Commands, and More! Authority and access to resources Integration of Linux-based Programs and Applications Online Connection Learning how to navigate the operating system's interface, launch and shut down applications, connect to the internet, and print a document is practically identical across Windows and Linux.

    After giving Linux a try, you'll realise that it's far simpler than people make it out to be. You might think of it as a more safe, stable, and resource-efficient alternative to Windows or macOS.

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