Wondering how does Linux work? While the concept of Linux is easy to understand, learning how to run Linux software takes a fair amount of dedication and study.
Simply a Kernel
While the word Linux is often used to refer to any Linux-based operating system, the real heart of Linux is the Linux kernel. This kernel is the core software shell that handles resources and processes requests to your computer. The difference between versions of Linux, or Linux distributions, is the software built around the Linux kernel to handle the user interface and system functionality. In theory, you could look at two versions of Linux software that are drastically different, but both are Linux operating systems built on the same Linux kernel.
What makes the kernel unique is the way it operates. In Windows and Mac, much of the kernel is used to support a graphical operating system; these operating systems are largely designed to support a single user on a dedicated machine. The Linux kernel is built for shared access. Each user is granted direct access to the kernel and the computer hardware, which allows for much faster processing.
Light on Graphics
Unless you look for a Linux distribution specifically designed for new users or people switching from Windows, you won't find much of a graphical user interface, or GUI. Linux is based on Unix and originally evolved as a server operating system used by industry professionals. Much of Linux runs from command-line prompts, similar to the old Microsoft DOS. If you're new to Linux and need a GUI to operate your computer, look for a specific distribution designed for beginners and people switching from other operating systems.
Powerful Command Features
Linux as an operating system doesn't function like Windows. It's typically not a point-and-click system where you tell the computer what to do and the computer does it. With Linux, you have fine control over what your computer does. You can run certain applications to tell your computer to do something, or use specific command prompts to dictate how your computer behaves. If you're willing to put in the time to learn Linux, you can do a lot more with it than you could with Windows; it has a lot more flexibility.
Because of its powerful command prompts and very specific applications, Linux is the preferred operating system among IT professionals running servers. Different Linux distributions offer different server options and customization, allowing server administrators to keep the computer running as efficiently as possible. Like Unix, which was developed for enterprise and research applications, Linux is built for very demanding applications, with the ability to balance multiple process requests and keep things moving at a high rate of speed.
Linux Support Varies
Linux support is a tricky topic. Some paid versions of Linux offer support for a certain period of time before they move on to a newer version. Some free versions of Linux don't offer any support at all. New users can quickly find themselves lost without good support. Do some research and find out whether there's an active community that can help with any problems you encounter.
What is Ubuntu? This Linux-based open source operating system is emerging as a rival to Microsoft and Mac, largely because it is free.
To run Windows programs on Linux, you need a few tools or the right piece of software. If you'd prefer not to use either Windows or Linux programs exclusively, you do have alternatives.