Introduction to Linux Operating System

Linux is a computer operating system. The previous sentence contains two technical terms: Linux and Operating System which could be unfamiliar to non-technical people. Linux is the operating system our web servers use. Our clients are also interested in what Linux is. This article aims to explain what Linux and Operating System are all about.

First of all, we need to understand what Operating System is. A computer system is typically composed of hardware and software. In simple terms, software makes use of the hardware to provide computing functionalities. We know that there are many different types of hardware, built by different manufacturers with different specifications. Here comes the problem. If every software had to be able to control all kinds of hardware to perform its functions, it would be a nightmare to write software because there are so many different types of hardware.

The solution to the problem is the operating system. An operating system works between the hardware and software. An operating system is written to control all kinds of hardware it recognizes. A software now only needs to know how to control the operating system. The operating system will then control the hardware on behalf of the software. This makes software writing much easier as programmers would only need to worry about the operating system and not all kinds of hardware. In conclusion, an operating system allows software to run on it and controls the hardware of a computer.

Linux is a kind of operating system. Windows and Mac OS are the other famous examples of operating system. Linux is an open source software, meaning its code are available to the public for view, use and update. It attracts a huge development community from computer enthusiasts to professional international corporations. Due to its design, open nature and huge development support, Linux is particularly stable and secure. Any problems found are quickly reported and fixed. Many great software are written to work on Linux, especially high quality server software. This makes Linux a highly popular server operating system.

Many web hosting companies choose to run Linux servers for its stability and availability of great server software. It is important to note that Linux and server software are difficult to use for non-technical people. Therefore, web hosting companies would provide a graphical control panel e.g. cPanel so that its clients with no technical knowledge can work with their web hosting accounts easily, without touching Linux at all. What does Linux mean to a web hosting account user then? The answer is simple: the user just needs to know that the server software is very stable thanks to Linux. That’s it.

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