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What Is Linux? What Is Linux Used For?

Linux is basically an operating system that allows computers and similar hardware to function correctly.

Operating systems run on computers and hardware. Operating systems manage the resources of these devices. These systems include all the software that provides the services used for application software.

Operating systems provide the necessary communication between application software and computers. They are used not only on computers, video game consoles, cell phones, and web servers, but also on a wide range of hardware such as cars, appliances, machines, and smart watches.

Operating systems should not be judged by the scope of their functionality. When evaluating an operating system, the ability to program the hardware for a specific purpose should be taken into account.

How Did Operating Systems Emerge?

Until the 1940s, there were no operating systems, including digital operating systems. Until 1940, electronic systems and products were programmed by sequential mechanical switches or jumper cables on specific switchboards. For instance, special systems were produced to develop ballistic tables from the data of punched paper cards for use as military or controlled printing on payroll checks.

Later, programmable general purpose computers were invented. Machine languages based on the binary number system accelerated the programming process considerably. Then more modern operating systems began to emerge.

How Did Operating Systems Emerge?
How Did Operating Systems Emerge?

Today, there are countless operating systems used in many different fields. The most prominent of these operating systems are the following:

  • Mac OS X
  • Microsoft Windows
  • GNU/Linux
  • BeOS
  • Android
  • iOS

Linux operating system is the most widely used open source operating system today. Linux, whose main difference from other operating systems is that it has an open source structure, is offered using GNU (General Public License) version 2. The Linux operating system was developed under the roof of the Linux Foundation. The name Linux was given by Linus Torvalds, the first developer of the project, in 1991.

Today, the Linux operating system is widely used on supercomputers, smart devices, and internet infrastructure hardware. The name Linux is also used to characterize all operating systems built using the same kernel. For instance, a combination of the Linux kernel and GNU tools and presented as an operating system is called a GNU/Linux distribution. Such operating system derivatives are also called Linux for short.

Linux operating systems are similar to operating systems like Windows and macOS. Linux has a graphical interface like other operating systems. At the same time, the Linux operating system also includes extra applications used in everyday life. For instance, software such as word processors, video and photo editors are also available on Linux operating systems.

The most important difference of the Linux operating system is that it uses open source code. This means that all the code used in the development of Linux is made publicly available. This decision to create Linux makes it very different from other operating systems. At the same time, having open source code has allowed Linux to be edited and developed by other people, enabling many different Linux operating systems to be created. This shows that Linux operating systems offer a high level of customizability.

Who Uses Linux?

Most people have probably used Linux whether they know it or not. Because the vast majority of websites used in daily life are run on servers developed by Linux.

Apart from that, Linux operating systems are generally used by software developers, programming experts, and large companies. The most important reason for a company to choose the Linux operating system when creating a server is that Linux has a much more secure structure compared to other operating systems. Another important reason for choosing Linux is that it is a flexible and more modular operating system.

Today, there are massive communities working to develop Linux. Large companies can get the most suitable operating system they need from these communities at any time. Some companies also provide financial support for the development of Linux.

How Was the Linux Operating System Created?

The Linux operating system was created in 1999 by Linus Torvalds, a student at the University of Helsinki. The most important reason why Torvalds developed the Linux operating system was to create a competitor to Minix, one of the Unix clones generally used in the academic field. Linux, which is free and open source, was first named Freax. But then it was decided to use the name "Linux", a combination of Torvalds' name and Unix.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Linux operating System?

Linux is an operating system that offers advantages to its users in many different areas. These advantages are as follows:

  • Open source structure
  • Security
  • Privatization
  • Stable software updates
  • Different deployments
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Linux operating System?
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Linux operating System?

Open Source Structure

As mentioned before, the most important difference of Linux operating systems is that they are open source. Users can view, modify, and use these codes on their computers.


Linux is an operating system that is considered much more secure than other operating systems. Although it does not have a secure enough structure to prevent each and every malware, Linux is much more resilient than other operating systems. Applications that host a virus on the Linux operating system must receive a confirmation from the administrator using a password. Unless the correct password is entered by the user, no application can make any changes to the Linux operating system. Naturally, Linux operating systems can protect the system and computer without the need for any antivirus software.


Linux can be customized as desired thanks to its open source code. New changes and features can be added, removed, or customized by the user, depending on the purpose.

Stable Software Updates

Linux operating systems receive frequent software updates. Not only do these updates keep the system more up-to-date, but they also make it much smoother and faster to use than other operating systems.

Different Deployments

There are multiple versions of Linux. Users can choose and use one of these versions, each of which is free of charge, according to their needs and wishes. Fedora, Arch Linux, Debian, Ubuntu, and Linux Mint are examples of these versions. For instance, a software developer may prefer Debian or Fedora for a more customized operating system experience.

Linux operating systems also have some disadvantages. These disadvantages are the following:

  • Lack of a standard version
  • Technical support
  • Learning time

Lack of a Standard Version

Operating systems such as Windows or MacOS have a standard version. For instance, Windows 7, 8, or 10 are standard versions. There is no standard version of the Linux operating system. Moreover, there are thousands of different Linux versions developed by users. This situation can create confusion for users who are looking for Linux and cannot find the appropriate Linux version.

Technical Support

Linux is developed and delivered by specific communities. For this reason, in some cases, users who want technical support may not get the help they need from the communities. In this case, support is inadequate and users may experience problems.

Learning Time

The Linux operating system is not as easy to use as Windows or Mac operating systems. For a user with no Linux experience, the level of technical knowledge can be overwhelming. This increases the learning time relatively.

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