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Last Updated: 5/28/2011 5:43:13 PM
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Linux Servers

By Erik Rodriguez

This article provides an overview of the Linux operating system. It discusses the pro's, con's, and common uses of the technology. This article is primarily meant for beginners of Linux. There are links to various other Linux topics within this site.

What is Linux?

Linux is a high-level operating system based on UNIX. It was originally created by Linus Torvalds. Linux has over-come Apple in the race to gain 2nd place in the OS market share. While Linux has been around since the early 1990's, it has only recently gained popularity and attention. In early 2000, Linux began to open eyes as I.T. projects began to test the value of the Linux OS. Most of the world's websites are run on Linux or UNIX. Red Hat is the leader of the Linux distribution serving 1,465,310 hostnames according to Netcraft. All Linux articles on this site are produced using Red Hat products.

What Can Linux Do?

Linux is a high-level operating system just as Windows XP or UNIX. Linux is deployed all over the world in businesses and mission-critical environments such as hospitals, research centers, financial institutions, and more. While Linux is primarily used to run servers, several distributions of Linux are aimed towards satisfying desktop/workstation users. Distributions from Novell and Fedora are geared towards production and end user environments. Linux supports all current hardware such as the Athlon 64 and legacy devices for compatibility on older systems.

Is Linux Free?

Yes and no. Although Linux is an "open-source" project, some distributions do charge for "support." How does this work? While many distributions are completely free, others charge a fee to use their automatic update feature. Red Hat offers support from the Red Hat Network that provides system updates just like the Windows Update everyone loves. Some of the completely free distributions are listed below:

Pro's and Con's of Linux

Pro's Con's
Most distro's are free Learning curve is high
Generally more secure and stable Lack of popular software titles
Support from many vendors Customizing the OS can be complicated
Not affected by viruses
Will run on slower hardware
Can co-exist with Windows

Why Use Linux?

There are many reasons to use Linux. Most Linux users are looking for an alternative to Windows or want something a little more stable. Linux has a reputation for amazing stability and uptime. While Linux is not for everyone, it is a great way to use some new technology and support the open-source community. From an economic standpoint, using a free distribution of Linux can save a ton of money because there are no licensing fees to pay.


The links below provide some information on basic Linux skills for use on a workstation or server.

Linux Shells

Using Bash


Adding Hard Drives in Linux

Build Your Own Linux Server

Linux Runlevels

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