In recent years, the GNU / Linux operating system, known worldwide for being the most famous free software, has managed to position itself as one of the most chosen by users who want to get rid of the use of Microsoft Windows, the operating system that has reigned for decades in the field of computing.
For those who still do not know GNU / Linux, it should be noted that it is a Unix-based operating system, since it implements the POSIX standard, so it retains certain similarities with it, and surely its most notable feature is that it is a Free and free operating system , since it is distributed under the GPL, the GNU General Public License.
What is Linux?
The cornerstone of this revolutionary operating system, its kernel or kernel, was ready in 1991, by the hand of Linus Torvalds, from whom it has taken its name. For its part, the GNU project was started in 1983 by Richard Stallman, and later the union of both projects gave rise to the now known GNU / Linux system.
Although the name ” Linux ” makes specific reference to the Linux kernel of the system, in general this term is used to define the operating system. For years, millions of people around the world, who have knowledge and concerns in the field of programming, have joined this project, thus giving rise to a large community of collaborators who work daily to improve the operating system and to offer an endless number of free software applications.
One of the most significant jobs has been the creation of various distributions, from which users can choose the one that best suits their requirements. In this way, other communities of developers have emerged that work to improve and add functionality and applications to the different distributions for Linux.
Among the best known are Debian, Ubuntu, Manjaro, Kubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva and many others, which in turn can be modified by each user according to their needs, which has led to the birth of other distributions based on previous , as is the case with Kubuntu that was born under the principles of Ubuntu.
Regarding applications, there is a wide variety of programs developed under free software standards that offer a great alternative to users who want to stop using paid software.
In the so-called “repositories”, users will find the packages of each one of the applications, according to the distribution they have chosen, which they can download and install without having to pay money and without being tied to a program that cannot be modified. Since, like the Linux operating system, like the distributions, almost all the programs are open source, which allows them to be modified at the whim of the user.
There are endless applications for the various activities that can be developed on a PC, from office suites, such as Open Office, design and image editing programs, such as Gimp and Inskscape, video editing software such as Cinelerra or Kdenlive , among many others.
Likewise, Linux offers the possibility of working in different graphical environments, thanks to the different desktop variants it offers, such as Gnome, KDE, XFCE, Fluxbox, Enlightenment, FVWM-Crystal, among others.
Without a doubt, one of the greatest advantages of GNU / Linux is that it is a free operating system, which means that in addition to being distributed for free, one of its greatest benefits is that it can be modified by users of according to your requirements.
The name Linux arose from the mixture of Linus + Unix. Linus is the name of the creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds. And Unix is the name of a large operating system, of which we will tell its story now, so that you understand Linux better.
The origin of Unix has a connection with the Multics operating system, projected in the 1960s. This project was carried out by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), by General Electric (GE) and by the Bell laboratories (Bell Labs) and American Telephone Telegraph (AT&T).
The intention was for the Multics to have time-sharing characteristics (several users sharing the resources of a single computer), thus being the most advanced system of the time. In 1969, there was already a version of the Multics running on a GE645 computer.
Ken Thompsom was a researcher at Multics and worked at Bell Labs. However, the company withdrew from the project later, but he continued his studies on the system. Since then, his idea was not to continue with the original Multics but to create something smaller, but that would preserve the basic ideas of the system. From there, the saga of the Unix system begins. Brian Kernighan, also a Bell Labs researcher, was the one who gave him that name.
In 1973, another Bell Labs researcher, Dennis Ritchie, rewrote the entire Unix system in a high-level language, called C, which he developed as well. As a result, the system became widely accepted by users outside of Bell Labs.
Between 1977 and 1981, AT&T altered Unix, making some particular changes, and released System III. In 1983, after more than a series of modifications, the well-known Unix System IV was released, which was the one that was sold. Until today this system is used in the market, being the international standard of Unix. This system is marketed by companies such as IBM, HP, Sun and other large companies. Unix is a very expensive operating system and is used in powerful computers (such as mainframes) by various multinationals.
What is the relationship between Unix and Linux, or better, between Unix and Linus Torvalds?
To answer that question, it is necessary to talk about another operating system, Minix. Minix is a version of Unix, but free and with the source code available. That means any expert programmer can make changes to it. It was originally created for educational use, for anyone who wants to study Unix at home. However, it should be noted that it was written from scratch and despite being a Unix version , it does not contain any AT&T code and therefore can be distributed free of charge.
From there, Linus Torvalds enters the scene, who was at that time a student of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki, in Finland. In 1991, as a hobby, Linus decided to develop a more powerful system than Minix. To publicize his idea, he sent a message to a group on the Usenet (a kind of predecessor of the Internet). The message can be seen at the end of this article. The same year, he made available kernel version 0.02 and continued working until version 1.0 was finished in 1994.
Linux is a free operating system and is a re-implementation of the POSIX (IEEE Standardization, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering) specifications for systems with System V and BSD extensions. That means Linux is quite similar to Unix, but it did not come from the same place and was written differently.
Why is Linux free?
Linus Torvalds, when he developed Linux, did not intend to make money but to make a system for his personal use that would meet his needs. The style of development that was adopted was that of collective aid. In other words, he coordinates the collective efforts of a group that works to improve the system he created. Thousands of people contribute for free to Linux development, simply for the pleasure of making a better operating system.
Linux is under the GPL license, it allows anyone to use the programs that are under it, with the commitment not to make closed programs and commercialize them. This means that it is possible to alter any part of Linux, modify it, and even market it, but you cannot shut it down (not allow other users to modify it) and sell it.
The history of Linux does not end here. It is also necessary to know that it is GNU. GNU is a project that began in 1984 with the aim of developing an operating system compatible with those of the Unix standard. Linux itself is just a kernel. Linus Torvalds, around the same time he was writing the kernel source code, began using GNU programs to make his system. Since he liked the idea, he decided to leave his kernel within the same license.
But, the kernel alone is not usable. The kernel is the most important part, as it is the kernel and serves as a communicator between the user and the computer. So with the use of variants of the GNU systems alongside the kernel, Linux became an operating system.
Finally, the GNU project is one of those responsible for the success of Linux, because thanks to the “mixture” of its programs with the kernel developed by Linus Torvalds, Linux has been showing why it is an operating system worthy of skills insurmountable by any other system .
Linux benefits and disadvantages
As we could see above in this same post, in recent years Linux has been the operating system of choice for a large number of users, companies, corporations and government institutions, due to the enormous advantages that this software presents compared to its current biggest competitor. , Microsoft Windows.
Based on a series of benefits offered by this free operating system, many have decided to migrate towards the use of GNU / Linux, leaving forever the operating system that for years was the market leader.
Surely, many will think that those millions of people who have changed their OS have done so motivated only because GNU / Linux is a free and open system, while Windows is a closed source and paid software.
However, there are a number of advantages that have contributed so that GNU / Linux is currently considered a more stable and reliable operating system than the one created by Bill Gates.
What are the differences between Windows and Linux?
Who among us has not heard about the battle between Windows users and Linux users ? At this stage of the circumstances surely no one can deny that both sides have their reasons , and of course they have reasons to believe that the operating system they use is the best.
Unfortunately, this difference in criteria is expressed as a kind of contest with no concrete possibility of pacification , all due to fanaticism without reason, which of course leaves the user without deep knowledge on the matter with the impossibility of knowing what the operating system is. that best suits your specific needs .
There is no doubt that Windows is currently the most used operating system in the world, but Linux with the passage of time is taking more and more prominence . While both operating systems offer profound design differences, they both share the same philosophy: to be easy to use and to provide the user with all the necessary tools to carry out their tasks.
Windows vs Linux: Hardware and Software
It is a myth that Linux is an operating system for connoisseurs , the efforts made by companies such as Canonical, responsible for Ubuntu, the most used Linux distribution, are enormous, all of them focused so that the user gets precisely what he wants without the need for mechanisms complicated.
This was the case many years ago, but now things have changed. Linux is at the same level of usability as Windows, where everything takes place in just a few clicks . This is not bad at all, in fact, it is what any user who wants to make the most of their time in front of the computer is looking for.
Where Windows shines is in the number of applications available for the platform , it is not that in Linux it is not like that, but let’s be honest, for each Linux application for a certain task, there are 100 for Windows, giving us a better margin of choice . One of the best places to download thousands of applications for Windows is Softonic.
Another point where perhaps Windows is a better choice for us is if we are professionals in a specific field such as graphic design, video editing or another very particular task , but if ours is writing, commerce or other activities where no special applications are required, in Linux we will find impressive tools such as OpenOffice or GNUCash , which will perfectly satisfy our needs.
Although many Linux fans will find the following to be practically an offense, the truth is that Gimp, an excellent image manipulation tool, is light years in terms of design and features to Adobe Photoshop . The same thing happens with applications like Cinelerra or Inkscape, all very good, but almost unfeasible in the professional field. The same happens with games.
Windows is very friendly when it comes to device installation . On the other hand, despite the fact that in the vast majority of times we will not have problems installing printers, video cards or other peripherals, Linux is sometimes a bit complicated in that sense, but it should be noted that this is also due to the reluctance of some manufacturers to develop drivers for this platform for their devices.
Windows vs Linux: Viruses and Security
Windows is widely recognized for the large number of viruses and malware developed to damage its structure , but over the years this image is increasingly far from reality.
Microsoft, thanks to profound changes, constant updates in the system and in the code and the modification in the way in which users use the system permissions, has managed to greatly minimize the vulnerabilities that once destroyed thousands of terabytes of information . And if we add to this a good antivirus system such as Microsoft Security or Avast! we will not have to worry about anything.
Much has been said about Linux being invincible when it comes to viruses, and this is very true . The file permission system of the operating system makes it an impregnable fortress, but a fundamental fact that has to do with the fact that the platform is not so exposed to attacks is simple: There are not so many Linux users, at least domestically, so as to make it profitable to go to the trouble of developing a virus.
Linux is better than Windows?
The benefits that GNU / Linux presents over Windows are various, although the most notable are the following:
- In principle, as we mentioned earlier, GNU / Linux is a free and completely free software system, which implies that it can be distributed and modified according to the standards of the GPL license.
- As for the applications that can be used on GNU / Linux, almost all are free, so the user can have absolute control over them and decide which ones to install and which ones not, depending on their needs. The programs offered for the different distributions are easily installable and removable, and totally safe, without trial versions or dangerous, since they do not have virus threats.
- Stability in this OS is one of its priorities, which is why easy-to-implement updates are made, which allow users to work confidently and safely, forgetting about actions such as restarting or formatting the PC, so common in Windows, already that GNU / Linux really works without problems after several years of having been installed, and receiving the latest news that modify applications, graphical environments and others, keeping the system updated.
- Another of the most notable points of this revolutionary operating system lies in security, since with GNU / Linux the user will be able to completely do without antivirus programs. In addition, constant system updates allow the software to be permanently protected.
- GNU / Linux has one of the largest communities of experts who work permanently to help evacuate user doubts, providing a unique support, where just by asking a question, there will always be people willing to respond to said concern.
- On the other hand, GNU / Linux has a unique interoperability with various operating systems such as Windows, Mac, Solaris and others, and in general its applications allow users to work with almost any type of file. On the contrary, those users accustomed to Windows know that in this OS this fact is quite unlikely.
- Another important point in GNU / Linux has to do with the adaptation and modification of the entire system, its applications and its appearance, according to the requirements of each of the users. Linux is fully modifiable, and that is one of the great advantages that have favored the acceptance of this software in recent years.
- Regarding the development work of the system, in contrast to Windows, which has taken years to launch new versions, the distributions created for GNU / Linux are usually updated approximately every six months, and the changes are made based on the suggestions they make. the users themselves.
Despite these great advantages, GNU / Linux also has its flaws, compared to Windows, although they are usually minimal in the opinion of those who have decided to take the big step of migrating from the system.
Some of the disadvantages that arise from the comparison between GNU / Linux over Windows are the following:
- Unfortunately, and despite the fact that more and more users choose to use GNU / Linux, some hardware manufacturers do not offer drivers for their computers that can be installed on Linux. However, the developer community puts a lot of work on it on a daily basis to create the necessary driver media.
- For game lovers, GNU / Linux can be tedious and even impossible to use, since the vast majority are intended to be installed on Windows. However, there is always the possibility of using emulators, although it should be noted that nowadays a large number of communities have emerged that work developing free games , many of which are at the height of some of the most popular video games.
In summary, it is important to emphasize that GNU / Linux has many advantages for the common user, as well as for the professional, as long as they are willing to change their way of thinking and take control of their computer.
If you have decided to give this operating system a try, we recommend that you visit the Distrowatch.com website, where you can find information to install the appropriate distribution for your needs.
Both operating systems deliver what they promise, and with either one , if we take into account the above, they can be very useful in our work.
Obviously one of the biggest differences that exist between Windows and Linux is the absolute free system of the penguin , against the hundreds of dollars that a Windows license costs, and this is the main thing that the user must keep in mind before taking any step .
With Linux we can do everything that we are used to doing with Windows , even much of the software available for Windows has a version of it developed for Linux
Who uses Linux?
The GNU / Linux operating system has been the alternative chosen by a large number of users in recent years, since it is not only a free and open operating system, but also offers significant stability, functionality and speed at work .
Linux is ideal for office environments, due to the important features it can offer in this field. However, with GNU / Linux you can work on any type of project, since it is developed as a robust and efficient work tool.
These characteristics have resulted in GNU / Linux being the operating system of choice in recent years that displaced Microsoft Windows from many computers not only in the home, but also in the professional, business and government spheres.
In addition, Linux can not only be easily installed on desktop PCs and notebooks, but also allows its use in mobile phones, game consoles, and various devices such as iPods and others. Due to its ease of installation and use, it is compatible with almost any type of device that requires a custom OS.
Currently, GNU / Linux has the support and backing of important companies and corporations such as IBM, Novell, Dell, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, Adobe, Google, Yahoo, among others.
Even many of these firms include the OS pre-installed in some of the PC lines that they offer on the market. On the other hand, GNU / Linux is currently the most used in the internet server market, since it offers a wide range of services in this area, which has positioned it as the most prominent operating system thanks to the possibilities and robustness that it provides in this area.
It is important to note that in recent years, a large number of government and educational entities in the world have stopped using other systems to migrate to GNU / Linux on all their computers and databases.
Such is the case of the New York Stock Exchange, the government of the German city of Munich, the government of Brazil, some autonomous governments of Spain, the Ministry of Education and the University of the Border of Chile, the public health network of Cuba, the public administration of Venezuela, and other institutions in Mexico, Australia, Peru, and other countries.
This great change produced in the last decade, which has managed to position GNU / Linux as one of the most chosen operating systems at a professional level, offers the guideline that we are really facing the most stable, reliable and secure OS, in addition to being free , that has existed so far.
Who is Richard M. Stallman?
Richard Stallman is the founder of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) or “Fundación para el Software Libre” in Spanish, and also the head of the GNU project. Creator of the most revolutionary movement in the history of computing, perhaps even the Greatest since the Industrial Revolution, the man who created free software and is an honorary doctorate from two European colleges.
He put aside a promising and rich career in the great software industry, and a very “American Way of Life” life, to defend his principles and the freedom of knowledge. He is the inventor of the Copyleft concept, a type of licensing software in such a way that it always remains free and its use and modifications always revert to the community.
He is also the creator of innumerable, funny and very controversial phrases, some of which are these:
“I have received so many contributions for the free software that I develop, that administering this aid becomes a problem. Microsoft does not have that problem”
“Microsoft does not like us to escape its power”
“Today we have something that 21 years ago we did not have: powerful enemies. Big companies and their pet government, that of Bush.”
“Is success the goal? I think not. The goal is to achieve, defend and maintain our freedom.”
“Patenting software licenses is like patenting culinary recipes. No one could eat unless they paid for the recipe license.”
“Beethoven was a good composer because he used new ideas in combination with old ideas. Nobody, not even Beethoven could invent music from scratch. It is the same with computers”
“Proprietary (or licensed) software means that it deprives users of their freedom”
“Freedom is not being able to choose between a few imposed options, but having control of your own life. Freedom is not choosing who will be your master, it is not having a master”
“Today we are led to believe that helping a friend is morally equivalent to attacking a ship. They call you a pirate.”
“Teaching children the use of free software in schools will form individuals with a sense of freedom”
“Now freedom in my country is a word without meaning and without practical application in life”
“I’m going to write free software, or I’ll die trying”
“The easy choice was to join the world of proprietary software, sign the nondisclosure agreements, and promise not to come to the aid of my hacker friend. I could have made money this way, and maybe I would have had fun writing code. But I knew that at the end of my career, looking back over the years I spent building walls to divide people, I would feel that I used my life to make the world worse … “
“There is not only the work of developing good programs under free software, but also the work of resisting, against software patents “
“Bill Gates is spying on you ….”
The Linux Samba server
Within the world of Linux, one of the main concerns is the possibility of being able to share files and resources with other Windows devices in a safe, fast and transparent way. For this, there is Samba, which is an implementation of the existing file sharing protocol in Windows operating systems called SMB, which was recently named CIFS.
Simply put, Samba is “server software” for Linux (and other Unix-based systems) that allows you to manage and share resources on networks of Windows computers. Through this protocol, it is possible to use a Linux computer as a file server, print server, among others, as if the network used servers with Windows installed.
From this point on we will know an introduction to Samba showing its main characteristics and some of its history.
Brief history of the Samba protocol
The Samba protocol is the brainchild of Andrew Tridgell. According to information provided on the software’s official website, Tridgell needed to mount a disk space on his computer for a Unix server. That computer ran the DOS operating system and initially used the NFS (Network File System) file system for access. However, an application needed support for the NetBIOS protocol (not supported by the NFS protocol).
The solution found by Tridgell was the following: he wrote a sniffer, which is basically a small program to capture data traffic on the network, which would allow analyzing the data traffic generated by the NetBIOS protocol, he reverse engineered the SMB protocol ( Server Message Block) and implemented it on Unix. With this procedure you got the Unix server to appear as a Windows file server on your DOS PC.
Later, the Samba code was made publicly available by Tridgell in 1992. However, days later, the project was shelved until a certain day Tridgell decided to connect the computer to his wife to his own computer, which had installed Linux. Finding no better method to achieve the goal, he had to go back to his code to undertake the task.
Through e-mail contacts, Tridgell discovered that the documentation for the SMB and NetBIOS protocols had been updated, and so he rededicated himself to the project. A company contacted him requesting the rights to the name used in the software until then. Later, Andrew Tridgell had the idea of looking in a dictionary for a word that had the letters s, m and b (from SMB) and came up with the term “samba”. From there the Samba project grew and today Andrew Tridgell has an excellent team of programmers and thousands of users of his solution scattered all over the world.
What does the Samba server do
With the Samba server, it is possible to share files, share printers and control access to certain network resources with equal or greater efficiency than servers based on Microsoft operating systems. But, in this case, the operating system used is Linux.
In this sense, the Samba protocol is compatible with practically any version of Microsoft Windows, such as NT 4.0, 9x, Me, 2000, XP and Server 2003, Windows 7, 8 and Windows 10 , as well as computers with any of the Linux distributions of the actuality.
Samba protocol security
One of the best features of the Samba protocol is undoubtedly its security, stability and compatibility. Such is the acceptance of the Samba protocol in IT areas that today there are companies that use Samba as a solution for conflicts between different versions of Windows.
However, it offers other options and advantages that are highly appreciated by all types of users, both professionally and at home. Some of these features are for example the ability to serve directory trees and printers to Linux, UNIX and Windows clients, provide Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) name resolution and act as a Primary Domain Controller or “Primary Domain Controller”.
It is also capable of assisting in network browsing, both with or without NetBIOS, acting as an Active Directory domain server member, carrying out “Backup Domain Controller” tasks , authenticating connections to Windows domains and many other advantages that They can be very useful to better develop our tasks, both in the company and in any other less demanding field.