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What is Linux


Linux is a unique family of operating systems, developed on the basis of its own kernel, and widely used on servers worldwide. This impressive range of operating systems is renowned for its unparalleled stability, security, and flexibility, making it an ideal solution for hosting any server. Additionally, Linux enjoys widespread support from developer enthusiasts within the community, providing a vast array of different systems and tools for effective server management and configuration.

Why do Linux servers attract beginners? The answer is simple – because of the free license and open source code. Regular user-administrators choose this operating system for its lightweight nature, which contributes to efficient server resource use, and its minimal hardware requirements. These qualities make Linux an ideal choice for ensuring stable and efficient server system operations.

The article aims to explore what is Linux and it’s benefits, touch upon some statistics, conduct a detailed comparison with Windows Server, and examine the main server distributions of Linux, discussing their characteristics and possibilities.

Getting to Know Linux

In 1991, Linus Torvalds created Linux, an open-source operating system. A notable feature of Linux is its openness, meaning anyone can access the operating system’s source code, freely make changes, and expand its functionality according to their preferences and needs. Thanks to this policy, Linux is one of the most in-demand solutions worldwide, used in various fields, from servers and mobile devices to artificial intelligence systems. Leading IT companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon prefer Linux for their servers, affirming its significance and reliability.
Some remarkable statistics about Linux include:

  1. Linux is the base system for over 90% of cloud infrastructures globally.
  2. Approximately 98% of the world’s supercomputers run on Linux.
  3. Linux dominates in machine learning and artificial intelligence, powering about 90% of devices in this field.
  4. Over 75% of devices for data storage and backup systems use Linux at their core.
  5. Currently, there are over 600 different Linux distributions, each with unique features and functionalities.

The article concludes by discussing popular Linux server distributions, their characteristics, and practical applications as primary solutions for dedicated or virtual servers.

What is Linux Server Distributions

Among Linux server operating systems, three main contenders stand out: CentOS, Debian, and Ubuntu, each unique and widely used by administrators. Let’s look closer at each:

  1. CentOS: Popular among enterprises with critical applications, CentOS is known for its stability. System updates aim to maintain this stability, allowing administrators to install fixes and updates without risking system stability. Based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) source codes, CentOS uses systemd for initialization and the YUM (Yellowdog Updater Modified) package management system.
  2. Debian: A versatile distribution focusing on stability and free software, Debian is widely used from web servers to personal hosting. Unlike CentOS, Debian uses the APT (Advanced Package Tool) package management system and either sysvinit or systemd for initialization, depending on the version. It also forms the basis for many other distributions, including Ubuntu.
  3. Ubuntu: Known for ease of use and powerful functionalities, Ubuntu offers long-term support versions (LTS). Its extensive package selection in official repositories makes it suitable for web server hosting, database management, virtualization, or cloud computing. Ubuntu uses the APT package management system, defaults to systemd, and supports modern technologies like Docker and Kubernetes.

However, despite some differences between these distributions, they share common features:

  1. All three distributions are free software with open-source code, emphasizing system security.
  2. They provide extensive repositories, allowing users to find and install various programs and packages.
  3. CentOS, Debian, and Ubuntu have active communities of users and developers, ensuring support, updates, and knowledge exchange.

Why Linux

We’ve examined the general server distributions of Linux, their characteristics, and application environments. However, most system administrators do not see a significant difference between Linux and the popular Windows Server. Let’s look at a comparative table that presents the main differences, taking into account predefined parameters:

FeatureWindows ServerLinux Solutions
Source CodeClosedOpen
Package Management SystemWindows Update, PowerShellAPT, YUM, Zypper
File SystemexFAT, FAT32, NTFS и ReFSext4, XFS, Btrfs
LogsEvent Viewersyslog, systemd
Security SystemWindows Defender, BitLocker, Windows FirewallSELinux, AppArmor, iptables, firewalld
VirtualizationHyper-VKVM, Xen, VMware
Container SupportWindows Containers, DockerDocker, Podman, Kubernetes
Flexibility and FunctionalityModerate LevelHigh Flexibility, Modularity
Third-Party Hardware SupportOriented towards
certain technologies
Broad hardware and driver support

From the provided table, it can be concluded that Windows Server is a closed operating platform designed primarily for environments oriented towards Microsoft technologies. Its built-in tools offer high compatibility with Microsoft products, but they also limit users in their technology choices.

Conversely, Linux server distributions are based on open source and are more flexible. They support a wide range of hardware platforms and provide various package management systems, which makes them universally applicable for a variety of usage scenarios.

In conclusion

It can be confidently stated that Linux is the choice of the majority of users today, regardless of their tasks. An overall assessment of the system’s significance in the modern world has been conducted, including a look at several key Linux server distributions, a discussion on the features of this kernel, and a comparative analysis with the equally popular Windows Server.

It is recommended to continue exploring practical articles in the current section to gain a deeper understanding what is Linux and its features and to learn how to apply this knowledge in practice.

Previous article Linux Users: Management and Permissions
Next article Server Load Diagnostics

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