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What is the GNU / Linux OS? Definition of Linux

Linux is mistakenly known as an operating system, when it is the kernel. Actually, the correct name is GNU / Linux which has as its main advantage that it is totally free, free and open source software.

What is the GNU / Linux operating system and when did it start?

GNU-Linux operating system

The system as a whole is basically the GNU system into which Linux was integrated. Linux is the core of the GNU system, one of the main components for GNU.

The GNU / Linux operating system (not to be confused with UNIX) starts when joining the GNU project (designed by Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation), with the Linux system kernel (designed by Torvalds).

In January 1995 the FSF (Free Software Foundation, Fundacion de software libre) names the operating system as GNU / Linux.

How does GNU / Linux work and what are its main features?

East operating system works differently from other similar programs on the market as are Windows and MacOS, since to carry out different tasks, changes or deletion of files, it is necessary to use various commands to be able to execute said actions. Different from the previous ones, with just one click, these actions can be performed more quickly.

Among its main features are:

  • Multitask: Multiple processes can be run at the same time.
  • Multi-user: There can be several users on the same machine.
  • Multi platform: It works on different CPUSs such as Intel.
  • It has memory protection between processes.
  • Loading executables on demand: The system only reads the disk of those parts of a program when it is used.
  • Copy-on-write policy for sharing pages between executables: Different processes can use the same memory area to run. When someone tries to write to that memory, the page (4Kb of memory) is copied elsewhere. This copy-on-write policy has two benefits: it increases speed and reduces memory usage.
  • All source code is available including the complete kernel and all drivers, development tools and all user programs; in addition, all this can be freely distributed.
  • TCP / IP, including ftp, telnet, NFS, etc.
  • Its status as an open source operating system makes it possible to take advantage of ongoing advances in software, with programs developed by different people around the world.
  • It guarantees an advanced level of security.
  • Allows greater control of devices.


There are many advantages that can be named, but among the main and most important we can mention the following:

  • It is free and open source software: This means that it is completely free and that users with sufficient computer knowledge can make modifications to the code or add other programs to improve the system, as long as they comply with the laws established for open source and free software.
  • It has a high standard of security level.
  • High performance and system speed.
  • It has a wide range of free programs for your use: This means that there is a wide variety of open source programs and free software available to all GNU / Linux users.


Although the disadvantages are few, it is important to know them, It should be noted that in some of them, different programmers of this system are working to eliminate them and thus improve the user experience, in turn allocating the system to more common people and not strictly for specialized users in the area.

Among the different disadvantages we have:

  • Less intuitive: Its user interface is not the same as that of Windows which has been designed for ordinary users. However, some GNU / Linux distributions have improved this aspect.
  • Fewer drivers for peripherals.
  • Many of the applications and programs are in English only.
  • Support: The different GNU / Linux distributions and the programs used in it do not have a company to support them, or they cannot provide ideal support in case of errors or failures.

What are the main distributions or versions of GNU / Linux and what are their uses?

There are different versions for GNU / Linux and this is due to the uses that the operating system has been intended to give, as well as the versions or updates that have emerged over time.


Debian operating system

It was designed for general use. It is a GNU / Linux distribution made by a community of developers and users who intended to create a 100% free software, this was called the Debian Project.

This system is also considered a mother distribution, since an infinity of distributions were born from Debian such as Ubuntu or Mint.


Ubuntu operating system

Born out of Debian, Ubuntu was designed for general use. It is one of the most used operating systems along with Debian.

It was developed and maintained by the Canonical company, it is characterized by its software compatibility and ease of use comparable to Mac OS X or Windows. It has several versions, among them are: Ubuntu Desktop, Xubuntu, Lubuntu and Ubuntu Server.


Fedora operating system

It was designed primarily for workstations and servers. It is a stable and secure system, it was developed by Red Hat, the same company in charge of its maintenance, which has an international community of engineers, graphic designers and users who report bugs and test the new technologies of programs that are added. Its uses are mainly oriented to software and server development.


openSUSE operating system

Its use is mainly intended for administration of systems and services. Its distribution is sponsored by SUSE Linux GmbH; (an independent division of The Attachmate Group), and AMD. This operating system is created to provide stability, power and to be manageable for really advanced uses, but that have a great facility for all public in general. That is, they are users with advanced knowledge or beginners.

Other totally free distributions based on GNU / Linux

There are other operating systems that are based on GNU / Linux that are totally free and open source free software, which seriously commit to this ideology. These same companies refrain from including non-free applications, manuals and documentation.

They are between them:

  • Dragora GNU / Linux
  • Dyne: bolic
  • GNU Guix
  • Hyperbola GNU / Linux-libre
  • Parabola GNU / Linux
  • PureOS (Librem)
  • Trisquel GNU / Linux
  • UTUTO XS GNU / Linux

What are the differences between the Windows and GNU / Linux operating systems?

Infographic Differences between Linux and Windows

Windows and GNU / Linux are two very different operating systems. The main difference that exists is due to the free and open source software policy implemented by GNU / Linux and the private software policy used by Windows, which indicates that in order to use it, the person who acquires this system must pay to have a license and thus implement it in their personal computer.

It is also that programs and applications available for GNU / Linux systems are completely free and in the same way they come with open source, which allows them to be modified by any user.

While in Windows, acquiring almost any program or application that is required, must be paid in advance and it must not be modified for any reason, doing this without authorization can bring serious legal problems. In Windows you cannot make changes to the source code, as this is illegal and violates license agreements.

In GNU / Linux, all programs must comply with the regulations of being open source, and in some cases free software, (currently there are programs that ignore the GNU initiative to be totally free programs). It is usually the OS used in supercomputers.

What type of license does the GNU / Linux operating system have?

This is known as: GNU General Public License, or also known with its name in English of GNU General Public License, (or simply its acronym in English GNU GPL).

This is a copyright license widely used in the world of free software and open source, which and guarantees end users (people, organizations and companies) the freedom to use, study, share, copy and even modify the software in the way they want without having legal problems.

What is and what are files with the .DEB extension used for?

These packages of .DEB files They are binary documents that contain two types of records, one of them is in charge of keeping the information controlled in the storage, while the other is in charge of managing all the actual data of the program for that package.

Is to say that this Debian software packages are compressed files that are commonly used within the Linux system and its different versions. where they are mainly used to carry out installations on these operating systems. Other important ones are .RPM files, these with this format are those that are used to install programs and software for this operating system.

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