What is it?

Linux is an open source operating system that is increasingly used in all communication applications. An operating system basically provides a platform from which everything on your computer can run. Linux is a bit special. One of the things that distinguish it from its counterparts is the fact that Linux is much less likely to be infected by viruses. It is said that only very specialised Linux users will find it necessary to install anti-virus software. 90% of the world's super computers currently run a version of Linux. Security is a key feature in its design and high level encryption is provided as standard. As Linux is open-source, a wide range of developers across the world have, and continue to contribute to its advancement.

Modern Day Applications

One of the more popular uses involves using this software to access files on a hard drive, especially in situations where accessing the hard drive is difficult. This can be done where passwords are lost or the device is unable to boot. CDS that assist you in troubleshooting this form of problem are known as rescue discs.

The Linux software also has applications within web hosting. An example of Linux based hosing is offered by the firm Dreamhost.

Another use for the software is found in personal automation. This is when you automate devices in your home using Linux. For example you could automate the lighting, play music, run photo frames and control the room temperature; all with a basic knowledge of Linux. A Linux box could also be used as a dedicated home server.

User Groups

These Linux user groups are informal non-profit organizations that deal with the Linux operating system. They exist to promote sharing of Linux based software and also offer support. These groups are organized according to geographical location as well as other characteristics, like educational purposes for example. The main activity of these groups is mainly social networking. This is predominantly achieved via mailing lists. Seminars and meetings are common, further enhancing the spread of the operating system. At gatherings, users often bring along their personal computers along with software they would like to have installed. More experienced users assist in these installations and often troubleshoot problems for new members.

MIREA Unix User Group also known as the Moscow State Institute of Radio Engineering, Electronics and Automation is one such group.

How Linux is built

Although Linux has several uses in modern technology, the majority of us are unaware of how this collaborative community project came about.. and how it functions. The Linux foundation is a non-profit organisation that sponsors Linux developers around the world. Founded in 2007, Linux powers 98% of PCs, servers and financial transactions in the world. This is an open source project started by Linus Torvalds who at the time embarked on this journey for fun. The Linux foundation's main purpose is to provide a collaborative infrastructure to continue with the original goal.

How to learn about Linux

If you are a beginner and would like to learn more about Linux you can visit the website. This is effectively a Linux magazine, so you'll find a wealth of information.

Getting Started

Before you start experimenting with Linux you are advised to back up your data. This is to protect against accidents. A live disc is a CD from which you can use the operating system without direct installation. Using the software in this manner renders it slower than if it were installed on your hard drive. To start the process the live disc is placed in the CD-ROM and the computer device is rebooted. When the screen with the manufacturer's logo appears you should hit one of Del, F2 or F12. This should then show a menu displaying various options, one of which will allow you to boot from the CD in your drive. If you are using the recommended version Ubuntu then after the Linux intro has shown you should select Ubuntu with Gnome. This will then load the Linux operating system and take you to your desktop.

Though they may initially look similar, the Linux interface is different. The point and click use of a mouse is the same as other popular OS's. You will notice that Linux comes with certain applications installed by default.