Join Scott Simpson for an in-depth discussion in this video What is Linux and where do you start?, part of Introduction to Linux.
- [Instructor] Linux is the name we give to operating systems that are built around the Linux kernel. There's no single Linux operating system, and operating systems that are based on the Linux kernel are referred to as Linux distributions. Linux is based on the idea of free and open source software, software whose source code we can view, edit, and change to suit our needs. The Linux world is enormous, and Linux can be used for everything from running huge global networks to controlling electronic projects like a Raspberry Pi. Linux can be your everyday desktop environment at home or at school, your software development platform at work, and it even runs some of the world's largest and most powerful supercomputers. All of these applications share the same basic components, a kernel, a user space, files and resources, and so on. If that sounds complicated, don't worry. We'll take a look at each of these ideas and components in more detail later on, and I'll recommend courses for you to explore in order to dive even deeper, if you're interested to do so. Linux runs in a wide array of places, and that means that there are many different kinds of people who have many different jobs or roles where they use Linux. For example, I'm primarily a system administrator. My skillset in Linux revolves around setting up, configuring, and maintaining Linux systems that are intended to be used for specific purposes. Many people work with the source code of the kernel directly as software developers or as hardware developers, to enable the kernel to work with new hardware and new technologies. Another large group of people who use Linux are developers who work outside the kernel, to create software for productivity, like office suites, image editors, chat apps, and more. Many software developers use Linux for their coding and programming work. And an enormous amount of the services we use on the web are hosted on Linux servers. And many people use Linux to get other creative and productive work done. These are writers, video editors, artists, musicians, scientists, analysts, and all kinds of professionals, hobbyists, and explorers, who may not care about the technical details of the kernel or of software development, but who want to use free and open source software and operating systems. Linux is for all of these people because Linux is for everybody. Chances are you're here because you're interested to learn about using Linux for one reason or another. You may be an aspiring kernel developer, a system administrator coming to Linux from another operating system, a software developer who needs to become familiar with working in the Linux environment, or someone who wants to build robots or home automation or self-driving cars. Or you may be someone who wants to focus on using software tools on the desktop and not worry about anything under the hood. In any case, the goal this course is to give you an introduction to what Linux is and to provide you some recommendations for extending your learning. There aren't many prerequisites for this course, aside from having a general high-level understanding of how to use a computer. If you have experience using Windows or Mac iOS, those skills can transfer over to a Linux environment pretty easily. We won't be installing Linux in this course, so you don't need to prepare your computer or set anything up. I'll be using an installation of Linux to show you a few things, and I'll point out resources along the way that will get you started installing and using Linux when you've decided which path to take and where your first steps will go.