Cyber 101
Operating Systems
Networking Fundamentals
4. Immersive Labs

2.2.1 What is Linux? (video + text)

This first topic includes a video lesson and text which you will need to read.

Some of the labs in the Linux section of pre-course can be very tricky. If it’s your first time working with Linux (it will be for many of you), then we recommend looking at this additional resource:

Video Lesson

Text Lesson

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.

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, you can be a Linux system administrator. This 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. 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. 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 pre-course or on the full CAPSLOCK course, so you don’t need to prepare your computer or set anything up (but you’re free to explore this if you want to!).