Skip to content
← Back to Community
What's a Linux?
Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

What is Linux?

Today, I attempt to answer what Linux is, for Windows users.

First of all, let's talk what (technologically) Linux is.

Linux is the Kernel. It controls stuff like your CPU/GPU, RAM, SSD/HDD, Keyboard, Mouse...
Everything like that. But that's not useful, you say. That's wrong, you say.

But it's true, but I'll get to that later. Now, let's look at Linux's genesis.

Who made Linux?

Linux was made in 1991 by our Lord and Savior, Linus Torvalds:

Linus

It was created because Linus was too poor to afford Minix, a UNIX clone.

He GPL'd it, meaning that anyone can use it, change it, and they can't be stopped.

What is a Linux?

Above, if you remember, I said Linux is the kernel. And it is.
People take the kernel, and other tools and make a 'distro', or 'distributions'.
Most people here have a breakdown. They don't understand that they have a choice about what they use.

Some of the more popular distros are:

  • Linux Mint
  • Debian
  • Arch Linux
  • Manjaro (Based on Arch)

How can you use Linux?

There are three main ways to try Linux.

You can use QEMU. If you don't know how to use it, see my tutorial here

This is the safest option, i.e. you can't nuke your files

You can dual boot. This is the worst option, because Windows does not play well with other in the sandbox. I can't help you install it because each computer is different.
** I recommend taking backups of both Win and Linux bi-daily **

There's one more option:

Install Linux.
If you rely on PhotoShop, Fortnite (oof), and other Windows specific apps. dual boot is the best option, although there are risks.

This one has the potential for data loss, but only in transfer.
Linux can, and does, keep a database of every file (all 1,000,000) of them.

Some of the benefits of Linux

Linux has benefits, many more than Windows, in fact.

Let's start with the obvious:

  • Linux can run on anything, even a potato
  • Going off of that, Linux can run on pretty any computer made since 1990 (32 bit)
  • It's open source, so it's super customizable. If someone does not like it, they patch it.
  • It's rock hard.
  • It's insanely fast. My computer turned on in 12 seconds, 7 spent in the bios. That's a five second startup including GRUB. Whereas most windows machines take about 20 seconds.
  • Updates can be installed as fast as they are released (Bleeding edge), or they can be never installed (LTS). Repl is using a Linux distro released two years ago. Do that with Windows.

If you hit a snag switching to Linux, if you do, you can comment down here and I'll be happy to give remote support to an extent.

Happy hacking!

I oppose the Linux subsystem for Windows (Promoted by M$FT as WSL) and do not think it's a real solution.

Voters
Profile icon
ksath214
Profile icon
KraazyBillyy
Profile icon
SixBeeps
Profile icon
leo-ironkey
Profile icon
ironblockhd
Profile icon
CodingGoose
Profile icon
Jakman
Profile icon
SebastianGarc17
Profile icon
sala0599
Profile icon
ARJPEG
Comments
hotnewtop
Profile icon
Wumi4

I feel enjoyable with Linux, my computer is more cooler after install Linux compared to when my computer run Windows. I will install another Linux distro (Zorin OS) to my computer!

Quite off the topic, but there are some good free, open software that you may feel better or more comfortable when use it compare to the Windows specific software or exclusive software. Here it's some of them:
+Snapseed for editing pics
+LibreOffice, OnlyOffice,... for office use
+Krita, Blender for graphics

And so on.

In the case that you want to run Windows apps or play Windows specific games on Steam, you can use Wine, a program that help you run Windows apps on Linux, and Proton, a compatible layer design by Valve, use for running Steam games on your Linux.

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@DangHoang2 I know about all of that. You forgot GIMP, PlayOnLinux and kmines.

Profile icon
DynamicSquid

damn, too poor to afford something so you create your own lol

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@DynamicSquid Hey, that's how it all started.

Profile icon
DynamicSquid

@CodeLongAndPros so the kernal is the thing that controls your computer, and linux is a kernal, and there are distros of linux like Manjaro or Ubuntu and those are OS?

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@DynamicSquid kernel, but yes. The kernel does the filesystem, display, and then systemd starts the services, and then X starts and finally, GNOME (ubuntu uses this dekstop) or Kde (Manjaro uses this desktop) takes control, giving you your desktop.

Profile icon
k9chelsea2

if you rely on fortnite the best advice is to get help.

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@k9chelsea2 I used to play it, but I stopped.

Profile icon
k9chelsea2

good boi

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@k9chelsea2 Just got boring.

Profile icon
k9chelsea2

yeh lol all the dances forced me to take cover apple have earned even more of my respect for kiccing it out of their app store

Profile icon
firefish

@k9chelsea2 Wiser words have never been said.

Profile icon
[deleted]

@k9chelsea2 from -100 to -99 respect for me

Profile icon
renu2119

Linux is an open-source, community-developed Unix-like operating system (OS) for computers, servers, mainframes, mobile devices, and embedded devices. It is one of the most widely supported operating systems, with support for almost every major computer platform, including x86, ARM, and SPARC.
Source:
https://fdfhdh.tribe.so/post/benefits-and-drawbacks-of-using-linux-6271172826554b609d93b1a1

Profile icon
mhmcwatters23

Doesn’t Replit use Fedora Linux or what distro do they use?

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@mhmcwatters23 Ubuntu Linux LTS with Nix

Profile icon
mhmcwatters23

@CodeLongAndPros Cool, thanks.

Profile icon
DynamicSquid

Ooh, I finally got Ubuntu setup on VirtualBox cause screw M$FT. It seems slower than Windows since it's in a VM, so I probably won't use it for anything major. Are there any small things I could do with it?

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@DynamicSquid hmm. It's going to be slower, because vm. You could try:

  • Porting some of your code to Linux
  • Configuring Vim
  • Playing a game like ETR, SuperTuxKart or powder-toy
  • Learn to use APT.
Profile icon
DynamicSquid

@CodeLongAndPros Oh cool, I'll try those out, thanks!

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@DynamicSquid Sure, got any done yet?

Profile icon
DynamicSquid

@CodeLongAndPros I tried installing g++ with sudo apt install g++ but it says waiting for cache lock: could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/front-end. it is held by process 1543

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@DynamicSquid Try rebooting, and then run
kill $(pgrep apt apt-get)

Profile icon
DynamicSquid

@CodeLongAndPros It gives me an error saying: pgrep: only one pattern can be provided

Edit: oh wait nvm I tried installing g++ again and it worked

Profile icon
DynamicSquid

@CodeLongAndPros Ooh, I should install Crystal. Always wanted to try that out

Profile icon
DynamicSquid

@CodeLongAndPros Wait, where does g++ get installed (I also installed cURL)? I check the Administrator root and deleted some of the folders. I can't find g++ or cURL though?

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@DynamicSquid Ok Linux crash course.
You installed g++ with apt (apt install build-essential) right?
You can locate a binary with which. which gcc gives me /usr/bin/gcc

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@DynamicSquid

deleted some of the folders
Oh no. Which ones?

Profile icon
DynamicSquid

@CodeLongAndPros Wow, Linux makes it super easy to install stuff! I have Crystal, a bunch of GNU stuff, and NASM.

Oh, I have a quick question.

I noticed you do D. Is D like C++, but without the standard library? Also is it worth learning?

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@DynamicSquid Yeah dev on Linux is super easy. And d is like python but compiled, kinda.
For example: fib. sequence in D:

int fib(int x) { if (x==1) return 1; return(fib(x-2)+fib(x-1);

Try reading https://tour.dlang.org

Profile icon
DynamicSquid

@CodeLongAndPros A okay. Also, how does apt install work on Linux? Like is there a CDN somewhere? Can I upload my own package?

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@DynamicSquid Well there are things called mirrors, and yes. The AUR is a huge repo of software, I've put stuff in there. https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/fetchutils-git
For Ubuntu make a PPA

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@DynamicSquid (apt only works on Debian-derived distros. My distro, Artix uses pacman)
It will download a "deb" file and extract it into the file system.

Profile icon
DynamicSquid

@CodeLongAndPros Ah cool, thanks!

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@DynamicSquid but for Debian based distros you'd usually make a .deb file and let them download it and install with sudo apt install ./filename.dev

Profile icon
programmeruser

It was created because Linus was too poor to afford Minix, a UNIX clone.

Actually, I'm pretty sure that Linux Torvalds read a book that came with the source code of Minix and Linus used that.

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@programmeruser No not this again.
Linux was made totally independent from MINIX.
It was like minix, but minix was like UNIX, and Linux is like UNIX.
From Wikipedia:

Development was done on MINIX using the GNU C Compiler.

Profile icon
programmeruser

@CodeLongAndPros you said that Linus couldn't afford Minix, but that's not true, it was an example OS that had its source code released in a os dev book.

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@programmeruser Ohhh yeah. He didn't like minix and was toor poor for Unix

Profile icon
programmeruser

@CodeLongAndPros also, you could write a linux iso to a usb and boot from that. And I got a linux as you suggested but it's inside a virtual machine

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@programmeruser Yeah but stuff like Puppy, Knoppox and Tails don't have tons of drivers.

Profile icon
programmeruser

@CodeLongAndPros what do you mean they don't have tons of drivers?

Profile icon
programmeruser
Profile icon
[deleted]

wtf, how does anyone not know wat linux is bro

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros
Profile icon
SixBeeps

To be honest, I had Mint running alongside Win10 for a good bit, then my Mint partition decided to die. It ended up being okay for my use case, but I'm probably never gonna put Linux on here again simply because it disliked my hardware.

EDIT: I shoulda known better to say a partition died. It did not die, the OS on the partition just failed to function properly.

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@SixBeeps That’s probably windows…

It likes to eat GRUB and “repair” your root partition
Profile icon
SixBeeps

@CodeLongAndPros It wasn't a bootloader issue. I could still load in to GRUB (heck, I think it also recognized both OSs on there) but for whatever reason, after installing Torch, Mint just wouldn't recognize any of my USB devices.

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@SixBeeps uh ok

Profile icon
firefish

I wish I could just pacman -R windows, but boy is that impractical, like half of my dev stuff like visual studio is only available on windows.

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@firefish Why? Mono works on Linux.

Profile icon
firefish

@CodeLongAndPros I know, but I have a lot of old projects that only get built with Visual Studio and aren't CIL based that I use quite often, because they're written in Visual Basic.

Profile icon
[deleted]

your forgetting something. WSL

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@sheepsbleat
Here, I think you dropped this:

I oppose the Linux subsystem for Windows (Promoted by M$FT as WSL) and do not think it's a real solution.

Profile icon
[deleted]
Profile icon
HahaYes

@CodeLongAndPros calamares installer is a nightmare

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@HahaYes Have you seen the arch installer? Boots to a cli and then says “read the wiki”

Profile icon
HahaYes
Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@HahaYes huh wuru is off the board

Profile icon
HahaYes

@CodeLongAndPros yeah because his name is now justawalrus.

Profile icon
firefish

@HahaYes Wuru the UwU or Wuru the Walrus... they're the same

Profile icon
HahaYes

Squid are you alive @DynamicSquid

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@HahaYes I NOW USE ARCH BTW

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@HahaYes Also want to make a Replit wiki?

Profile icon
HahaYes

@CodeLongAndPros uh isn't KDE basically arch

Profile icon
HahaYes
Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@HahaYes kde is the k de, arch is a distro.

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@HahaYes Thing is it has to have a database for edits.

Profile icon
HahaYes
Profile icon
DynamicSquid

@HahaYes ya sorry got distracted i was writing a tutorial on memoization (coming out tmr)

Profile icon
DynamicSquid

@HahaYes lol you imported night

Profile icon
AmazingMech2418

By the way, WSL is really just a VM system for Linux in Windows. It's not too good with desktop stuff, but it at least works. Also, VirtualBox/VMWare are two other good options! Of course it will be a little slower, but at least it won't have the side-effects of dual-boot! Also, for people who need help understanding what a kernel is, it is pretty much a foundation for an operating system. Also, seriously? No Debian-derivatives? All Ubuntu and Kali users are now sad. LOL! (also, it should be "Promoted by" at the end...)

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@AmazingMech2418 the thing it, it’s not a VM. They are going to ship the kernel with it, so people won’t install a VM, since they can just use Microsoft Linux

Profile icon
AmazingMech2418

@CodeLongAndPros Well, WSL2 uses Hyper-V which is the Windows built-in VM system, so I'd call WSL a VM. However, it is faster than like VirtualBox or VMWare since it is a kernel actually on the Windows computer.

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@AmazingMech2418 It's an EEE.

Profile icon
AmazingMech2418

@CodeLongAndPros Though, with the whole "Microsoft Linux", aren't there rumors of Microsoft wanting to buy Canonical?

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@AmazingMech2418 yeah, but Canonical only owns snap.

Profile icon
AmazingMech2418

@CodeLongAndPros And Ubuntu... Most Ubuntu-derivatives are separate, but the base version of Ubuntu is owned by Canonical.

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@AmazingMech2418 They don't have the rights to any of it. GNOME and Linux, Apt is safe. Just snap.

Profile icon
AmazingMech2418

@CodeLongAndPros Well, yeah. That's because Ubuntu is mostly just Debian with a few extra things added, but the configuration of everything that is used to make Ubuntu is owned by Canonical.

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@AmazingMech2418 Yeah but I don't like ubuntu.

Profile icon
AmazingMech2418

@CodeLongAndPros Honestly, the only reason people use it is because it's easy. LOL! That's why I want to try Arch!

Profile icon
doineednumbers

@CodeLongAndPros I am personally worried because I rely on a system that relies on Ubuntu :(. Also, if Microsoft changes the license, we can't have Ubuntu derivatives like Mint. Though since it's based on Debian, I don't think they can even do that.

Profile icon
AmazingMech2418

@doineednumbers They could just switch to Debian-derivative.

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@doineednumbers What the heck?
Ubuntu is owned by Canonical, not M$

Profile icon
AmazingMech2418

@CodeLongAndPros They're saying if Microsoft acquires Canonical...

Profile icon
NoelB33

Sometimes I basically use Linux just for the terminal

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@NoelB33 I use Linux for freedom.

Profile icon
NoelB33
Profile icon
HahaYes

YES SIR MANJARO FTW

Profile icon
AmazingMech2418

@HahaYes But, does Manjaro have super cow powers? I'm still kind of new to Linux, but I've grown to like Debian-derivatives a lot, although, I haven't really tried any others. LOL! I do want to try like Fedora and Arch and stuff, but personally, I like Debian-derivatives like Kali and Ubuntu and, of course, Debian.

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@AmazingMech2418 It’s bleeding edge. I’m running Kernel 5.8 and Gcc 10, whereas Debian is on python 3.6

Profile icon
HahaYes

@CodeLongAndPros is this where I switch to ubuntu to make Codelong mad?

Profile icon
HahaYes

@CodeLongAndPros AARGH YOU HAVE PASSED ME I MUST WIN

Profile icon
HahaYes

@AmazingMech2418 lmao apt-get moo gang

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@HahaYes Ubuntu is the stepping stone into Linux.

Profile icon
HahaYes
Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@HahaYes But Manjaro is as well.

Profile icon
HahaYes

@CodeLongAndPros manjaro kde is INSANE like just too good

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@HahaYes arch has updates faster, manjaro is 1/2 weeks behind....

Hey, I forgot to update today!

Profile icon
AmazingMech2418

@CodeLongAndPros Nice! I actually want Arch to be my main distro on my next computer (planning on tri-booting Arch, Ubuntu MATE, and Kali, but with Arch as the main one).

Profile icon
AmazingMech2418

@CodeLongAndPros Well, Manjaro is an Arch-derivative like Ubuntu is a Debian-derivative.

Profile icon
avpimblesr1

@AmazingMech2418 If you favor Debian-derivatives, you may want to try LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition). The Debian Edition is, of course, based off Debian. There is another edition based off Unbuntu.

The Mint camp decided to create the Debian Edition in case some future event would make the use of Unbuntu to restrictive or impossible.

Profile icon
HahaYes

@avpimblesr1 I'd rather use KDE

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros
Profile icon
HahaYes
Profile icon
firefish

@HahaYes KDE is the best WM out there, GNOME is the worst thing invented

Profile icon
DungeonMaster00

i use ubuntu

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@nk1rwc

I use Arch BTW.

Profile icon
Bookie0

Screen Shot 2020-08-24 at 5.43.29 PM

is that an earing? or is it just hanging from his...cheek?

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@Bookie0 It's a microphone. Most photos of him are at conferences/ted

Profile icon
Bookie0
Profile icon
Bookie0

lmaoo @CodeLongAndPros that kinda looks like jesus ngl

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@Bookie0 pls no.

Profile icon
Bookie0

@CodeLongAndPros ? uh ok then

Profile icon
zplusfour

my dad has windows computer
but he downloads linux to program on it!

but he told me that I'll install linux when I have big projects (smh)
btw thank you for the tutorial ;)

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@ZDev1 I use Linux when I want to be free.

Profile icon
zplusfour

@CodeLongAndPros rly?
I am a 12 yrs old kid maybe I'll get it when I grow up

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@ZDev1 I'm still in middle school and use it every day.

Profile icon
zplusfour

@CodeLongAndPros ok nice
but I'll try later
thanks

Profile icon
Codemonkey51

One way to run Linux and Windows is wsl you can check that out here

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@Codemonkey51 I oppose WSL and do not want to endorse it as a replacement for a full Linux install.

Profile icon
Codemonkey51
Profile icon
AmazingMech2418

@CodeLongAndPros WSL is not a replacement for a full Linux install. It is just a VM to use some Linux tools on a Windows computer. I personally use WSL currently and really want to make my next computer run on Linux (still need my Windows computer for stuff like AutoCAD for my Drafting class and stuff). Also, the Raspberry Pi is a great way to get started with Linux! I have three of them (two 3B+s and one 4), although I only have one up and running (my Pi 4 doesn't work with my monitor and I haven't yet flashed an SD for my second 3B+).

Profile icon
JustAWalrus

Unix was a clone of Minix. The opposite of what you said.

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@Wuru No.

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros

@Wuru Minix (from "mini-Unix") is a POSIX-compliant (since version 2.0),[4][5] Unix-like operating system based on a microkernel architecture.

Profile icon
JustAWalrus

Guess my sources are wrong. @CodeLongAndPros

Profile icon
CodeLongAndPros