Linux is built with a certain set of unifying principles in mind. Understanding these principles is very helpful in understanding how the system works as a whole. They are known as the "Linux Way", which is derived from the philosophy behind the UNIX system.
The Linux Way can be summarized as:
Most traits of Linux are a consequence of these principles. In accordance with them, a Linux system is built out of small, replaceable components. We will examine the most important of them in more detail. Those are: the boot loader, the kernel, the shell, the X window server, the window manager and the desktop environment. After that, we will have a look at the file system in Linux. Finally, we will discuss the security of a computer running Linux.
This is the part of the system that is executed first. When you have only one operating system installed, it simply loads the kernel. If you happen to have multiple operating systems or multiple versions of the Linux kernel installed, it allows you to choose which one you want to start. The most popular bootloaders are GRUB (GRand Unified Bootloader) and LILO (LInux LOader). Most users don't need to care about the boot loader, because it is installed and configured automatically.
The kernel is the central component of the system that communicates directly with the hardware. In fact, the name "Linux" properly refers to a particular kind of this piece of software. It allows programs to ignore the differences between various computers. The kernel allocates system resources like memory, processor time, hard disk space and external devices to the programs running on the computer. It separates each program from the others, so that when one of them encounters an error, others are not affected. Most users don't need to worry about the kernel in day-to-day use, but certain software or hardware will require or perform better with certain kernel versions.
The shell is a textual interface that allows you to run programs and control the system by entering commands from the keyboard. Without a shell (or something that can replace it, like a desktop environment) it would be hard to make your system actually do something. The shell is just a program - there are several different shells for Linux, each of them offering different features. Most Linux systems use the Bourne Again Shell (Bash). Linux shells support multitasking (running several programs at once).
X Window Server
The X window server is a graphical replacement of the command shell. It is responsible for drawing graphics and processing input from the keyboard, mouse, tablets and other devices. The X server is network transparent, that is, it allows you to work in a graphical environment both on your own computer as well as on a remote computer that you connect to across a network. The X server that is most used today is X.Org. Most graphical programs will only need the X server to run, so you can use them under any window manager and desktop environment.
The window manager is a program that communicates with the X server. Its task is managing windows. It is responsible for drawing the window borders, bringing a window to the front when you click it, moving it on the screen and hiding them when you minimize a program. Examples of popular window managers are:
Desktop environments, like GNOME Desktop Environment, KDE and Xfce, are collections of programs designed to present a consistent user interface for most common tasks. This is the thing most people think about when they say "operating system" even though it is only a piece of the larger operating system. Replacing the desktop environment is a rather complex task, so most new users should stay with the default environment offered by their distribution.
Wow! Only a few months after the release of the first beta version of Ubuntu Linux 'Quantal Quetzal,' a third beta version is now available for download. What's new with the the newest version of Ubuntu? With the release of Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2 many new features have been integrated into the operating system not previously seen.
(1) For starters there is now one consolidated installation image file. Gone are the days of needing to choose the appropriate download file. With the download of one image file all builds of Ubuntu will be available to install.
(2) With this latest release we also see the integration of the Logical Volume Manager (LVM) and support for complete disk encryption. Surely this will prove critical for users who require this level of security and privacy like financial institutions and government agencies.
(3) 2D no more. Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2 will only run the Unity GUI in 3D mode however, users with out the hardware necessary for hardware acceleration will not be left out. By default Unity now runs in 3D but, if the gpu is not capable Unity will force the CPU to perform the necessary processes.
(4) Update Manager. The update manager has been changed and renamed to Software Manager. It will now check for updates on start up.
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS release.
The newest release of Ubuntu is here and it offers more features than ever. The 12.04 release is very similar to the 11.04 and 11.10 releases when comparing the overall user experience. If you have not used the previous versions that much you may not even notice any differences in the gui. In fact many of the features are the same. This release however offers long term support which provides users with multiple support packages throughout the life of 12.04 LTS.
This website is designed to provide Ubuntu users with useful tutorials, helpful links, insights, tips and just about anything else a new Ubuntu user may have problems with. Below you will find links to some Ubuntu 12.04 LTS resources.