Sharpen your Linux Vocabulary

Linux Vocabulary

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Brush up your Vocabulary It’ll always pay off.

We have seen a large number of mundane, how-to articles on Linux in the past few days on this website. Having a strong belief that it would have helped the geeks and pro’s to brush up their skills and the newbies to dirty their hands with at least a few Linux distro’s, let’s move on to a different stage today where we shall learn and remember some basic terminologies which we would probably come across in day-to-day Linux world.

Remember, there is no limit to this list. Henceforth, I’ll try to add whatever I can at this point of time. I wish this article was a Wiki page so that all you Linux lovers can update it to keep it fresh, forever! However, you may append any new words you come across as a comment to this post.

Here we go in an alphabetical order:

  • APT: Advanced Packaging Tool.This tool is responsible for simplification of process which involves managing packages on Linux by automating the retrieval, configuration and installation. Generally, you’ll find APT on a Debian based distro.
  • Bash: Bourne Again Shell is generally known to be the default shell in most Linux distributions. When someone refers to a shell or the command line it is the Bash shell what they are usually referring to.
  • CLI: The CLI is known as the Command Line Interface. When you open a terminal, or if you do not use a Window Manager, or X11, you are operating on what is often abbreviated as the CLI.
  • Dependency: A application, library, or development set that a package depends upon to work.
  • Distro: A short form of – Distribution, a distro is a set of programs combined with the Linux kernel which together creates an Operating System.
  • GNOME: It is one of the few available desktop environment for Linux. Gnome is the default desktop on the popular Ubuntu distribution, which we have referred to in our previous articles.
  • GRUB: It is a boot loader for Linux. Allows users to have several different Operating Systems on their system at once, and choose which one to run when the computer boots.
  • KDE: KDE or the K Desktop Environment, is desktop environment for Linux workstations, something similar to GNOME but different visualization and default set of applications and tools.
  • Kernel: The core, or the brain of a Linux operating system. The kernel is what controls the hardware and makes them interact with the software. It is what every Linux distro is built upon.
  • LILO: Linux Loader is pretty similar to Grub in its functionality. However, different in terms of its fabrication. LILO is again a boot loader for Linux. LILO usually writes to the Master Boot Record (MBR) on your device.
  • Linus Torvalds: I doubt you’ll need this! But the letter “L” reminds me his name before anything else. The man who wrote the first Linux kernel in 1991.
  • Man: Short form for manual. If you need some help about an available command on the terminal, just type – man (command name).
  • Root: The superuser account on all Linux systems.
  • RPM: A package manager, which can be used to build, install, verify, update, and remove individual software packages. RPM is used by default on the Red Hat and Fedora distributions.
  • Sudo: Stands for Super User DO and allows a user to have a temporary root access without logging in as root.
  • Tux: The name of the Linux mascot – A Penguin.
  • YAST: Stands for Yet Another Setup Tool. Typically used on the SuSE distro. Yast is a setup and configuration tool.
  • YUM: An automated update program which can be used for maintaining systems using rpm. Yum is also used on Red Hat and Fedora by default.
  • X / X11: Also known as the X Window System, X is a windowing system that provides the standard toolkit and protocol with which to build graphical user interfaces (GUIs). KDE and GNOME are built upon X11.

The list is endless, keep pouring in your comments and suggestions. Remember, more than actually being difficult, Linux has been taught to be so. We would like to adhere to a new statement saying, Linux is different and not necessarily difficult.

Which Linux distro is right for you?

Linux Distros

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Linux DistrosWhich one do you have?

In our earlier article — the Art of Linux — we saw some prominent features of the *NIX based operating system – Linux. The actual power of Linux can only be unleashed once we have an installation at our disposal. So before we move ahead in our quest of mastering Linux, we shall have to to make sure that each one of us have at least a copy of Linux installed on their machines. This shall allow you to have a hands-on experience with stuffs we discuss over here. I am sure most of you would already be having a Linux distro on their desktops/notebooks, but we shall not lose out on the newbies too!

Today, most of the students and would-be-geeks crave for a Linux distro (or may be, more of them). With the development of rich GUI enabled installation procedures and the introduction of live-CDs, installing a popular Linux distro is a matter of minutes. Gone are those days when you needed to compile the kernel from the source for days or months and then debug it, repeatedly!

Linux is available in various flavors depending upon one’s needs and desires. Primarily, a Linux distribution is categorized as – rpm based or deb based. This classification is based on the kind of package manager the distro has. Each distro has a Linux kernel coupled with an intuitive GUI and a host of software’s or packages depending upon the genre of the distro – who are the targeted users?

To know the details of various Linux distributions, I would recommend a website: Distrowatch. This is a perfect platform to learn about various distros – what do they offer, whom are they intended for and how good are they.

Still confused?

Try out this Linux Quiz by polishlinux to help you know which distro fits you.

My personal recommendation for a newbie is Ubuntu – a popular Linux distro. It is getting popular day by day due to the kind of community based support it has. It is also has a great, out-of-the box Wi-Fi support. Moreover, its has a rich repository of software.

If you’ve been using a Windows or a Mac for several years, you would take some time to adjust to the new interface and a completely different file organization schema which a *NIX based system has had over the past 35 years. But once you get accustomed to this operating system and its Command Line Interface (CLI), administering Linux would be a cake walk. You might just not feel like bothering your boot menu to switch to any other operating system!

Now, take a leap and decide which distro is for you. You can download Ubuntu, the free installation CD/DVD from the distro’s website. You may even order your free and they’ll ship it to a destination of your choice.

So, with the advent of next-in-the-series article, we all shall have a Linux distro running on our computers. I hope that’s easier than said for you. Stay connected!