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Table of contents
What is Linux Operating System?
History of Linux OS
Design of Linux OS
How does Linux work
Structure of Linux OS
System Libraries
System Tools
Development Tools
End-User Tools
Why use Linux
Free and Open Source Operating System
Favorable choice of Developers
A flexible Operating System
Architecture of Linux
Open Source
What is Linux Distribution?
How to Install Linux OS
Installing Linux using Virtual Machine
Installing software on Linux Operating System
Ubuntu Software Center
Advance Packaging Tool
Advantage of Linux OS
Disadvantage of Linux OS
Frequently Asked Questions
Which device has Linux operating system?
What is the full form of Linux?
What are 5 basic components of Linux?
What is better Linux or Windows?
Last Updated: Jul 2, 2024

Linux Operating System

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Linux is a free and open-source operating system (OS) created by Linus Torvalds in 1991. Linux was created and developed by developers all around the world. It is based on Unix operating system and has become one of the most popular operating systems as it is supported on every platform.

Linux Operating System

Today, Linux is one of the most stable, secure, and stress-free operating systems worldwide.
Let's learn more about Linux Operating System in the upcoming sections.

What is Linux Operating System?

Linux is an operating system just like Windows OS, iOS, and Mac OS. The Linux operating system powers one of its most popular platforms globally, Android. The Linux operating system may be found on smartphones, autos, supercomputers and home appliances, and home desktops to enterprise servers.

Since the mid-1990s, Linux has been around and has now grown to a global user base. Linux is in your phones, thermostats, automobiles, refrigerators, and televisions. It also gives power to the majority of the Internet and its top 500 supercomputers and stock exchanges.

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History of Linux OS

Linux is an operating system kernel that was created by Linus Torvalds in 1991. He started working on it as a project while studying computer science in Finland. Linus shared his work openly, inviting other programmers to help make it better. This collaboration led to Linux growing quickly and becoming popular among developers and computer enthusiasts. Although Linux started as just a kernel, it needed more software to become a full operating system. This is where the GNU project came in, providing the necessary tools and programs to complement Linux. Together, they formed what people often call “GNU/Linux.”

Design of Linux OS

The Linux Operating System consists of different components:

  1.  Bootloader: The software that controls your computer's boot process is a bootloader. This splash screen will appear and then disappear as the operating system loads for most users.
  2. Kernel: This part of the system is "Linux." The kernel is the system's brain, which controls the CPU, memory, and peripheral devices. The kernel is the OS's most fundamental component.
  3. Init System: The init system is a subsystem that bootstraps the user space and manages daemons. The system is a popular init system that is also contentious. Once the bootloader has given over the initial booting to the init system, the init system oversees the boot process (i.e., GRUB or GRand Unified Bootloader).
  4. Daemons: Background services (printing, sound, scheduling, and so on) that startup during startup or after you log into the desktop are known as daemons.
  5. Graphical Server: This is the component that displays visuals on your screen. The X server, or simply X, is how it's known.
  6. Desktop Environment: The user interacts with the component of his Desktop Environment. Each desktop environment comes with pre-installed programs (such as file managers, configuration tools, web browsers, and games).
  7. Applications: Desktop environments do not come with available programs. Like Windows and macOS, Linux has tens of thousands of high-quality software titles available for download and installation. The current Linux distributions feature App Store-like facilities that centralize and simplify application installation (more on this below). Ubuntu, for example, features the Ubuntu Software Center (a rebrand of GNOME Software), which allows you to rapidly search through hundreds of apps and install them from a single location.

How does Linux work

Linux is a similar UNIX-like operating system that runs on various hardware, from phones to supercomputers. Every Linux-based operating system includes the Linux kernel and a set of software packages to handle hardware resources.

Also included with the Linux OS are specific essential GNU tools for managing kernel resources, installing applications, configuring security to perform, etc. All of these tools are combined to form a working operating system.

Structure of Linux OS

System Libraries

System libraries are specialized applications that assist in using kernel functionality. A kernel must be initiated to complete a task, and this commencing is handled by the apps. However, because each kernel has its system calls, programs must understand how to use them. To connect with the kernel, programmers have created a standard operations library. Each operating system supports these standards, and they are then converted to system calls for that operating system. Glibc is the most well-known Linux system library (GNU C library).

System Tools

The Linux OS comes with various utility tools, often basic commands. It is software created by the GNU project and released under an open-source license, making it freely available to anybody. You can use commands to access your files, edit and manipulate the data in your directories or files, change file locations, etc.

Development Tools

The operating system is up and running with the three components listed above. However, you have extra tools and libraries to upgrade your system. Toolchain refers to the set of additional tools and libraries created by programmers. A toolchain is a crucial development tool developers use to create a functional application.

End-User Tools

These finishing tools distinguish a system for a user. Although essential for the user, the operating system does not require end tools. Graphic design software, office suites, browsers, multimedia players, and other end tools are examples.

Why use Linux

This is one of the most asked questions regarding Linux. Why do we adopt a new, more complicated operating system when we already have one like Windows? 
Linux systems have several characteristics that distinguish them as one of the most widely used operating systems. If you want to avoid viruses, spyware, slowdowns, crashes, costly maintenance, and other issues, Linux may be the best operating system. Furthermore, it has several advantages over other operating systems, and it is free. Let's look at some of the unique characteristics that will convince you to make the switch.

Free and Open Source Operating System

Most operating systems are compiled, which means that the main source code has been run through a compiler program, which converts the source code into a language that the computer understands. It's challenging to change this compiled code. Open-source, on the other hand, is an entirely different thing. The source code is available with the compiled version and can be modified by anyone with basic programming skills. It allows us to run the program, update the code to meet our needs, distribute versions, and distribute copies that we have modified.


Linux has some security features to protect you from viruses, malware, slowdowns, and crashes. It will also protect your information. It is the most preferred alternative for developers because of its security feature. It isn't entirely safe, but it is safer than other options. The admin user must authorize each application. The virus cannot be executed until the administrator delivers the access password. Antivirus software is not required on Linux systems.

Favorable choice of Developers

Linux is ideal for programmers since it supports nearly all of the most popular programming languages, including C/C++, Java, Python, Ruby, and others. It also promotes the development of a variety of useful applications.

Developers prefer the Linux terminal to the Windows command line because they feel the Linux terminal is superior. On a Linux system, the package manager supports programmers in learning how things are done. For programmers, bash scripting is also a helpful feature. SSH support also makes it easier to handle the servers rapidly.

A flexible Operating System

Linux is a versatile operating system used for desktop, embedded, and server applications. From wristwatches to supercomputers, it can be used. It's in our phones, laptops, computers, cars, and even refrigerators. It also has several customizable options.

Architecture of Linux

The architecture of Linux can be understood from various perspectives, including its kernel architecture, system architecture, and the broader ecosystem of software components and hardware support. Here's a simplified overview:

  • Linux Kernel Architecture: At its core, Linux is built around a monolithic kernel architecture, where essential system services such as process management, memory management, device drivers, file system handling, and system calls are all part of the kernel. The Linux kernel provides a layer of abstraction between the hardware and software layers of a computer system, enabling programs (user space) to interact with hardware devices and resources efficiently through system calls.
  • System Architecture: Linux supports a wide range of hardware architectures, including x86, x86-64 (AMD64/Intel 64), ARM, MIPS, PowerPC, and others. The kernel is responsible for managing hardware resources, including processors, memory, storage devices, network interfaces, and input/output (I/O) devices. Linux uses a multi-user, multitasking model where multiple processes can run concurrently, managed by the kernel's scheduler. Each process has its own virtual memory space, providing isolation and protection.
  • Software Ecosystem: Linux distributions (distros) package the Linux kernel along with a collection of software components, utilities, libraries, and package management systems. User space components include the GNU utilities, shell environments (such as Bash), graphical desktop environments (like GNOME and KDE), window managers, text editors, compilers, interpreters (Python, Perl), and application software. Linux also supports a wide range of programming languages and development frameworks, making it suitable for various software development purposes.
  • Device Drivers: Device drivers in Linux are modules that extend kernel functionality to support specific hardware devices. They enable communication between the operating system and hardware peripherals. Linux provides a rich set of built-in device drivers, and additional drivers can be loaded dynamically at runtime.
  • File Systems: Linux supports various file systems, including ext4, Btrfs, XFS, FAT, NTFS, and others. These file systems determine how data is stored, organized, and accessed on storage devices.
  • Networking: Linux includes robust networking capabilities, supporting a wide range of protocols and networking technologies. It provides features such as TCP/IP networking, routing, firewalling, packet filtering, and network device management.
  • Security: Linux offers security features such as user and group permissions, access control lists (ACLs), file system encryption, SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux), AppArmor, and kernel hardening mechanisms to protect against security threats and vulnerabilities.

Open Source

Open-source software allows anyone to view, change and enhance them freely from anywhere. The open-source nature helps to improve these softwares constantly, and different programmers with different mentalities contributing to the project makes it better.

Linux is one of the popular open-source operating systems developed. It is released under GNU General Public License (GPL). Its open-source nature has allowed for its wide adoption and constant development by a global community of contributors. The open-source nature also helped many programmers understand the operating system and create a program according to their needs. 

Some examples of these known Linux distributions are:

  • Ubuntu,
  • Void Linux,
  • RedHat,
  • Oracle Linux,
  • Fedora Linux, etc.

What is Linux Distribution?

Many organizations have changed Linux and created their own Linux distributions. There are numerous Linux distributions on the market. It provides users with an alternative flavor of the Linux operating system. We can select any distribution that meets our requirements. Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, Linux Mint, Arch Linux, and many others are popular distributions.

Ubuntu and Linux Mint are recommended for beginners, while Debian and Fedora are recommended for experienced developers.

How to Install Linux OS

Let's take a look at one the popular way to install Linux in our computers.

Installing Linux using Virtual Machine

Installing a virtual machine allows you to operate Linux on an operating system already installed in your computer. Examples of these virtual machines are Oracle VM, Virtual Box, etc. Let us look at the steps to install Linux using VirtualBox.

Step1: Depending on your Operating system and processor download Virtual Box using this link.

After downloading the setup, open it and follow these steps.

download Virtual Box

Step2: Click on next.

Oracle MV

Step3: Select the location where you want to install VirtualBox in your computer.

install VirtualBox

Step4: Now click on “Yes”.

Network Interfaces

Step5: Click install to install VirtualBox.

oracle VM box

Step6: As the installation of the VirtualBox is completed, click on “Finish” to launch VirtualBox.

Step7: Now, create a machine in VirtualBox by clicking on “New” button.

New button

Step8: In this window, name your OS which you want to install in VirtualBox, in our case UBUNTU. Select a location to save these files, add type as "Linux" and version as “Ubuntu (64bit or 32bit)” depending on your computer processor. Click on next to continue.

Create Virtual Machine

Step9: Now, allocate RAM size to your Operating System. According to your preference you can allocate 1 GB or 2GB of it and click on next.

Hardware MV

Step10: Create a virtual disk. This serves as the hard disk of the virtual Linux system. It is where the virtual system will store its files.

Virtual Hard Disk

Step11: In next window, summary of your Operating system after verifying it you can click on finish to complete the procedure.

Step12: Now we need to download Ubuntu. 

Ubuntu MV

Step13: After downloading UBUNTU, select the machine you created above and click on settings. In this open storage tab, follow the steps shown in image and click on choose the disk file and select the UBUNTU .iso file you downloaded  above.

Download ubuntu

Step14: Now, select the machine and Click on Start. Using arrow keys, select the option “Try or Install Ubuntu” and press Enter.

ubuntu running

Step15: Select the language and click on “Install Ubuntu”.

install ubuntu

Step16: Select your preferred keyboard layout.

Keyboard layout

Step17: Click on continue and proceed. In installation type, select “Erase disk and install Ubuntu” and click install now.

ubuntu type

Step18: Select the country region in next step. After that, enter your details.

Location type

Step19: After few minutes the installation will be completed, and you will see Ubuntu Desktop.

Installing software on Linux Operating System

Many different ways are available for installing software on Linux OS. Let's discuss some of these ways.

Ubuntu Software Center

We can use the Ubuntu Software Center to install any software. You need to select the software you want and click the install button. The installing page gives you detailed information about that specific software.

Ubuntu Software Center

Advance Packaging Tool

Advance Packaging Tool (or ATL) is a package manager. It is used install, update,  remove, etc. software packages. It is a command line package manager that works as a front-end for the dpkg package management system. 

To install packages, run the following command

$ sudo apt install package_name 

For example, lets run this command to install gimp.

command to install gimp

As we can see the installation process has started. Similarly we can also update, remove, etc. packages. 

$ sudo apt remove package_name 
$ sudo apt update package_name

To simply update APT database, you can run the following commands.

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt upgrade

Advantage of Linux OS

Many advantages of Linux make it better than other operating systems. Let's discuss some of these advantages.

  1. Open-source
    Linux is one of the biggest open-source project. This makes easier for programmers to contribute and make changes to the operating system. Anyone can modify its code for any purpose.
  2. Free of cost
    One of the most significant advantages of Linux OS is its free use. Linus Torvalds's main reason for developing Linux was to provide everyone with a free operating system. We do not need any paid license to download and use Linux OS.
  3. Security
    Linux is not entirely 100% secure, but less vulnerable and more secure than other operating systems. We need authorization from the admin user for every program, which protects it from viruses. Therefore, it does not require any antivirus program.
  4. Flexibility
    Linux operating system is very flexible. It can also be used for desktop applications, embedded systems, and server applications. It also provides various restriction options for specific computers. We can install only the necessary components for a system.
  5. Software Updates
    The software updates in the Linux operating system are in user control. Many updates are available, and users can select the required updates. These updates are faster and easier than other operating systems.

Disadvantage of Linux OS

The Linux operating system has some disadvantages, which is why users prefer other operating systems in certain conditions. Let's take a look at these.

  1. Limited Software Availability
    One of the most significant disadvantages of the Linux operating system is the limited availability of software. Many programmers do need to create software for Linux, which means that users won't be able to find popular applications made for Windows, Mac, etc, on Linux.
  2. Adaptation
    For users with less computer knowledge, it can be hard to understand and operate Linux. Terminal use is one of the complex tasks for these users. Terminals are command line interfaces where you need to enter specific commands to complete tasks.
  3. Lack of Hardware Support
    Linux operating system has limited hardware support, which means that users may be unable to use specific hardware with the operating system. For example, a user may be unable to use a particular printer with Linux.
  4. Gaming
    Similar to software, games, too, don't natively support Linux. Because Linux is not a platform that is not widely used, gaming developers are not much interested in Linux. So you cannot expect your favorite game to run on Linux.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which device has Linux operating system?

Linux operates on various devices, including servers, desktop computers, mobile phones (Android), embedded systems, and IoT devices.

What is the full form of Linux?

Linux stands for "Linux is not Unix." It's a recursive acronym highlighting its Unix-like design and functionality.

What are 5 basic components of Linux?

The five components of Linux are the kernel, shells, system libraries, system utilities, and graphical user interfaces. The kernel is the operating system's core responsible for major actions. The system libraries provide a set of functions that applications can use. Shells offer a system-user interface, and system utilities perform various tasks.

What is better Linux or Windows?

There is no answer to whether Linux or Windows is better; users prefer any of these two, depending on their needs. Linux is stable, secure, and flexible, and users who work on open-source prefer Linux more. Windows is better as it is user-friendly and compatible with many software.


In this article, we have discussed Linux operating system. We have discussed history of it and how does it works. We have also explained the structure of it and why do we use it. Linux is an open-source operating system kernel. It forms the core of many different operating systems, often combined with GNU software and other components to create complete operating systems known as Linux distributions. You can also check out our other recommended readings:

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