Today we did not find exact figures that show the number of GNU / Linux users in the world And doing an evaluation is not a simple task. But, if we put together various sources obtained on the internet, the sum could be between 10 and 20 million people who have a computer running on this operating system.
The numbers show that there are still millions of people who, although they have a computer and connect to the internet, they stick with the most commercial systems as are Windows and MacOS, leaving only around 3% of the quota for Linux, that although it has succeeded in other areas, at the desktop level they have not managed to do so.
In this guide, you will find many elements about this operating system that has already been three decades since its development. There are details of the GNU / Linux functions, versions, evolution and programs that you should know to convince you that there is a useful life beyond Windows.
What is GNU / Linux and what is this operating system for computers for?
GNU / Linux is an operating system that provides the necessary tools so that the computer runs the rest of the programs. In this case, Linux is the core of the GNU project they develop volunteers for free. Linux is used to make all the components of a computer work, it is used worldwide to control servers and supercomputers dedicated to specific tasks.
The operating system is also used to recover lost data or to audit Wi-Fi networks, among many actions it performs. In addition to being an operating system, they are a huge community of developers, designers and professionals of all kinds who try to make Linux a stable tool, accessible and truly competitive with its rival colossi.
History of Linux When was this OS created and how has it evolved so far?
The GNU project took its first steps in the 1980s under the guidance of Richard Stallman. Already for the year 1985 the Free Software Foundation, which gave the initiative a legal framework. However, it is in 1991 when the first version of the operating system appears presented by a computer science student named Linus torvalds who was living at a university in Helsinki, Finland.
As of October 5, 1991, updates begin to appear, until in 1992 the first commercial version came out under the name of Yggdrasil. The first stable version was named Debian, that paved the way for Ubuntu in 2004 and from there have come countless distributions that, although they are not so common in desktop computers, are popular in servers and in internationally recognized companies.
What are the most interesting features and functions of the GNU / Linux operating system?
This environment has powerful features that have led most of the world’s servers to use it in their operation. But besides that, it is stable, free and lightweight.
Let’s see in detail its main benefits for users:
- It is open source: hundreds of people give it their creative touch so no keys or licenses are required to install it.
- Fits seamlessly: it can work with any type of device, be it mobile, laptop or desktop.
- Provides security: Being free, it does not have virus threats and if they exist, its architecture and processes do not allow them to remain active.
- Offers stability: the failure rate is minimal, so it can run for months at full capacity.
- Includes various distributions: Linux variants are found for particular functions and different devices.
- It is multitasking: it has the ability to run multiple programs simultaneously without affecting the performance of the operating system.
- Devices can be controlled: the user has the computer’s drivers and can install others if needed, which gives independence to solve a problem.
- Can be customized: According to the needs and requirements, each user can adjust their interface and source code.
- It has network support: it is easily coupled to communications applications, supporting various physical and virtual network interfaces.
- It is multi-user: Simultaneously, users can access system resources and applications.
Linux versions and distributions What are they and which are the best that have been created so far?
A distribution or distro, as they are also known, is a full custom version of the operating system built with the Linux kernel. It usually includes many applications that are included in the package and that can be easily installed. There are hundreds of distributions available and it would take a long time to talk about all of them.
Therefore, here we will describe five of the most used and their main characteristics:
- Debian– Released in 1996 and has been the starting point for other distributions. It is one of the main options in the installation of servers and workstations. Some programs that are already included are VLC, LibreOffice, GIMP and various web browsers.
- Tails: distribution that is based on Debian and among its main features is the protection of user privacy. It is possible to run it from the USB stick if you don’t want to install it on the hard drive. The desktop is GNOME and some of the pre-installed programs are LibreOffice and Audacity.
- Linux Mint: According to data collected, this distribution is currently the one most downloaded by users. Its installation is simple, it has multimedia support from the start and it is compatible with many environments. In addition, it uses few resources and its updates are well studied.
- Fedora: For those who like to be up to date with Linux, here is the right distribution. Releases news a few weeks apart from recent versions of the programs. On the other hand, it presents options for the cloud, servers and workstations.
- Zorin: This distribution is perfect to adapt to Linux, what’s more, it was created so that you feel comfortable if you are used to Windows. It has a large app store that can be easily installed and is attractive to media creators for its pre-installed collection of solutions.
Linux vs Windows vs MacOS What is the best operating system for computers that you can install?
Each operating system has its characteristics, differences and benefits. In the end, the decision it will depend on the use you are going to give it and from budget that you have available to invest in a computer.
What we will do now is see which one excels in each of the following five points:
All three are capable of maintaining the user interface graphically. But nevertheless, MacOS takes the points, being more consistent and clean than the other options. The browser offers different preview options and tabs for browsing the contents. The second place is for Windows which has some inconsistencies in the control panels. Finally we let Linux, that in this particular it must still advance.
As contradictory as it may seem, Linux is the most secure although it is the least used. It has fewer problems with viruses, it can be used on any computer, to use it you must have some computer knowledge and as it is open source there are many people willing to correct its errors. Windows and MacOS they follow him in matters of security.
In this regard, Linux also has the advantage. Privacy measures give the user the option to browse the web without fear anonymously. Being open source, you can configure what data you share, a situation that is not possible one hundred percent in Windows, in which a lot of personal information is collected.
Here the first place is for Windows, because most programs are created for this platform, so it is easy to get variety. Almost any software that is needed is available, since a high number of users have it installed on their operating system. What’s more, Windows developer community triples Linux community.
In performance and resource optimization, we also put the tab on Linux. It requires less amount of memory to run your operating system. For example, the heavier versions can work with a maximum of 2GB, Meanwhile in Windows and Mac recommended to use 4GB. Even the minimum of RAM now that it hits the market Windows 11 is 4 Gb, so that 6 Gb is recommended for office automation tasks.
List of the best Linux programs that you should install on your computer to get the most out of the operating system
Because of the popularity of Linux, new programs come out every day that are compatible with the distributions.
They are generally free and will help you unleash the full potential of your computer:
This application turn your computer into a multimedia center with a configurable graphical interface. It has versions for different operating systems and gives the option to connect to Internet TV channels, as well like Youtube and SoundCloud.
The leading application for office functions on Linux is this. It is somewhat similar to Microsoft Office in Windows with alternatives to Word, Excel Y PowerPoint. In each update it offers improvements to provide a pleasant user experience. It is also a free package and that makes it very attractive.
If what you need is a photo editor with advanced functions, you should not stop installing GIMP. Edit the images regardless of the format and you can make the modifications and place the filters on them just as you would in Photoshop, placing layers and masks. When your work is done, save the files in whatever settings you want.
This tool allows you to take screenshots to a specific area or to the entire environment. After they are done, you can edit, name or annotate them, with the large number of options it offers. It is also a no-cost option for Linux users.
We end with this free video editor that you have all the tools to do a professional job. Effects, animations and layout are some of the functions that are available in the free version of the program for Linux.