The good side of Linux

Hello internet bloggers, my name is Omar Jair, and I’m going to talk about my experiences with some operating systems based on the Linux kernel and express my point of view, as well as offer some good arguments about why computers are better with Linux. First of all, let me say that I won’t express hateful feelings towards Windows or Mac OsX, because I know those two have their good things too.

First, Linux can do the “Lazarus” technique. We all have an old computer sitting around at home, basically useless, since it doesn’t run any modern operating systems like Windows 8 or 10. Some of them are actually left for dead when you can still extract a few more drops of juice out of them until they get really useless. Most old computers have a 1Ghz processor and 1GB of RAM, which in modern days is basically nothing when it comes to a normal computer. Fortunately though, most linux distros support a lot of architectures like ARM, AMD, Intel, i386, PPC, and more, making it installable almost anywhere.

Second, and one of the most important points, is security. Linux has a very strong sense of security when it comes to protecting the final user and their important files. Not even administrators can do whatever they want to install, modify, change, or move files. For certain processes you need to have a very peculiar set of powers we call “SuperUser Powers” which in human terms mean to be Root, the highest rank in the administration chain, and only a superuser can have full control of the system. By the way, you don’t have to download any software directly from the internet if you feel it’s not secure, because you can always go to your trusted local repositories and download all the good software you need.

Third, and one of my favorites, customization. Linux is very, very customizable, to the point that in some distros you can even customize up to the kernel level and still go on. KDE for example is one of the most liked Desktop environments, because you can customize every single pixel if you wanted to, and there are several desktop environments to choose from, some heavy like Cinnamon, Unity, and KDE, and some semi-heavy like GNOME, Pantheon, or DeepinDE. Some are super light like XFCE, LXDE, and even Openbox. The choice is yours and your creativity is the limit.

Now another thing that most linux distributions offer is a clean and pure install, not like Ubuntu, but rather like Debian or Fedora which offers a system that “just works”, which means that there won’t be any bloatware in the system (but of course if you are a sysadmin you will probably hate systemd). Unlike Ubuntu which comes with tons of bloatware, many software centers, and some other useless things like a screen reader or a screen keyboard.

One of my personal favorites is Debian. Debian is the father of many distributions like Bunsenlabs, Ubuntu, Linux Mint DE, Deepin, antiX, Tails, Kali Linux, Parrot, Steam OS, and many more. Debian could be the grandfather of user friendly distros like Elementary OS, BackBox, Cub Linux, or Linux Mint as well.

Debian uses the Linux Kernel and it comes with more than 50,000 software packages, and the best part is that all of those are completely free. Debian is compiled for eight processor architectures, and it is responsible for inspiring over 120 Debian-based distributions and live CDs. These figures are unmatched by any other Linux-based operating system. The actual development of Debian takes place in three main branches (or four if one includes the bleeding-edge “experimental” branch) of increasing levels of stability: “unstable” (also known as “sid,”), “testing”, and “stable”. This progressive integration and stabilisation of packages and features, together with the project’s well-established quality control mechanisms, has earned Debian its reputation of being one of the best-tested and most bug-free distributions available today.

As you can see there are a lot of pros in Debian like the enormous stability, the high quality control, the immense amount of software, and it’s architecture ports. Sadly Debian is not perfect and it is very conservative with new software pieces only included into the testing and unstable branches, and even those are not the latest and greatest.

Debian systems currently use the Linux or FreeBSD kernel. Linux is a piece of software originally created by Linus Torvalds and developed by thousands of programmers around the world. FreeBSD is an operating system that includes a kernel and other software.

However, it is working to offer Debian with other cores, especially with the Hurd. The Hurd is a collection of servers that run on a micronucleus (like Mach) to implement various functionalities. The Hurd is free software produced by the GNU project.

A large part of the basic tools that complete the operating system come from the GNU project. Hence the names: GNU / Linux, GNU / kFreeBSD, and GNU / Hurd. These tools are also free.

Of course, what people want is application software, tools that help them do what they need to do, from editing documents and running business applications, to having fun with games and writing more software. Debian comes with more than 43,000 packages (precompiled and packaged software in a user-friendly format for easy installation on your machine), a package manager (APT), and other utilities that make it possible to manage thousands of packages on thousands of computers so it’s as easy as installing a single application. All of them for free.

It’s a bit like a tower. At the base is the nucleus. Above this are the basic tools. Then you find all the software you run on your computer. At the top of the tower is Debian — organizing and fitting everything together carefully so that the whole system works well.

Another distribution I recently came across and that I really love is Fedora. It was first launched under the name of Red Hat linux, but as soon as 2003 came up, Red Hat had been branded and they separated it into Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora core, which was renamed to Fedora later. Even though Fedora’s directions are greatly controlled by Red Hat, it is an entirely community driven project which in my opinion understands the balance between new software and stability, as well as being highly innovative. It has really outstanding security features for normal users and it includes a Security Spin for pentesters (which I tried and it is really good).

It has a very strict adherence to their free software philosophy which means all their software will be 100% free, but sadly this has a downside for the users of some models of computers and laptops since most firmware is still proprietary and it won’t work so easily in Fedora, but after some good repositories and other interesting wiki articles you will find a way to make you WIFI card work in no time. Another very good thing about Fedora is its available and abundant spins. You don’t like Gnome3? No problem! There are KDE, MATE, LXDE, XFCE, and even SOaS spins which contain the same basic software and no bloatware. There are even specific spins for people. There is Fedora space which offers a ton of space software for you to enjoy the night sky and the vast universe of stars and galaxies without leaving home. There is also a Games spin, and if you are a gamer and a Linux fan you should download this spin because it has more than 2GB of pure, top quality Linux games which you can spend a good amount of hours using.

Sadly again, Fedora is not perfect either. Its priorities lean towards enterprise features rather than desktop usability and since it is cutting edge it means that some software won’t be as stable as older versions. Fedora is well known for its contributions to the Linux kernel, offering glibc and GCC which are also well-known, as well as its more recent integration of SELinux functionality, virtualisation technologies, systemd service manager, cutting-edge journaled file systems, and other enterprise-level features which are much appreciated among the company’s customers.

Fedora is the largest of many free software creations of the Fedora Project. Because of its predominance, the word “Fedora” is often used interchangeably to mean both the Fedora Project and the Fedora operating system and some pretty fancy hats which I adore. That was all for today, I hope you like the entry.