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Unit 1 Linux Basics

Copyright 2010, ITT ESI

Unix is the predecessor to Linux

Unix was created in 1975 It was made by researchers who needed Modern Computing Tools for projects

Unix was owned by Bell Labs

Offered it to free to institutions Those students influenced the spread of Unix into the business world It is still in use today on some machines

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Linux was created as a Unix Work-alike

A Finnish undergrad named Linus Torvalds started the project Version 0.01 was released in 1991

Released and developed under what is now knows as the GNU License Linux is also an Open Source project

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GNUs Not Unix

The permission to use the operating system is free
No user should have to pay to use the CORE system

Free is more about freedom not cost

People are able to freely change the system to suit their individual needs Companies can charge for their flavor (type) of Linux if they want to

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Open Source means the Source Code is freely available

Anyone who wants to look at the code of an Open Source project is free to do so
Usually individuals are encouraged to make improvements and resubmit them into the project for the next version

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Most GNU projects are Open Source Linux is both Open Source and under the GNU
This is how Linux was created Many programmers contributed improvements to the original code Due to contributors from all over the globe, bug fixes, hardware support, and security fixes are quickly added to Linux systems
This also allowed many different versions of Linux to form. There are hundreds different versions
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Linux runs on popular CPU Architectures

I386 (32 bit) x86_64 (64 bit) ppc (Power PC)

CPU Speed
200 MHz

Minimum Memory
256 MB RAM

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In the Microsoft OS world

Only one partition is required NTFS is the common file system Virtual memory is held in a file on the main Partition

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In the Linux world

At least 2 (sometimes more) partitions are required
One partition is used to hold the OS and User Files One partition is used as a SWAP partition

ext4 and ext3 File Systems are Common

While many Linux Systems can read and write to a NTFS partition, the OS cannot be installed on NTFS

The SWAP partition is much like Virtual Memory

When Linux runs out of RAM, the SWAP partition is used
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In Linux, sometimes more than 2 partitions are required

Some Administrators like to create a partition for the system, the users, programs, etc
We will see later how using multiple partitions is easy in the Linux Structure

The problem becomes, computers generally will only allow the creation of 4 partitions per hard drive

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LVM (Logical Volume Manager) solves this


1 of the 4 partitions can be made into an Extended

Extended Partitions can hold many Logical Partitions

If the needs of the users/computer change and one partition needs more or less space, LVM can help
LVM can easily shrink or expand logical volumes on the fly This change in the volume will not affect user data

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In the Windows OS world

C:\ is usually the root directory
Separate devices have their own root directory
D:\ for CD drive

External Devices show up in Device Manager

Printers Cameras

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In the Linux world

The root directory for the ENTIRE system is /
All directories, files, and other partitions exist below this root directory
Example: the Home directory is at /home

Devices exist below the root directory

The system treats all devices as files and directories To internal programs, communicating with devices is the same as reading or writing to a file on the system
Devices just appear to be files that constantly change

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Basic directories and what they contain

/ /boot /home /tmp /usr /var Root Directory Kernel/System boot files User Files (My Documents) Temporary Files User Application Files Variables and Logs
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At the core level, Linux uses a shell

Much like a command line window Multiple users can be remotely connected to one Linux server The Shell can be used as a programming language
A Program for the shell is usually contained in a text file, which is fed to the shell all at once The shell then interprets the commands on the fly

A base Linux system has no GUI

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X Window System allows Linux to have a GUI

Made of two sub-components that work together
Desktop Manager
Allows interaction with the system through icons

Window Manager
Allows you to Open/Close windows
Run Programs Set up Mouse Variables

Gives the Look and Feel of the GUI Everything in the Window Manager is customizable
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