HomeEducationLinux Basics: What is Linux Distro and Is Linux Free ?

Linux Basics: What is Linux Distro and Is Linux Free ?

As we understand, Linux is essential for every programmer, no matter what domain you are working. If you haven’t know that, check out here. So now, let’s move forward and understand what Linux is. Is Linux free? What are Linux Distros? We will cover a lot about the basics of Linux in this blog.

Is Linux Kernel Or Operating System?

Linux is a kernel. A kernel interacts with your hardware, and When you put more stuff on that kernel, like more software, it becomes a whole operating system. We don’t like to go into the debate of whether Linux is a kernel or is it an OS.

Just remember, it’s a core kernel concept, and the Linux you believe or see is slightly different from that. We’ll use this word interchangeably here, so whenever we say Linux, we don’t consider it a kernel. Consider it as a whole operating system.

Is Linux Free?

We need to understand the licensing part of Linux. Most people, including us, say that Linux is free because it comes from a particular licensing system, i.e., GNU General Public License.

This license says that you can take any software, and redistribution of the software along with the modification of software is free, and you can do so. That is the reason for the wide adoption of Linux, and although you don’t realize it much, Linux is almost everywhere.

Most websites run on the Linux server, routers, small-scale things, and even your Android devices; these all run on some or the other version of Linux. So this GNU public license is responsible for making everything almost accessible.

Concept of Different Linux Operating System

Linux kernel is mostly the same. So, if the kernel is the same for all of them, why is it that someone is using Ubuntu and somebody else is using fedora or anything else? The whole concept is that the GNU part we discussed earlier is different. Some of these companies govern the GNU part. They took the Linux kernel and are just putting up some modified versions of their software onto that.

These companies govern all these things. That’s why, when you look up some problems you’re facing on Ubuntu. Finding a solution on a fedora doesn’t work on your software because of the GNU part. The company which is holding all these licensing and the redistribution of the software is entirely different.

So, the Linux inside a kernel is the same, but what you put on top of that is what package manager you use, whether apt-get package manager or yum package manager; this is a whole lot of a different story. These are entirely different, so on top of that, yes, it’s all the same but different.

What is Linux Distro?

Linux distribution is often abbreviated as a distro. Linux Distro is simply a specific group of software. Some companies came forward and said they are taking up this Linux and the entire thing in their hands. So, these companies will deal with everything, like updating the software and package repository and releasing new security patches. These companies launched their distributions of Linux or shortly known as distros. Here you can find out almost all of the distros present currently.

Many famous companies are using and launching these distros: Arch, Debian, Red Hat, Slackware, and many more. There are so many other small and big companies that are also maintaining some of their distribution groups, also known as distros, and you’re going to see the distros made by Debian or the Red Hat Group.

How to choose Linux?

To give a quick example, Debian governs these all when you say I’m using a Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Kali, Parrot, Deepin, or Elementary OS. So, ultimately you’re using the Debian operating system; it’s just a flavor and its packaging. Their look and feel are a little bit different but inside the heart, what’s running is the Debian.

On the other hand, if you are using CentOS or Fedora, then you’re using the Red Hat group of distribution. So let’s assume you are giving any Red Hat Certification Exam. The Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or RHEL, is a paid exam with some licensing issues. So, In that case, all the people who try to prepare for such an exam use CentOS.

CentOS is like the entire Red Hat Enterprise Linux and stripping of all the things like their branding and everything that’s your CentOS.

How do these companies make money?

Linux means everything is free, so how are these companies making money? No, not everything on Linux is free. When we talk about the server editions of Linux or something that is maintaining your servers, Sometimes companies charge money for them. For that money, they provide support, security, some exams, professionally qualified trainers, people who can work on that, system admins, and all of that.

So, it looks perfect that everything is free in the Linux world, but if you have to hire some engineers and all these things to maintain your servers that are not free, that costs a lot of money, so again.
Linux is mainly free to modify and redistribute, but sometimes things also cost money. Red Hat is one good example of that.


We hope this might have covered some more of your doubts regarding Linux. If you have any questions, comment below; we will look at all comments and answer them. Until then, take care, and let’s catch up in the next one.



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