is a Unix like operating system kernel developed by Linus Torvalds in 1991. The Linux kernel is used in a huge range of electronic devices including computers, phones, embedded systems, home appliances, etc.
Its a long story, but unless you are a kernel developer you dont interact with the Linux kernel directly every day. A kernel cannot run by itself, it needs programs and applications. The story goes that Richard Stallman, a pioneer of the free software movement in the 80s was trying to build a free ( free as in freedom ) operating system, and by the early 90s he had all the programs and applications he needed to complete the operating system, he was just lacking a kernel. When Linus Torvalds released his kernel in 1991, it was chosen as the GNU kernel and thus the GNU operating system was completed. The combination of GNU and Linux is what we call today aLinux Distribution. Many programs we use in a Linux distribution were built by GNU so to give credit to Richard Stallman many people call LinuxGNU/Linux. Debian one of the first Linux distributions that came out of this duo, still refer to their Linux distribution GNU/Linux. It is important to note that Richard Stallman tried to create his own kernel called GNU Hurd but he never was able to make it stable enough to include it in the GNU operating system, so Linux was chosen instead.
Linux is the most popular operating system in the world, people just dont see it. Linux is like the air, is here and everywhere but people dont see it and dont talk about it. Many people havent even heard of the word Linux in their life even though they use an Android device every day. 95% of all web servers powering the Internet today are using Linux, NASA uses Linux to launch rockets into space, the international space station use Linux for their computing, etc. 82% of all smart phones in the world are powered by Android which uses Linux for its kernel, and most likely the fridge and microwave you use in your kitchen everyday are powered by a Linux based firmware. People that claim that Linux is not popular are probably referring to Linux popularity in the desktop market dominated by Windows and Mac OS, and they are correct, Linux has never been popular in the desktop market. as of now the Linux desktop market share is about 2%. Why Linux has never been popular in the desktop market is up for debate, but the fact that nobody owns Linux has made it difficult to market the operating system to the general masses.
What are the best Linux distributions to run in a laptop or desktop?
Ubuntu is probably the most popular Linux distribution to use in a laptop/desktop right now.
Linux Mint Many people like to use Linux Mint because it comes with everything installed out of the box. there is no media codecs, and other proprietary stuff to install, Mint includes it all by default.
Fedora Fedora is the free Linux distribution packaged by Redhat. many people like Fedora because it includes cutting edge technologies in every release, and it features GNOME, the most used desktop environment in the Linux world.
OpenSUSE for people that prefer the KDE desktop environment, OpenSUSE is regarded as the best KDE distro by many.
Debian Debian is the father of Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and so many other Linux distributions. if you want to start from the root, use Debian.
Elementary OS Elementary OS is an Ubuntu derivative Linux distribution that resembles the Mac OS interface a lot. many people like it because it is very gorgeous and easy to use.
Arch Linux Arch Linux is revered by many Linux nerds. if you really want to learn Linux, you should try installing Arch to get an idea what youre really up to. like the nerds say, when you learn Ubuntu or Fedora you learn Ubuntu or Fedora, but when you learn Arch, you learn Linux.
What are the best Linux distributions to run in a server?
Ubuntu Server Ubuntu has a large presence in the server environment especially in cloud environments like Amazon, Windows Azure, and a bazillion of web hosting companies.
RedHat/CentOS Redhat and its derivative CentOS is still the preferred Linux distribution to run on servers by many.
SUSE Linux SUSE is a very popular server Linux distribution in Europe, and liked by many because it includes full solutions and is backed by a big name like Novell.
Debian Many people run Debian on the servers because of its stability and long life support.
In this page you will find many tutorials based on Linux and applications that use Linux as their preferred operating system.