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What is Linux?

Linux is multi user, multi tasking operating system which is developed by Linus Benedict Torvalds in 1991. It is 32 bit operating system and runs on various platforms like Intel, Sparc, and Alpha etc. Linux is an open source operating system and it supports TCP/IP protocol and we can access local area network and internet. Linux is usually provided with two types of Graphical user interface one is KDE and second is Gnome. Command interpreter also exists. The programs developed for windows do not run on Linux and similarly programs developed for Linux do not run on Windows. Today Linux is used in fields like various government, private offices, education, various trainings, homes and businesses etc.

Basic Linux Elements:

There are following basic Linux elements are:


The kernel is heart of LINUX system and is loaded into the memory as soon as the system starts up. Kernel manages main memory, files and peripheral devices. Preserving the time and date, initiation applications and allocating system resources are also functions of this part of the operating system.


Shell is a program which interprets commands given by the user. The command can be any typed in through the command line in a file called shell script.

File System:

Linux behave everything as file. Still a directory is treated as a file that contains entries for lots of other files. Input/output devices, storage devices etc are all the hardware devices treated as files:

The Linux file system is prearranged in a hierarchy which starts with the root directory. The root is represented by a forward slash (/).

/bin: It has executive program files. One can find the files for the Linux commands in this directory.

/dev: It has special device files. Like prn used for printer and hda is used for hard disk.

/etc: It has all the system wide configuration information as text file.

/lib: It has library files. Library files have the reusable functions and routines for programmer to use.

/tmp: It has all the temporary files which will finally be deleted from the system.

/usr: It has home directories of the users, source text fir the online manual pages, games and additional directories.

/kernel: It has all the kernel particular code. Kernel is the heart of the Linux system. It is dependable for resource allocation, security and low level hardware interface.

/mnt: These devices are devices where the storage devices other than hard disks are mounted. It has the sub directories floppy and cdrom.

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