Chances are, if you’re browsing for a new desktop or laptop, it will come packed with the latest version of Windows. Heck, you may even be reading this article using a Windows-based PC. Of course, if you’re a dedicated Apple customer, you’re likely using a PC based on MacOS. They’re the two main operating systems dominating the desktop and laptop markets today.
But you’ve undoubtedly heard about a third “free” platform, called Linux. What is Linux, you ask, and is it better than Windows 10 or MacOS? Should you install it? Here’s a bit of information to chew on.
Press the rewind button, please
First, let’s hit the rewind button and jump back to 1991. At the time, Terminator 2: Judgement Day was a huge hit in theaters, and Intel’s first 32-bit processor, the 80386, had become a widely-used chip in PCs. The Windows operating system was still an infant, so Unix was the most-used operating system at the time, both commercially, and in academic institutions.
For the individuals, however, Unix was just too expensive to use. A “free” variant of Unix called MINIX was available, but It didn’t take full advantage of Intel’s 32-bit chip, and couldn’t be modified or redistributed even though the source code was freely available. These factors led a student at the University of Helsinki to create a platform of his own.
Enter the birth of Linux. A computer science student by the name of Linus Torvalds wrote the first signs of Linux specifically for his Intel 386-based machine running MINIX. He didn’t create a complete operating system, but instead what’s known as a kernel, which didn’t depend on the parent MINIX operating system.
This kernel is no popcorn
What’s a kernel? If an operating system were a planet, the kernel would be its core. It’s the basic code that manages everything on your PC, from the processor to the memory, the storage, your peripherals, and so on. When you hear talk about how Windows 10 is provided across all types…