Overview

This blog post is intended to provide you with information and an overview of crucial topic points involving the Linux OS. Whether you are reviewing and contemplating which OS to use for your production environment or your desktop setup, the following seven topics will assist with understanding what Linux is about and whether that is the right choice for you.

What is Linux?

Linux is a free open source operating system (OS) based on UNIX that was created in 1991 by Linus Torvalds. It consists of the kernel, which is the core component that manages the system’s resources and communicates with the hardware, and the user space, which includes the tools, applications, and services that run on top of the kernel.

Linux is widely used on servers, supercomputers, embedded devices, smartphones, and personal computers. The OS is known for its flexibility, security, and customizability, as users can modify and create variations of the source code, known as distributions, for different purposes and preferences. 

Ubuntu, RHEL, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Debian, CentOS, Alma Linux and Rocky Linux are among some of the most popular server distributions that can be used for production environments and to offer the greatest scalability, security, stability, support, documentation, and community to meet your production needs. These Operations systems are also available for the dedicated servers we offer or the recent addition of virtual private servers available at multiple locations worldwide. 

What Does Open Source Means and How Does it Relate to Linux?

Open source means that the source code of the software is freely available for anyone to access, modify, and distribute. The source code is the set of instructions that tells the computer how to run the software. By making the source code open, Linux allows users to customize and improve the software according to their needs and preferences. 

The Linux OS also benefits from the collaborative efforts of thousands of developers and users around the world who contribute to its development and maintenance across all distributions with many topics that are overlapping. Distributed under various licenses, such as the GNU General Public License (GPL), which ensure that the software remains open and free for everyone.

Why a Penguin?

Tux, the Penguin, is the mascot and official brand character of the Linux kernel. The image was initially sent to a logo competition and is now used in many other Linux programs as well as being the general symbol of Linux.

Tux, the Linux Penguin

Linux Security

Linux security is complex and involves a wide understanding of the architecture involved as there are many moving parts when establishing security within the OS. The OS is also widely regarded as one of the most secure operating systems available, but it is not immune to attacks or exploits. To really understand how to secure your system there are a few basic items one can examine such as disabling common ports, having a firewall in place, and using long and complex passwords while providing the least amount of privileges to your users.

Some of the aspects that involve security within Linux are listed below.

 

Encryption

Linux offers filesystem encryption along with other encryption tools such as LUKS for block level encryption or eCryptfs / EncFS for file level encryption. 

User Permissions and Access controls

The Linux OS provides IDs for both users and groups to allow for permissions control. 

Secure Connection

Using SSH keys you are able to control the access to the server to only key holders and prevent login attempts that are password based.

Network Security

Linux has a built-in network stack that handles various protocols and services, such as TCP/IP, DNS, DHCP, SSH, FTP, and HTTP. The OS also has a number of firewall options to prevent or mitigate network attacks, such as denial-of-service (DoS), port scanning, and spoofing.

Kernel Hardening and Patching

The Linux kernel is the core component of the system that manages hardware, memory, processes, and drivers. The kernel can be configured and compiled with various options and features that affect its security and performance to a high degree 

Security Auditing and Monitoring

Linux provides various tools and utilities to audit and monitor the system’s security status and activity.

Cost

Linux is FREE! Unlike Windows, which require users to pay for licenses or subscriptions, Linux can be downloaded, installed, and used without any fees. Users can also choose from hundreds of different distributions of Linux, each with its own features, design, and software.

It is important to note that while the OS itself is free, premium software and services that are compatible with the OS might have a fee attached to using them. Some free software might have subscription levels to them which would add a fee to allow utilization of advanced features. 

Performance

Linux, being an open source OS, means that it can be modified and improved to suit the needs of users, while in turn also provides greater transparency and security. Considering that the OS is customizable the ability to tailor the system to various needs and requirements can be done and is why there are so many distributions available online.

The Linux OS is highly scalable allowing for it to run on a wide range of hardware, from embedded devices to supercomputers while supporting parallel processing and distributed computing, which enable users to leverage multiple processors and machines to perform complex tasks faster and more efficiently. The stability that the infrastructure is offering is well known and leads rarely to any crashes or freezes while being able to handle heavy workloads without compromising performance, this also comes with a robust memory management system to prevent memory leaks.

At Hivelocity, we offer a comprehensive suite of server management services that can help you and your team focus on other things. Our services include live chat and phone support, 24/7 technical support, hardware diagnostics and replacements, OS reloads, and network intrusion monitoring. In addition to these great benefits, our Managed Services customers also receive OS updates and patches, server security hardening and monitoring, proactive service monitoring, and more. Our Managed Services packages can help ensure your servers are running optimally at all times.

Compatibility

Linux compatibility is an important factor to consider when choosing software or hardware for your business. The OS is a versatile and open-source solution that can run on various devices, from servers to laptops. However, not all applications or peripherals are designed to work with Linux, and some may require additional configuration or drivers to function properly. The Linux community is extensive and hard at work when it comes to improving code and increasing compatibility for various applications and distributions. 

Community

The community of Linux is a diverse and dynamic group of people who share a common interest in the Linux operating system and its applications. The extensive Linux community has been contributing to the development, testing, documentation and support of Linux and its related projects for many years, and will continue to do so for years to come. 

The Linux Community also organizes events, conferences, workshops and online forums to exchange ideas, knowledge and feedback. The network of individuals and groups who collaborate and cooperate with each other is very welcoming and there are resources online that will allow you to search, interact, and contribute to the development process, regardless of background and experience!

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