www.linuxastronomy.org


About Linux.

What is this linux thing ?
Why is there more than one operating system ?
Why is there more than one version of the Linux operating systems ?
Which one is the best distribution ?
Support, anybody there ?
Which distribution does Linuxastronomy use ?
Why did we choose to use Linux ?
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What is this linux thing ?
If you need an answer to that question, you came to the right place. We will try to make a simple explanation, easy enough to be understood by anyone.
Linux is a layer of programs that lie between the hardware (your computer) and the application software you are using (word processor, e-mail...).
This layer of programs allows the hardware and software to communicate with each other in an organized way.
This layer also makes the use of a computer easier.
There is more than one layer available, linux si one of them.
The name for this layer of programs is called an Operating System.

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Why is there more than one operating system ?
Someone could reply by: "Why is there more than one car manufacturer ?"
They are targeted at differents users base, or different kind of users.
Some operating systems are purely commercials, whiles others are created mostly by volunteers.
Some operating systems are made of closed source applications, you are not supposed to see the source of their codes.
Some of them are made so openly, you are actually invited to look at the source. Users can provide feedback, or modify it to suit their need.

Linux is an operating system of the Open Source type.
It is built by users around the world. Part of developement is done by volunteers people, others parts, by people employed in companies that see a real gain in using linux over closed source operating systems.
Linux is so open, more than one version of it exist.

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Why is there more than one version of the Linux operating systems ?
Anybody is not only allowed, but encouraged to improve the product, which include make your own version of it.
Linux is based on the GPL licence, sometimes also called copy left licence.
In a few words, the GPL licence specify that users are allowed to modify a GPL product, as long as they provide their modifications source to others, as well as preserve the right of what others did on the product prior to modification.
It is also said "Linux is free as in free speach, as well as free as in free beer".
An apropriate statement would be: "Linux is free as in Freedom of speach".

The different versions of Linux are called Distributions.
They are a reduced number of major distributions, about 2-5, but hundreeds of less known, but sometimes great distributions.
Some distributions are made by commercial entity (Red Had, SuSE), while others are made mostly by volunteers (Debian).
Distributions or versions of ditributions, can be targeted at specific markets, such as "corporate world", "education", "scientific", "nerds programers", "tele-communications", etc.
They are basicaly all based on the same origin, but added or modified some parts, modules, applicaitons to make them usefull in the audience they address.
Some versions uses a pretty standard core or Linux kernel, then add support for a lot features, while others have adopted for a more reduced features kernel, but hardened for security use.

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Which one is the best distribution ?
The best for what ?
The best distribution are the one people use.
Users that do not feel too comfortable with a computer, may want to try a distribution targeted at new users.
Users concerned about internet security, may want to use one that has security features has its main goal.
Savy programers, may want one with less graphics applications, but more text or command lines tools.
Corporate users are probably interested by distributions that package most of the office suite type of applications, but not much more to keep it simple.

A good news about Linux, is, users are free to try which ever they whish and for as long as they whish.
Usually, every distribution has a "little something" better than the others one.
By trying a few of them, a user will probably notice a few feature that feet his / her need.
They are also a lot of people ready to help you in your decision. Be sure they understand your level of knowledge and needs.
LUG which stand for "Linux User Groups" exist on the five continents, they are usually a good place to get some information.

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Support, anybody there ?
They are a lot of people ready to help you in your decision. Be sure they understand your level of knowledge and needs.
LUG which stand for Linux User Groups exist on the five continents, they are usually a good place to get information.
Commercial entities can also provide excellent support, small or big corporations may have support. Sometimes a one person company can provide a great support, they do not have to be huge to have good linux kinowledge, meanwhile interested parties may want to check what companies did in the "linux world".
Community colleges provide more linux classes every day, usually for a resonable cost.

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Which distribution does Linuxastronomy use ?
Most of our active members use or test the following distributions: SuSE linux, Mandrake linux and Debian.
Nevertheless, we also try others distribution by interest, curiosity, etc.
Each participating fellow, has his or her distribution of choice.

Please follow the link (next), at the bottom of this page for details about our choice.
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Why did we choose to use Linux ?
We have to link hardware and software, we like the ability to be able to look at the source code,
we are learning "how things works ?", Linux is a great learning tool,
Lots of software tools are available, we like the phylosophy behind it, etc.
Linux seemed to us an apropriate choice.
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The linux penguin 2.0 logo, is an artwork by Larry Ewing
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