Starting with Linux Shells


What is Linux?

Parts of the Linux kernel

Exploring the Linux desktop

Visiting Linux distributions

Before you can dive into working with the Linux command line and shells, you should first understand what Linux is, where it came from, and how it works. This chapter walks you through what Linux is and explains where the shell and command line fit in the overall Linux picture.

What Is Linux?

If you've never worked with Linux before, you may be confused about why so many different versions are available. I'm sure you have been confused by various terms such as distribution, LiveCD, and GNU when looking at Linux packages. Wading through the world of Linux for the first time can be a tricky experience. This chapter takes some of the mystery out of the Linux system before you start working on commands and scripts.

First, four main parts make up a Linux system:

  • The Linux kernel
  • The GNU utilities
  • A graphical desktop environment
  • Application software

Each of these parts has a specific job in the Linux system. No part is very useful by itself. Figure 1-1 shows a basic diagram of how the parts fit together to create the overall Linux system.


The Linux system


This section describes these four main parts in detail and gives you an overview ...

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