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Chapter 2: Linux System Administration

The majority of modern Linux distributions are user-friendly, with a graphical user interface (GUI) that provides an easy way to perform common tasks. It is, however, quite different to both Windows and OS X, so if you’re going to get the most out of your Raspberry Pi, you’ll need a quick primer in using the operating system.

Linux: An Overview

As briefly explained in Chapter 1, “Meet the Raspberry Pi”, Linux is an open-source project which was originally founded to produce a kernel that would be free for anyone to use. The kernel is the heart of an operating system, and handles the communication between the user and the hardware.

Although only the kernel itself is rightly called Linux, the term is often used to refer to a collection of different open-source projects from a variety of companies. These collections come together to form different flavours of Linux, known as distributions.

The original version of Linux was combined with a collection of tools created by a group called GNU. The resulting system, known as GNU/Linux, was basic but powerful. Unlike other operating systems of the era, it offered facilities like multiple user accounts where several users can share a single computer. That’s something rival closed-source operating systems have taken on board, with both Windows and OS X now supporting multiple user accounts on the same system. It’s also still present in Linux, and provides security and protection for the operating system. ...

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