GNU/Linux - The Operating System
I introduced you to Linux in the last section. Linux as being open source fits the title and purpose of this ebook. And Linux as an OS is on what we build our complete suite for creating Webprograms.
You find Linux in many different flavors. But I will suggest a Linux with a graphic system, a window environment, like XFCE, Gnome, or KDE.
Personally I use Linux Mint Mate, as my chosen OS, for my workstation.
Linux is a very diverse operating system. On the site www.distrowatch.com you will find the top 100, that people have shown interest in, on that site. Linux, still a young OS, is also diverse in the way it is used. Its a good candidate for the choice of a server OS. But Linux is also gaining users for the use on personal desktop PC’s, and business desktops. It’s used on supercomputers. It’s rock solid and free from viruses. My friend told me that they have Linux servers that have not been rebooted for more than a thousand days. That is in my terms a very long time.
It is becoming more and more user friendly. The installation of programs that happens via the software mangers have made it an easy way to install software. You can install much of the software simply by a “click and install” way of installing the software onto the Linux box. Also you can via the repository easily install a huge amount of programs, all very simple to get to.
And, since you can install Linux on an ordinary PC hardware configuration and types of hardware made for the bigger marked, and often not even labeled that it runs on Linux. The cheaper hardware is available. For the Personal Computer experience there is a loud scream from gamers, wanting the software houses to port their games towards the Linux platform. Personally I would right away delete my Windows machine for the good of Linux, if I could just run the Lightroom and Photoshop, from Adobe. It’s generally not that I am that much of a Windows hater. It just feels wrong.
People often suggest to new Linux users, or people interested in Linux, that they should use their old PC and try the OS out that way. I don’t think that is the right way. Because if you have just bought a new PC you want to use that, not the old PC that you just exchanged for a brand new and much better configuration.
I have this idea that instead you should make good use of the new machine, and install Linux along the Windows system. This can be like you dualboot or that you can run Linux in a Virtual Box. If you really want to learn to know Linux, then the idea is that when you want to start up your computer for the day, then you should think about; “what am I to do now?”. And then, if you want to check your email, browse some pages, and do your netbanking, watch some youtubes, or listen to your favorite net station- then you can boot up the Linux, cause you can use it for all that. So if you really want to learn it, then give it a chance, and try it, on you new cool laptop. If you then, for some reason, want to use Windows, then you just have to logout of the Virtual Box, or make a restart if dual booting.
My idea is that this is the best way to get to know the Linux. You should for sure use your best hardware. Why make it like a second rated system, - install it on your best hardware and feel the joy. Okay it can run well on older system, - but hey, that is just, yet, a bonus.
Linux is created, and maintained by a huge community of programmers and other people working to make the Linux system a good choice for any computer. And ofcource its the main mobilephone/tablet OS also.
So, since the OS that we will use, is so diverse, what shall we choose to install as our server OS?
I have chosen the Linux distro called Xubuntu. Its in the Ubuntu family. But exactly with a light weight graphical interface. It’s called XFCE, and its also used on f.ex Ubuntu Studio. But Ubuntu Studio, is a desktop distro with a bunch of programs for users creating multimedia products. Ubuntu Studio is made for creative souls. There are all kinds of software included for creating different media. There are programs for sound and video, graphics, photography and text. It's all free.
You can browse, f.ex the site www.distrowatch.com an find a distro that you think will suit your needs. I find another, the Lubuntu interesting, but still I prefere and will use in this project the Xubuntu as my OSS Web Developing Environment.
Again my idea is that it uses only an acceptable chunk of computer power, and that makes it useful to me. And I have a nice interface, with monitor, keyboard, and mouse. But you should try different distros and make you own choice.
Ofcource you can setup a server, if you like to learn about how to setup a server, and want to simulate f.ex. the conditions that your webprogram will be hosted at, when put online.
Interesting Linux versions can be;
Mint, OpenSuSE, (X)ubuntu and other different distro's.
Another idea is to install the Ubuntu server edition, and then install a selected Xwindows, like the XFCE or Gnome.
The website; www.distrowatch.com have listet the top 100 of most populare Linux flavors. So there are Linux's for every purpose and need.