As a result of Linux being open source software, there is no one version of Linux; instead there are many different versions or distributions of Linux, that are suited for a variety of different users and task. Some Distributions of Linux include Gentoo, and Slackware, which due to the lack of a complete graphical environment is best, suited for Linux experts Windows 11 Activator, programmers, and other users that know their way around a command prompt. Distributions that lack a graphical environment are best suited for older computers lacking the processing power necessary to process graphics, or for computers performing processor intensive task, where it is desirable to have all of the system resources focused on the task at hand, rather than wasting resources by processing graphics. Other Linux distributions aim at making the computing experience as easy as possible. Distributions such as Ubuntu, or Linspire make Linux far easier to use, by offering full-featured graphical environments that help eliminate the need for a command prompt. Of course the downside of ease of use is less configurability, and wasted system resources on graphics processing. Other distributions such as Suse try to find a common ground between ease of use and configurability.
“Linux has two parts, they include the Kernel mentioned previously, and in most circumstances it will also include a graphical user interface, which runs atop the Kernel” reference #3. In most cases the user will communicate with the computer via the graphical user interface. (ref #6) Some of the more common graphical environments that can run on Linux include the following. The KDE GUI (Graphical user interface). Matthias Ettrich developed KDE in 1996. He wanted a GUI for the Unix desktop that would make all of the applications look and feel alike. He also wanted a desktop environment for Unix that would be easier to use than the ones available at the time. KDE is a free open source project, with millions of coders working on it throughout the world, but it also has some commercial support from companies such as Novell, Troltech, and Mandriva. KDE aims to make an easy to use desktop environment without sacrificing configurability. Windows users might note that KDE has a similar look to Windows. Another popular GUI is (ref #7) GNOME. GNOME puts a heavy emphasis on simplicity, and user ability. Much like KDE GNOME is open source and is free to download. One notable feature of GNOME is the fact that it supports many different languages; GNOME supports over 100 different languages. Gnome is license under the LGPL license (lesser general public license). The license allows applications written for GNOME to use a much wider set of licenses, including some commercial applications. The name GNOME stands for GNU Network object model environment. GNOME’s look and feel is similar to that of other desktop environments. Fluxbox is another example of a Linux GUI. With less of an emphasis on ease of use and eye candy, Fluxbox aims to be a very lightweight, and a more efficient user of system resources. The interface has only a taskbar and a menu bar, which is accessed by right clicking over the desktop. Fluxbox is most popular for use with older computers that have a limited abundance of system resources.
Although most Linux distributions offer a graphical environment, to simplify the user experience, they all also offer a way for more technically involved users to directly communicate with the Kernel via a shell or command line. The command line allows you to run the computer without a GUI, by executing commands from a text-based interface. An advantage of using the command prompt is it uses less system resources and enables your computer to focus more of its energy on the task at hand. Examples of commands include the cd command for changing your directory, or the halt command for shutting down your system, or the reboot command for restarting the computer etc.
Windows and Linux also differ on TECH support issues. Windows is backed by the Microsoft Corporation, which means that if you have an issue with any of their products the company should resolve it. For example if Microsoft Windows is not working right, then you should be able to call Microsoft and make use of their TECH support to fix the issue. TECH support is usually included with the purchase of the product for a certain amount of time, maybe a two year period, and from there on you may be charged for the service. Although IBM backs their Linux products, for the most part if you use Linux you are on your own. If you have a problem with Ubuntu Linux you cannot call Ubuntu and expect any help. Despite the lack of professional help, you can however receive good TECH advice, from the thousands or millions of Linux forums that are on the web. You ca also get great help from social networking sites such as Myspace, by posting questions in the many Linux groups. You can usually receive responses for your questions in a matter of hours form many qualified people.
Configurability is another key difference between the two operating software’s. Although Windows offers its control panel to help users configure the computer to their liking, it does not match the configuring options that Linux provides especially if you are a real TECH savvy user. In Linux the Kernel is open source, so if you have the know how, you can modify it in virtually any way that you see fit. Also Linux offers a variety of Graphical environments to further suit your needs. As mentioned earlier Linux is capable of running full-featured graphical environments like KDE, or more lightweight and resource friendly GUI’s like Fluxbox, or Blackbox, to suit users with older computers. There are also versions of Linux that are designed to emulate the Windows look and feel as closely as possible. Distributions such as Linspire are best suited for users that are migrating over from the Windows world. There are also distributions that include no graphical environment at all to better suit users that need to squeeze out all of the computing power that they can get for various computing activities, and for users that are more advanced than others. All of this configurability can be problematic sometimes, as you will have to make a decision on which desktop is right for you, and to make things easier on yourself you will need to only install applications that are native to your distribution and graphical environment.