lol understanding Linux is simple very simple Linux comes from Linus, acronym of his name Linus Torvalds, simple.
“GNU = GNU is Not Unix”. Its a play on words that is very common in the opensource community e.g. PHP = PHP Hypertext Preprocessor.
It is a very very powerful kernel, Ubuntu, debian, slackware etc are all packages on the Linux kernel with package managers providing install methods and all have different ways. i personally believe in the slax/gentoo way that is compile from source.
Package managers are nothing more than a way to distribute, Ubuntu is a debian distribution method that’s it. Linux is the platform eg. the kernel. that’s Linux nothing more yes this powerful kernel can run Xorg, kde, gnome and all these apps scripts languages and most of all the kernel comes with a built in gcc compiler. What is Linux? Well Nixie its a powerful kernel. if you refer to ubuntu as your distro then its called ubuntu Linux it builds on the same kernel every single Linux platform is built on, all that is different is packages are pre-compiled as a “deb” compressed format called a package manager.
Most old school Linux people like me install downloading the source to your home folder and doing ./configure && make then make install similarly to building the kernel.
The slang a few years ago was ‘compiling it yourself was a small price to pay for free software and the most powerful operating system in the world’.
The fact Ubuntu precompiled and distributes Linux in this way is and as i can see is a god blessing for those who are starting out not knowing how to program, compile or even what a compiler is lol. not many people understand the concept of the compile options either.
Briefly, windows runs on a 386 enhanced model that means 386 not 486 or Pentium it means 386. ubuntu is on a 686 arch when you compile your own you can use sse 1 2 3 4 686, nocona, em64, amd64, ia32 and more depending on hardware of course. Ubuntu precompiled have problems here. Some people the 686 enhanced will not run well on there system hence you need to recompile your binarys to use it better.
In windows you would have to suffer no matter how hard you tried windows would still keep you stuck on using a 386 enhanced OS, only recently (16 years after the release of the Pentium processor) has Microsoft decided to compile windows with extra enhancements Vista = 486 OMG 486 of all progression of there software to 20 years since 486 machines have been used. I agree with many on this a level of backward compatibility is needed for he who has an older Pentium system windows needs to be able to run on that system as well. Windows is not open source as we know so it can only come out in one or two precompiled binary forms 32bit and 64 bit.
Freedom of the Linux kernel yup you guessed it Linux allows you to take the source code and compile it to your native hardware utilising every single core, thread, memory address, everything. In the most stable rock solid foundations ever because you compiled it native to your system. Thats why Linux is so stable. For those about to shout wait up i had this crash that crash etc. hey there software bugs or you may have tried to compile a 64bit on a 32bit or just not set compile options correctly to run it. In the case of Ubuntu it is pre-compiled to the average hardware spec meaning this could be at fault. There is also the area of faulty hardware, memory is a fatal cause of these kind of errors and certain kernel options required, if the kernel is compiled with bad options then the kernel can not access your hardware correctly causing faults like these.
A tip for new linux users check your Logs. If you use gnome you can navigate to Applications -> system tools -> Log file viewer.
Another tip to see all your logs as a user is navigate to: System -> Preferences -> main menu and find the entry of the Log file viewer, once you have found it then place gksu in front of the command so it should look like this without the punctuation “gksu gnome-system-log”
Now it asks for your password and after this displays all system log files including the dbus if you have installed it. If you have not got Dbus i would advise you to go install it as all your error output when something goes wrong is int there. this allows you to trace a fault if ever you get one.
Look at the bright side at least with Linux you can fix it unlike windows you have to report it and wait for windows to send out a fix if they ever do that is.
So what is Linux The name game as you say its Linux = a Kernel, the distribution is exactly as its name its a method of distributing Linux packages making life that little bit easier in the Linux world and as Chris Perillo Will Linux ever be popular got so so wrong by suggesting war between packages, there is no war between vendors or open source projects there maybe a competition in some cases which is very healthy but no war. To answer this i ask you this, do you want to do anything everything whatever you want when you want in the way that you want to do it? If yes then Linux is for you. Its an operating system allowing fair trade of skills to be passed from one experienced programmer to another and then passed to a user who can report bugs back to the programmers to fix making the whole OS the most powerful OS ever made and you pay for it by just using it and contributing to that effort, its a form of trading without money. yet at the same time allows everyone the freedom to do what they want in the way they want.