Що таке GNU/Linux?

When you hear the word Linux, you may think of programmers with a beard typing obscure code on a black screen. Good news! Things have changed.

Загальна картина

GNU/Linux is an operating system, a large piece of software that manages a computer. It is similar to Microsoft Windows, but it is entirely free. The accurate name is GNU/Linux but "Linux" is used more often.

GNU/Linux is not one company's product, but a number of companies and groups of people contribute to it. In fact, the GNU/Linux system is a core component, which is branched off into many different products. They are called distributions.

Distributions change the appearance and function of GNU/Linux completely. They range from large, fully supported complete systems (endorsed by companies) to lightweight ones that fit on a USB memory stick or run on old computers (often developed by volunteers).

Using GNU/Linux

GNU/Linux is no harder to use than Windows, and has many more capabilities. It just takes a dozen minutes to get familiar with a distribution like the ones we recommend for newcomers, which come in with many programs installed.

If you need commercial-quality software to work with business documents, Internet/networking, or multimedia and graphics, it's there right out of the box. Want more than that? GNU/Linux can do – there are many hundreds of free, high quality applications you can find, install and uninstall neatly and easily.

You shouldn't assume however, that GNU/Linux is a clone of Windows. To know what to expect when stepping into it, we suggest you read our Making the switch page.

Ubuntu screenshot
Ubuntu screenshot

Більш широка картина

When you get a distribution of GNU/Linux, you also get the freedom to study, copy, change, and redistribute it – that's what makes it truly free software.

Many companies develop their own operating system based on the core GNU software: products they do not have exclusive rights on. How does the wheel turn?

  • Більшість компаній отримують прибуток, продаючи підтримку та сервіси для свого дистрибутиву GNU/Linux. Корпоративні клієнти платять за гарантовані поновлення безпеки та допомогу. У перелік сервісів також включаються тренінги та поліпшення ПЗ на замовлення.
  • Some companies, such as HP or IBM, contribute to GNU/Linux because they pre-install it on servers they sell.
  • Неймовірно широка спільнота бере участь у розробці та покращенні ПЗ, зменшуючи витрати та збільшуючи його ефективність.

В кінці цього ланцюгу, індивідуальні користувачі, як правило, отримують програмне забезпечення безкоштовно, у той час як корпоративні користувачі часто раді заплатити за більшу підтримку.