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Linux and Open Source Software

Linux is a computer operating system. The best known operating system is Microsoft Windows. It appears that many people are not aware of the existence of any non-Windows operating systems. They're certainly missing out, because Windows is known to be fragile and insecure, whereas Linux and some other operating systems are solid and have a good security track record.

Open Source Software means that everyone can review the programming code of a program. This means that anyone can help find security bugs and illogic constructs. It also means that when a security fix is known, a system administrator can apply it without having to wait for a vendor to release a new version.

Most OSS isn't just open, it's also free. Usually free in both senses: free as in free beer, and free as in free speech.

My favourite Linux distributions

I like Debian, which makes system administration easy while providing fairly recent software packages. Installing software in Debian usually is a single command, as is upgrading an entire system including most of the installed software. I use Debian on servers.

I wrote a guide for installing a minimal Debian system on RAID 1 or 5 that is rather populair.

Ubuntu is a nice Debian derivative that I run on my laptops. It's free, complete, and incredibly easy to install and maintain. It manages to get a lot of things working out of the box. I'm not used to installing device drivers anymore :).

My favourite Linux software

Now that you know what Linux and OSS, I'll list my favourite Linux/OSS software:

For connecting to Linux servers with ssh using a Windows computer, just use PuTTY. It emulates a real Linux terminal quite well.