What is Linux?
Linux refers particularly to Operating Systems that are defined by their use of the Linux Kernel as originally conceived by Linus Torvalds in 1991. The Kernel can simply be described to the layman as the core of any Linux operating system. Linux is free and open source software. Both the Kernel and the operating systems built around it are developed by thousands of community users/developers. 90% of the worlds fastest super computers run a version of Linux. The now popular Android system is built on the Linux Kernel and many common devices such as Network Routers use embedded Linux. Linux operating systems are referred to as Distributions [often shortened to Distro]. Some of the popular mainstream distributions include: Debian [and it's derivatives such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint]. Red Hat [and it's derivatives such as Fedora, CentOS and openSUSE], to name just a few. Obviously there is much more that could be said, but this should be sufficient to put you in the picture. Ref: About Linux at Wikipedia
Will Linux Work on Your Computer?
Probably. Though it has to be said there are occasions when we struggle. Remember, the largest part of the computer market is dominated by one company and they work on a completely different set of guiding principles as do many of the vendors and hardware manufacturers. That being said, we find success in most cases. If you don't feel confident trying it yourself, call us for a free informal chat.
Why is No Anti-Virus Needed?
Like Unix systems, Linux implements a multi-user environment where users are granted specific privileges and there is some form of access control implemented. To gain control over a Linux system or to cause any serious consequences to the system itself, the malware would have to gain root access to the system. Since logged in users do not run with such elevated privileges, the potential for compromise is minimal. Typically, all the software for a given distribution is via software repositories which significantly reduces any threat of installation of malware, as the software repositories are checked by maintainers, who try to ensure that their repository is malware-free. Subsequently, to ensure safe distribution of the software, checksums are made available. These make it possible to reveal modified versions that may have been introduced by e.g. hijacking of communications using a man-in-the-middle attack or via a redirection attack such as ARP or DNS poisoning. Careful use of these digital signatures provides an additional line of defense, which limits the scope of attacks to include only the original authors, package and release maintainers and possibly others with suitable administrative access, depending on how the keys and checksums are handled.