Oracle Consulting and Training
For Better, Faster, Smarter
A Brief Linux® Tutorial For Beginners
This is just a short Linux tutorial to introduce this widely-used, open-source operating system to beginners.
History of Linux
Linux is an open source re-implementation of the UNIX kernel (the core of the operating system) and was originally
developed in 1991 by Linus Torvalds to run on the Intel x86 processor. Since then it has been ported to many different
hardware architectures and now runs in televisions, routers, mobile/cell phones (as Andriod), tablet computers, database
servers, web servers, mainframes and super computers. Other than perhaps for embedded systems the operating system
should be known as GNU/Linux as the GNU project (GNU stands for
“GNU is not UNIX”) provides everything except the kernel - i.e. the
shell, compilers, windowing etc.
Who is Linux for?
Linux is a very efficient, multi-user, multi-tasking operating system and
as mentioned above is is used practically everywhere. Originally a
hobbyist system it is now widely used in the enterprise on mission-
There are distributions of Linux available from IBM, SuSE, RedHat and
Oracle amongst others. They all have the same kernel (depending on the
version) but include different libraries, applications, GUIs and package
As with UNIX, Linux is scalable from a small system right up to a mainframe-class system (all you need to do is add
extra hardware), which makes it suitable for anyone looking for a low cost, reliable operating system. As Linux us an
open-source re-implementation of UNIX, it has the same architecture and includes similar utilities and is therefore like
UNIX, a good platform for application development. For end users, it has a friendly graphical interface (called X
Windows) and many business applications such as spread sheets, databases, word processors, etc. (depending on the
Linux is light on resource requirements and stripped-down derivatives such as Android run smart phones and tablets. It
is possible to install older versions on old 386 or 486 computers with 2Mb RAM and 40Mb of disk space. The GUI (X-
Windows) requires another 2Mb RAM. Therefore a 386-based computer with 4 Mb of RAM is all that is needed to run
both Linux and X-Windows.
A modern enterprise-ready, server distribution such as Oracle's Linux 6 will run on a system with as little as 1GB of
RAM and 1GB of disk space.
How To Improve Performance
The key to improving the performance of your Linux system is to know how it is performing currently and which of the
three main resources (cpu, memory, i/o) is under the most load.
Linux provides performance monitoring and statistics gathering tools which you can run to determine current loads and
thus the limiting factor. Generally, though, in descending order of cost effectiveness, the things that you can do are:
add more memory
use a faster i/o bus technology or use FLASH disks
replace the cpu with a faster one or one with more cores.This may mean that the motherboard has to be replaced as
well as all the memory chips and may have licensing implications for any applications.
Other options may be to:
schedule some jobs to run over night
lower the priority of very resource intensive applications
tune and optimise in-house written applications
For those who are really keen, Linux comes complete with the source code which means you can build your own kernel
and have it finely tuned to the type of applications you run.
Linux is open-source but it may be bundled with applications and support and sold commercially. In strict terms, Linux
means the just kernel of the operating system, therefore excluding all applications and utilities provided with it.
Commercial organisations that sell Linux are entitled to add whatever utilities and applications they like to go with the
kernel. Naturally each company has it's own set of applications/utilities, so the different companies offerings are called
distributions. There are many distributions available but two of the main ones are SuSE from Germany and Red Hat in
the U.S. These companies provide the kernel, utilities and applications and support for a an annual fee.
Linux is widely supported by both large and small companies (such as ourselves) and many recent graduates will have
used it extensively during their courses. This means that support is widely available for anyone that needs it. The other
advantages already mentioned are that it is stable, scalable and makes efficient use of resources. It can be downloaded for
free from the Internet (depending on which distribution you need), or bought at low cost (which usually includes
support) from any of the distributors.
It is compatible with MS Windows, in that it will support full access to Windows file systems and with the help of
emulators will run Windows software (some better than others).
There are also plenty of native applications available, including databases, compilers, office applications, networking
software, etc. These applications will run unchanged from a single-user system up to an enterprise-wide system.
Windows applications (including .Net) can be run with the help of WINE (which stands for WINE is not an emulator) the
Windows compatibility layer. It is also possible to create an MS Windows virtual machine that runs under Linux by
using something like VMWARE or Oracle's VirtualBox.
To learn more about the Linux architecture and file system see our UNIX tutorial and our tutorial on the UNIX file
Looking to sky-rocket productivity, save time and reduce costs?
Training is a highly cost-effective and proven method of boosting productivity.
Smartsoft offers instructor-led training in UNIX/Linux and related technologies on or off site in cities across the UK as
well as self-study online training. See our scheduled UNIX training courses, or let us know your requirements.
Oracle tips and tricks
Subscribe to our newsletter, jam-packed full of tips and tricks to help you slash costs, sky-rocket productivity and make your systems
better, faster and smarter.
© Smartsoft Computing Ltd, Bristol, England
Need help? Contact Us
This site uses woopra.com to gather statistical information about our visitors. This data is aggregated to show industry trends (such as
browser share). However, this data shall be the average of many thousands of visits and is in no way linked to individuals. View woopra
Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.