TUCoPS :: Linux :: Discontinued :: linuxi~1.txt

What Linux does, in Laymans Terms

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                 Linux: Because a PC is a terrible thing to waste.


Title:      |||| What Linux Does (in laymen's terms) ||||

Date:       May 9, 1999
Author:     rootwurm


NOTE:  this is a very BASIC essay, meant to help people learn a bit about what they're
computer is doing.  if you're looking for lots of technical terms and in-depth installation
help, you're looking in the wrong file.

with that said, shall we continue?

linux is, in my opinion, the best server ever made.  thing is, right now it's really only a
server.  most people see stuff about linux and think they'll download some exe, run it, and
have linux.  that's not always the case.  it discourages alot who try to install it, but
those that do get it installed know that it was well worth the trouble.  since it is mainly
a server, it's not quite to the 'user-friendly' stage yet.

HOW-TO's are all over the net that help you get your system up and running.  no doubt that
there is an abundance of information to help you get things working.  but, alot of them are
pretty technical.  they explain the HOW but they don't really explain the WHY.  this is not
a HOWTO and this probably won't even help you install linux, but maybe it'll help you 
understand what you're doing a little bit.

as i get time, i'll add on to this thing, but for right now i'm just gonna explain the (very)
basics of the installation proccess

if you've installed linux before, you should be pretty familiar with what i'm talking about,
if you haven't, well, maybe you'll get somewhat of an idea :-)

the first thing you need to install linux is a boot disk and a root disk.  HOW-TO's galore will
help you in determining what boot and root disk to use, but they don't really tell you why
you need them in the first place.

you need this to start the installation progress.  when you first turn on your computer, it
does a few things:

	* it looks for a video card and initalizes it
	* it checks how much ram you have
	* it looks for hard drives and components you have, optionally activating them
	* it then scans your floppy drive for a disk.  if a disk is found, it scans the very
	  beginning of the disk for an operating system.  if no floppy disk is in the drive,
	  it goes on to scan your hard drive for an operating system.

ok, let's see what a computer infected :-) with windows95 does on startup:

after your computer activates your hard drive, it will look for a floppy disk.  with no
disk in the floppy drive, the computer goes on to scan the first hard drive for an
operating system.  the computer sees that windows is installed, and then begins to boot
it.  next thing you know, a big blue screen pops up telling you that windows didn't shut
down properly :-)

that's a windows bootup sequence.  well, windows95 has such a bad way of managing files
and storing data, that linux has it's own way of writing things to your hard drive.  

the operating system (OS from now on) tells the hard drive what to do. when the OS wants
to store a file, it says "hard drive, move your arm to the left a little bit and write
this data" the hard drive physically obeys.  since windows does a bad job of this and
linux does a much better job, we obviously have a case of apples and oranges here.

in order for linux to even run, it needs to be the first thing to load.  the bootdisk
contains the information that your computer needs in order to load linux.  that's why
you need to get a bootdisk.

the bootdisk does just what it says; it boots the computer.  the bootdisk doesn't contain
any commands for you to type, or any part of an operating system you can use.  in order
for you to even be able to see what files are on your computer, you need to load some
kind of 'utilities', so to speak.

this is where the rootdisk comes in.

the rootdisk contains vital tools for installing linux.  some of the tools, or commands,
include fdisk & setup.  these tools will get you through the installation part of linux.
once the rootdisk has been loaded, you are able to go through the setup process and you're
on your way to better computing.

well, i'm not gonna get into actually installing linux, so the txt ends here.

keep it real, yo! :-)
rootwurm (rootwurm@pheces.org)


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