Chapter 0: Intro to GNU/Linux

Chapter 0: Intro to GNU/Linux
Who This Book Is For

This book is for anyone who wants to bootstrap an install of Arch Linux/GNU from scratch. You will need basic computing skills to follow this tutorial. Many times advanced users simply need a refresher course which this tutorial serves well as.

Requirements

In order to follow along with this tutorial, you will need a computer. What I use and recommend is purchasing a refurbished Lenovo ThinkPad T430s. This is a solid built computer, with components which are fully compatible with Arch Linux drivers.

It is available for $188 on Amazon from this link.

What is Unix?

From Wikipedia:

Unix is a family of multitasking, multiuser computer operating systems that derive from the original AT&T Unix, development starting in the 1970s at the Bell Labs research center by Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and others.

What is GNU/Linux?

From Wikipedia:

GNU is an operating system and an extensive collection of computer software. GNU is composed wholly of free software, most of which is licensed under the GNU Project's own General Public License (GPL).

GNU is a recursive acronym for "GNU's Not Unix!", chosen because GNU's design is Unix-like, but differs from Unix by being free software and containing no Unix code.

The GNU project includes an operating system kernel, GNU Hurd, which was the original focus of the Free Software Foundation (FSF). However, given the Hurd kernel's status as not yet production-ready, non-GNU kernels, most popularly the Linux kernel, can also be used with GNU software. The combination of GNU and Linux has become ubiquitous to the point that the duo is often referred to as just "Linux" in short, or, less frequently, GNU/Linux.

Richard Stallman, the founder of the project, views GNU as a "technical means to a social end". Relatedly, Lawrence Lessig states in his introduction to the second edition of Stallman's book Free Software, Free Society that in it Stallman has written about "the social aspects of software and how Free Software can create community and social justice".

Who is Richard Stallman?

From Wikipedia:

Richard Matthew Stallman (born March 16, 1953), often known by his initials, rms, and occasionally upper-case RMS, is an American free software movement activist and programmer. He campaigns for software to be distributed in a manner such that its users receive the freedoms to use, study, distribute, and modify that software. Software that ensures these freedoms is termed free software. Stallman launched the GNU Project, founded the Free Software Foundation, developed the GNU Compiler Collection and GNU Emacs, and wrote the GNU General Public License.

Stallman launched the GNU Project in September 1983 to create a Unix-like computer operating system composed entirely of free software. With this, he also launched the free software movement. He has been the GNU project's lead architect and organizer, and developed a number of pieces of widely used GNU software including, among others, the GNU Compiler Collection, GNU Debugger, and GNU Emacs text editor. In October 1985 he founded the Free Software Foundation (FSF). In September 2019, he resigned as president of the FSF and left his "visiting scientist" role at MIT. Stallman remains head of the GNU Project.

Stallman pioneered the concept of copyleft, which uses the principles of copyright law to preserve the right to use, modify, and distribute free software, and is the main author of free software licenses which describe those terms, most notably the GNU General Public License (GPL), the most widely used free software license.

In 1989, he co-founded the League for Programming Freedom. Since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time advocating for free software, as well as campaigning against software patents, digital rights management (which he referred to as digital restrictions management, calling the more common term misleading), and other legal and technical systems which he sees as taking away users' freedoms. This has included software license agreements, non-disclosure agreements, activation keys, dongles, copy restriction, proprietary formats, and binary executables without source code.

Who is Linus Torvalds

From Wikipedia:

Linus Benedict Torvalds (born December 28, 1969) is a Finnish-American software engineer who is the creator and, historically, the principal developer of the Linux kernel, which is the kernel for Linux operating systems (distributions) and other operating systems such as Android and Chrome OS. He also created the distributed version control system Git and the scuba dive logging and planning software Subsurface.

He was honored, along with Shinya Yamanaka, with the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize by the Technology Academy Finland "in recognition of his creation of a new open source operating system for computers leading to the widely used Linux kernel." He is also the recipient of the 2014 IEEE Computer Society Computer Pioneer Award and the 2018 IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award.


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