What is Unix, Linux, Distributions, Desktop Environments, Debian, Arch Linux? What are all these?
Unix is a proprietary operating system started in 1960 and has become popular by 1980. Unix was not open source software, and the Unix source code was licensable i.e. you have to pay to use the operating system and have restrictions to use it.
In 1991, Linux Torvalds became curious about operating systems and frustrated by the licensing of Unix-like operating systems, which are proprietary. Torvalds began development of Linux kernel (kernal is a program at the core of a computer’s OS with complete control over everything in the system). Later, GNU Project replaced all the proprietary components of Unix-like operating system (MINIX). Developers worked to integrate the GNU components with the Linux kernel, making a fully functional free and open source operating system.
Distributions are the operating systems, which ships with Linux kernel. Popular distributions are Debian, Ubuntu, Android, Arch Linux, etc. All these are operating systems, shipping with Linux as kernel.
Desktop Environment, as the name suggests is an environment where the user interacts graphically with the system i.e. set of windows, file managers, set of tools to manage how the computer works, etc. In essence, it is graphical look and tools that you use.
In short -
- Unix is a proprietary OS in 1980s.
- Since Linux Torvalds doesn’t have enough money to purchase Unix and frustrated with its license, he started developing his own one i.e. Linux kernel.
- Operating system is incomplete without a kernel, so whatever operating system that is shipped with Linux kernel is called a Linux distribution.
- Debian, Arch Linux and all are Linux distributions.
- Desktop Environments decides the way you interact with your computer i.e. graphical look, graphical set of tools to manage the settings such as start menu, task bar, settings, etc.
Hope this helps!