Linux: A quick overview

With all the hype around Linux these days, it is easy to loose track of its multiple abilities. Is it a router, an internet appliance, a desktop workstation, a file server, web server or a mail server ?

Adding this X terminal concept (new for many), one can easily get confused. Linux is a multi-purpose flexible operating system. Linux can do a lot of things and generally all at once on the same machine. Here a an enumeration of important Linux features and capabilities.

HardwareLinux runs on almost any computer out there. You need a specific installation kit for each though. Here is a quick list

  • PC (386 and up)
  • PowerPC
  • Compaq/Digital Alphas (64 bits)
  • Sun Sparc (32 and 64 bits)
  • Mips (32 and 64 bits)
  • And a couple of other less known processor (strong arg, 68k, ...).
Works on multi-processors machines. Multi-threaded programs span on multiple CPUs.
Supports hardware and software raid.
Runs on notebook.
ServicesFile server for Windows, Unix and Mac computers (No extra software needed on the client).
Web server (running Apache, the leading web server on the Internet). Secure servers (HTTPS).
Domain name server.
Ftp server.
Mail server (Pop, Imap, Smtp, Mailing lists).
Database server (SQL).
Faxes (in and out).
Proxying (multi-protocol).
Web proxy with access control.
Routing (IP and IPX protocol).
DHCP server (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol).
Bandwidth limiter.
Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Multi-usersSeveral users may use it at once.
Each user has his personal directory.
Each user has his own profiles/preferences
Disk quota lets the admin limit disk space per user or group.
File access rights and ownership (One user can't delete the system).