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1: Introduction to Linux

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    The Linux ecosystem is the largest open source software project in the world with the Git repository of the Linux kernel having 27.8 million lines of code in 2020. It is used in everything from embedded devices, to mobile devices, Raspberry Pis and personal computers to mainframes and supercomputers, in fact in January of 2023 one hundred percent of the top 500 supercomputers run Linux kernels. In 1983 Richard Stallman founded the Free Software Foundation ( and created the GNU (GNU Not Unix) Public License. In 1991 Linus Torvalds (at age 21) started developing the Linux system, which is similar to Unix and in 1992 released it under a GNU GPL license.

    Linux is the kernel of an operating system, the part of the operating system that connects software applications to the computer hardware. It manages the memory, processors, input/output devices and the file system.  Combining the Linux kernel with other GNU software results in a complete open source operating system, and there are many variations of Linux operating systems.  The Raspberry Pi is based on Debian Linux 




    Linux distros tree

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Linux distribution tree, if you click it twice you will open an interactive version. VARGUX, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia


    Debian was  one of the oldest Linux distributions and the article "The History of Debian Linux Disribution" is a good place to start.

    The three most recent versions for the Raspberry PI OS are:

    • Debian 10.0 (Buster) - released July 2019
    • Debian 11.0 (Bullseye) - released August 2021
    • Debian 12.0 (Bookworm) - released December 2023


    Debian is freely available through a GNU/GPL license and there are over 51,000 installable packages.

    Raspberry Pi Imager

     Although there are many options for installing the Raspberry Pi OS you will probably want to use the imager apt.   Instructions can be found here and we will do the next lesson: 6. Getting Started with IOT. 

    1. Download Imager
    2. Install Raspberry Pi OS
    3. Start RPi for First time


    This page titled 1: Introduction to Linux is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Robert Belford.

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