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Linux is a version of unix operating system. It is an open source free software. One can partition a windows disk and make it bootable into either Dos or Linux.

There are many companies and organizations that develop variants of Unix. For example, Redhat Linux is different from Debian or Ubuntu Linux.

Linux can be started in Terminal mode (single window like Dos) or x-windows mode (multiple windows with options to run browsers etc). A Terminal window (also known a TTY) can be opened under select shells. A Shell is an environment that is custom made for your convenience. Basic Shell ("bash"), C-type shell (cshrc, tcshrc) etc are possible. Different shells give you different options to customize. Beginners normally use bash. Very advanced users prefer tcshrc. You can set the login option in a file called .login where you can introduce a command "source .bashrc". Then you can put all your custom settings into the file .bashrc.

An example of .bashrc -- PATH="$PATH":.

set history=50
alias h=history
alias cls=clear
alias clshistory="history -c"
alias lz="ls -al"
alias so=source
alias m=more
alias rm="rm -v"
alias desktop="pushd /c/\"Documents and Settings\"/barani/Desktop"
set prompt="[\!]"

The X-windows mode can be invoked by the command "startx" in the terminal. Many powerful applications like the free Star office runs in the x-windows of Linux.

Linux, like any other Unix operating system, is case sensitive. Commands like "cat" will be considered different from "CAT" or "Cat". File names are also case sensitive.

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