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But first we must ask the question, what is Linux? Well, confusingly, it depends on who you ask. In order to get an idea of what Linux is, we’ve got to go back in time a bit. In the early 80s Richard Stallman, then working in the AI lab at MIT, started the GNU project with the goal of creating an entirely free and open Unix-like operating system.
This all started when the lab got a new printer, but the licenses restricted his ability to modify the code. He had hacked earlier printers to electronically send messages to users who printed items when the printing was complete, as well as notifying other users when the printer was free to use. By the early 90s there was almost enough GNU software to create an entire operating system. However their kernel, the GNU hurd, was not yet complete.
Meanwhile, in the early 90s, Linus Torvalds set out on a hobby project to develop a Unix-like kernel known as Linux, and used GNU software such as GNU’s C compiler to do it. While a kernel on its own was useless, he ended up including GNU software with the kernel to release an operating system.
Later, Richard Stallman’s Free Software Foundation sponsored the group Debian to release a GNU/Linux distribution that was completely open for people to use and contribute to. Debian over the years grew from a small group of Free Software Foundation hackers to the enormous community that it is today. Due to its popularity, Debian has become the base of countless Linux distributions. Because of how open the software is, anybody can read the source code, modify it and then redistribute it.
Because of this, there are so many Linux distributions that a common problem for beginners is which Linux distribution should I use. Well, there are a few distros out there that actually include its own software. One of the biggest problems in Linux is how many distros there are. And the fact that a lot of them are the same distribution with new wallpapers and icons, and everything else is the same.
Ubuntu was started in the early 2000s and is owned and distributed by Canonical. The base of Ubuntu is Debian, and Ubuntu has become so popular that it has in turn been forked countless times. Forking is a process in which the operating system is used as the base of a new distribution. Ubuntu includes its own desktop environment called Unity, and has recently started distributing phones running a version of Ubuntu.
Canonical also contributes bug fixes and other contributions upstream, meaning that they send these changes back to Debian to include in future releases. While Debian releases new versions sporadically, Ubuntu’s aim was to capture the stability of Debian but release new versions more frequently. Canonical releases two distributions a year, one in April and one in October. The naming convention of Ubuntu is year, month.
The version we will be working with was released in April of 2018, and it’s called Ubuntu 18.04.3. Every two years in April a long term support version is released called LTS, which is officially supported for five years. While releases in between LTS versions are supported for only nine months. The next LTS release will be in April of 2020.
To download Ubuntu we’re going to go to ubuntu.com, and when the page loads we’re going to see in the top navigation that there’s an option that says desktop. So just click on that because that’s the version of Ubuntu we’re going to be working with. And then when you get on the overview page just click download Ubuntu, the big orange button in the main area. On this page it’s going to give us a few versions. So it’s going to prompt us to download the last LTE release which was released in 2018 in April.
If you’re going to be running Ubuntu on a server, it makes sense to run long term support versions because you only need to install a new version every five years. You can install more frequently because there’s a LTS version every two years, but with a non-LTS version there’s only official support, bug fixes and whatnot for nine months.
Again, we’re going to download Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS. I will download the 64-bit version because that’s the processor type I am running. You can either click the download button to download it directly in the browser, or you can click alternative downloads and torrents to view what type of other files you can download.
If you have a relatively fast internet connection, it doesn’t really make a difference which download method you choose. The in browser download will most likely download just as quickly as the torrent. However, if you don’t have an incredible internet connection, a torrent download is going to make a lot of sense. It’s going to download a lot quicker than it would in the browser. I have already downloaded package. It took roughly 10-15 minutes because I have a poor internet connection at the moment.
We’re not going to install Ubuntu directly onto our hard drive, yet. That’s an awful big commitment to make when you’re not really familiar with Linux. What we’re going to do is go to virtualbox.org, and this is a piece of software that allows us to create virtualized machines. We can create multiple virtual machines and set them up differently, as well as install different operating systems on each one.
When you navigate to virtualbox.org there’s a gigantic button here that you cannot miss. Just click on that and it’s going to take you to the download page for VirtualBox. Now it offers different packages dependent on different operating systems. This is going to be for the host machine. To put that in clear terms, the computer that I’m on right now, that we can see is running Windows 10, that is the host machine. So I need to download VirtualBox 6.0 for Windows hosts. Now I’ve already got mine downloaded. And we’re going to need these in the next few videos.
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