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Operating Systems Linux, Microsoft, Novell

Hi all
Till now I have used windows OS's for quite a while.  I want to try other Operating systems as a test, my questions:
-I visited Novell website today I saw lots of association with SUSE(Linux), is Linux a separate entity which produces there own OS?  
-What is RedHat?
-How are Unix and RedHat/Linux different? or are they same?
-Novell, is it basically Linux/Unix based?
-I would like to test linux/Novell.  Are they freely available, if yes where can I download them.  I would like to start from a desktop system and then server.
Suggestions are welcome.

THanks in advance
3 Solutions
The Unix operating system in it's many flavors has been around since the begining of the Internet.  Novell Netware was a Network operating system that loaded onto a server running DOS.  Windows came out with NT and pretty much beat Novell into the dirt.  The original builds of Unix, spun off Linux which was cheaper and had nice GUI's such as SUSE, Redhat, GNU and such.  THere are some free versions out there.  Novell purchased SUSE since Linux started building popularity and restructured their product to be a true operating system, in order to get back into the hunt.  If you just want to learn Unix/Linux there are some real basic free versions that you can download.  knopix is built on Linux and will allow you to burn image on CD and boot from the CD into the Linux operating system.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Hi amanzoor,
> -I visited Novell website today I saw lots of association with SUSE(Linux),
> is Linux a separate entity which produces there own OS?

Not really.  Linux was created by Linus Torvolds in the early 1990's.  He created an operating system that was unix like, but could run on a PC that typically ran DOS/Windows or Novell.  He essentially owns core portions of the "kernel" (the software at the heart of any modern operating system)  He decided to license it in such a way that it was free to anyone who wanted it and could be modified as the user wished. He insisted that anyone who modified it though - or enhanced it - had to provide a copy of the source code for free.  Basically, they could sell it, but they also had to provide a version for free.

Since then, many companies have contributed enhancements to the kernel to make it a STRONG competitor to Microsoft and true Unix systems.  These companies, include the developers of Red Hat, Suse, Ubuntu, Debian, Mandriva, Slackware, and countless others.  At their core, each uses a version of the kernel orginally developed by Linus Torvalds, but each also has taken other software and developed other software to create different distributions (collections) of Linux applications that are bundled with the kernel.  

> -What is RedHat?

Red Hat is a company that created a linux distribution.  They are generally considered the "top", most business friendly linux distribution when you factor in software specifically released for use with Red Hat Linux.  (MOST linux software will run on any distribution, but getting it to run a distribution it hasn't been released specifically for can be tricky as some files needed might not be present on one distro over another).

> -How are Unix and RedHat/Linux different? or are they same?

Unix also has several versions - AIX (IBM), Solaris (Sun), HP-UX (HP).  Linux was created to be Unix-like, but strictly speaking it is NOT Unix.  There are MANY similarities, in how things work as well commands you can use.  But there are also differences.

> -Novell, is it basically Linux/Unix based?

No, it's a completely different system.  Or at least it has been.  It has run on top of a "DOS" environment for a long time.  Since acquiring Suse a year or two ago, they might have different plans for the future.

> -I would like to test linux/Novell.  Are they freely available, if yes
> where can I download them.  I would like to start from a desktop system
> and then server.

Novell Netware is NOT free.  You can probably contact Novell for a trial version that either times out or permits one or two clients.

Linux is free - for most versions.  Red Hat Enterprise Linux is not free, though the source code is, if you can figure out how to compile it.  The free version of Red Hat is Fedora.  If you're looking to try it, I would recommend first getting a liveCD version.  These are versions of Linux that run ENTIRELY from the CD, nothing to install.  Three of the more popular versions offer Live CDs - Ubuntu, Knoppix, and Suse.  There are dozens of others, some specifically designed for certain tasks, some generalized like these.  It's important to understand that while there is some consistancy in how Linux distributions work, there can also be differences.  For example, debian based distributions (which include Debian, Knoppix, and Ubuntu, among others) use the advanced package tool, "apt".  apt is an EASY way to install software.  For example, if I want to install MySQL database server 4.1, I can just type "apt-get install mysql-server-4.1". In a few moments (depending on the internet connection) you'll have a completely installed MySQL database server.  Fedora and Red Hat, among others, use the Red Hat Package Management System - RPM.  The RPM ius a bit like a Windows Setup program. When I've used them, I've often found dependency issues that just don't seem to exist as much in the APT systems.

In addition, there are some distributions that may boot config files in somewhat different places...

This is my understanding of the answers to your questions.  You might want to review the links below as they may have more technically accurate information.  I would defer to the links over my comments above in case of conflict.



To add to the excellent posts already for this topic and not wanting any points, I would recommend SUSE as a Linux to try.  The open source version is very user friendly and powerful and has an excellent userbase though ubuntu is also very popular.  



Good Luck,

- gurutc
amanzoorNetwork infrastructure AdminAuthor Commented:
Excellent Guys:
Drawlin, Leew, gurutc
Thanks a lot.

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