Linux for Librarians


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A presentation by Ms. Nishtha Anilkumar, PRL Ahmedabad, during National Workshop on Library 2.0: A Global Information Hub, Feb 5-6, 2009 at PRL Ahmedabad

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Linux for Librarians

  1. 1. Linux for Librarians Nishtha Anilkumar Librarian [email_address] Physical Research Laboratory Ahmedabad
  2. 2. Why Linux ? Most of the library system softwares like LibSys now run on Linux platform Digital Library Softwares like Greenstone and DSpace are available on Linux platform Open Source Integrated Library systems like Koha also run on Linux
  3. 3. Understanding Linux <ul><li>A story that goes back over 40 years to Bell Laboratories, where UNIX </li></ul><ul><li>was born </li></ul>
  4. 4. Ken Thompson & Dennis Ritchie <ul><li>Thompson developed the first </li></ul><ul><li> UNIX kernel </li></ul><ul><li>Ritchie developed the a </li></ul><ul><li>computer language ‘C’ </li></ul><ul><li> Portability, Modularity, Flexibility </li></ul><ul><li> made UNIX popular </li></ul>
  5. 5. Richard M Stallman (RMS) ‏ <ul><li>Without Stallman’s contribution, Linux would have had a different quality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Member of MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Culture of the Lab. was one of extreme openness </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Birth of GNU <ul><li>Mission of RMS : Creation of free </li></ul><ul><li>UNIX like OS </li></ul><ul><li>GNU stands for ‘GNU is Not Unix’ </li></ul><ul><li>RMS’s formula for free software : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Freedom to run the program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Freedom to modify the program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Freedom to distribute copies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Freedom to redistribute the modified versions </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Free Software <ul><li>By 1991 ‘Minix ‘ was in circulation which </li></ul><ul><li>was a variant of UNIX </li></ul><ul><li>Linus Torvalds, a Finnish software engineer, </li></ul><ul><li> reacting to the limitations of Minix, took a </li></ul><ul><li> small bit of working code and Minix as a </li></ul><ul><li> guideline to create a basic kernel </li></ul>
  8. 8. Linus Torvalds <ul><li>Linus released it under the GPL (GNU Public Licence) originated by RMS and the Free Software foundation </li></ul><ul><li>With very basic operating system built from Linus’s kernel and handful of GNU tools – </li></ul><ul><li> Linux was born! </li></ul>
  9. 9. Another facet of Linux culture <ul><li>One of the difficulties of getting a working </li></ul><ul><li>Linux machine was downloading all the needed bits and compiling them </li></ul><ul><li>Overcome by – Distribution or Distro </li></ul><ul><li>However, the term free software was being taken as something of inferior quality </li></ul>
  10. 10. Eric S Raymond (ESR) ‏ <ul><li>Instrumental in removing this notion of “low quality </li></ul><ul><li>or incomplete” </li></ul><ul><li>Led the way to market the name ‘Open Source software’ (OSS) as a new way of thinking </li></ul>The Cathedral and the Bazaar - CatB
  11. 11. Current applications <ul><li>Networking and services in the beginning </li></ul><ul><li>Today Linux has joined the desktop </li></ul>On the server side Stable and reliable platform providing database and trading service for companies First choice for firewall, proxy- and web servers
  12. 12. Other applications <ul><li>In large search engines, clusters are used to perform Internet searches </li></ul><ul><li>Linux also runs on </li></ul><ul><li>gadgets like </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PDAs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mobiles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experimental </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>watches </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Challenges faced by organizations <ul><li>Reducing the costs </li></ul><ul><li>Managing heterogeneous technology landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Ensuring sufficient support </li></ul><ul><li>Basic needs to be met - </li></ul><ul><li>Performance, Security & Standardization </li></ul>
  14. 14. Linux pros and cons <ul><li>Free </li></ul><ul><li>Portable </li></ul><ul><li>Made to keep running </li></ul><ul><li>Secure and versatile </li></ul><ul><li>Scalable </li></ul><ul><li>Short debug times </li></ul><ul><li>There are far too many distributions </li></ul><ul><li>Linux is confusing for beginners </li></ul><ul><li>Is an Open Source product trustworthy ? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Direct benefits of adopting Linux <ul><li>Flexibility to choose vendors </li></ul><ul><li>Alternative to costly proprietary OSs </li></ul><ul><li>Ease of migration </li></ul><ul><li>Security </li></ul>
  16. 16. What is KDE, GNOME ? <ul><li>The K Desktop </li></ul><ul><li>Environment (KDE) </li></ul><ul><li>and GNOME Desktop Environment are two </li></ul><ul><li>popular desktops </li></ul><ul><li>available </li></ul>
  17. 17. Distributions <ul><li>On top of an OS, there are many applications which provide complete environment e.g. Windows have tools like Word pad </li></ul><ul><li>Most Linux distributions also comes bundled with many applications </li></ul><ul><li>Examples – Red Hat, Debian, SUSE, Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva </li></ul>
  18. 18. Choosing the right distribution <ul><li>1) Purpose </li></ul><ul><li>2) Software update life </li></ul><ul><li>3) Feature Stability </li></ul><ul><li>4) Package Selection </li></ul>
  19. 19. 1. Purpose Desktop usage : ease of adjusting settings, age of software, range of GUI applications Server usage : software life, security
  20. 20. 2. Software Update life <ul><li>How often you want to upgrade to a new </li></ul><ul><ul><li>distribution version ? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Centos, Debian or Ubuntu LTS are good choices for longer life distribution </li></ul>
  21. 21. 3. Feature Stability Many distros have a policy of not upgrading software in mid-release Instead distro maintainers will backport a security fix to a older release and rename it Reason – if they upgraded to a new version, the features or configuration might have changed
  22. 22. 4. Package Selection Different distros have differing amount of softwares in their repositories Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux has a much smaller package offering than Debian
  23. 23. Choice of distribution For servers, RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) For Desktop – Fedora or Ubuntu
  24. 26. Linux Users’ Group (LUG) LUG - a non-profit or not-for-profit organization that provides support and/or education for Linux users particularly for novices Online LUGs use mailing lists and bulletin boards for communication
  25. 27. Some interesting links
  26. 28. Thank you ! [email_address]