Main index

Introducing UNIX and Linux

The Computing Environment

What is a Computer?
      Input Devices
      Output Devices
      Input and Characters
            Control Characters
      Application Programs
            Programming Languages
      The Operating System
      System Administration
History of UNIX and Linux


This chapter

  • reviews basic notions of computer hardware and software;
  • outlines the different kinds of software program;
  • introduces the basic philosophy of UNIX and Linux; and
  • provides a brief description of the history of UNIX and Linux.

If you pick up any book over ten years old on the subject of computing, you could get quite different ideas of how people use their computers. The basic ways of using computers haven't changed, but modern computing places an unimagined amount of control and power with the individual user. This means that the user now has the ability (and quite often the need) to deal with issues relating to the administration of the computer to get the best out of it. In this book, we'll be explaining just how to understand what this involves, and how to minimise the amount of effort required for effective use of your computer.

We start in this chapter by reviewing some basic concepts of computing in a non-technical way, so that if you really are a beginner, reading through this chapter should bring you up to speed. If you are already familiar with the ideas of hardware and software, input and output, processors, systems software, and applications programs, you may choose instead to move swiftly on to the next chapter, or simply to skim this chapter.

Copyright © 2002 Mike Joy, Stephen Jarvis and Michael Luck