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This chapter will familiarize the reader with the features of the Linux platform and also will look at the programming concepts in the Linux environment. In the process, our discussion will acquaint the typical Windows-based application developers with the similarities and differences in the two platforms. As mentioned in the first chapter, the Linux platform provides a combination of Windows-based graphical environment features combined with the robustness of UNIX-based architecture of the kernel. On the Linux platform, we can build very powerful server applications based on the concepts similar to any commercial UNIX platform, and we also can build user-friendly user interfaces, based on Windows-like GUI concepts. In other words, Linux is a very powerful and competitive alternative to the Windows developer community. The chapter also discusses programming concepts such as executables, shared libraries, processes, forking, threads, inter-process communication, and so on, to familiarize the new Linux user with the operating environment. The steps involved in obtaining and installing the operating system will not be discussed in this book, as they have been thoroughly discussed by several authors in related publications that are available in various Linux Help documents and on various Web sites. Also, the book is not intended for core Linux administration. Rather, it is designed to provide most of the information developers need to work with the system—and keep the system running—while giving attention to the topics related to Enterprise application development and the software and tools available in the market for Enterprise computing.
This chapter is intended for core Windows users who are not very familiar with UNIX/Linux concepts but would like to learn more about Linux. The discussion that follows introduces many new concepts pertaining to Linux and also addresses some concepts that are common to both Linux and Windows. Typical veteran Linux users may already know some of the topics discussed in this chapter.
The file and directory names are case sensitive, and you should not include embedded spaces. Spaces can be used to separate commands and their arguments instead.
Except for the commands that are built-in a shell, all commands are individual executable programs.
The names of commands are also case sensitive and do not have embedded spaces.
File extensions usually do not mean anything in Linux, but may be used for convenience. This also means that the executable programs do not have to have extensions such as .exe or .com and so on. The execution of the program is internally governed by the format of the file’s contents and externally identified by the file’s execution permissions. We will discuss the file permissions later in this chapter.
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