Many of you have a bad feelings about Linux and I’m sure you got surprised by the title of this post. But don’t worry, we are still on our quest to the mysterious world of data science. In few previous posts, we have been through discussions on the advantages of programming in data science as well as had some preliminary ideas about what data science actually is and why it is going to be a game changer in next few years. This post might shift your concentrations a bit away from data science momentarily but trust me, this is necessary.
Majority of computer users either use Windows or Mac Operating System (OS) developed by Microsoft Corporation or Apple Incorporated respectively. A serious disadvantage of these operating systems is, they are not open source. That is, source codes of these operating systems are not open and you will have to pay for your copy of these operating systems. However, there is another form of operating system, Linux, originated from the same UNIX core as Mac where source codes are open and anyone can use, modify or even customize anything depending on their need.
Scientific Laboratories and research centers tend to prefer these open source UNIX variant of operating systems and customize it for their need. There could be a number of flavors of Linux (commonly referred as distributions or distros) like Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Linux Mint, OpenSUSE, CentOS etc. and there is an active community of developers and development ecosystem for each of these distributions. Facebook, one of the largest social network has been using Linux for its servers since the first day of its operation not just because it’s free, but because its secured. Security is a great concern for research and data driven labs and this is why you will probably see Linux since the first day in your lab.
Some of you might be thinking its hard and laborious but trust me, its easy and responsive. That means, the more time you will invest, the more you will learn. Terminal (somewhat similar to Command Prompt for windows but of enormously powerful) is the black square box where you will probably don’t find any button but instead, you will find yourself in the very fascinating journey of open source computing. In my next post, I will be guiding you through the installation of Ubuntu, one of the simplest version of Linux where you will probably find all the functionality of windows based operating system until you master your terminal.