This chapter discussed the origins of Linux system came and how it works. The Linux kernel is the core of the system, controlling how memory, programs, and hardware interact. The GNU utilities are also an important piece in the Linux system. The Linux shell is part of the GNU core utilities.

The chapter also discussed the final piece of a Linux system, the Linux desktop environment. Things have changed over the years, and Linux now supports several graphical desktop environments.

Next, the chapter talked about the various Linux distributions. A Linux distribution bundles the various parts of a Linux system into a simple package that you can easily install on your PC. The Linux distribution world consists of full-blown Linux distributions that include nearly every application imaginable, as well as specialized Linux distributions that include applications focused on a special function. The Linux LiveCD craze has created another group of Linux distributions that allow you to easily test drive Linux without installing it on your hard drive.

Finally, the chapter discussed the Ubuntu Linux distribution and showed how the different versions and releases of Ubuntu fit together.

In the next chapter we'll look at the Ubuntu LiveCD. We'll walk through how to test-drive Ubuntu on your PC without having to load anything, and we'll see how to install it directly on your current Windows PC without having to make changes to your hard drive.

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