The Cheekies

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What is Debian?

After posting my thing about installing Debian, I realized that you might not even know what Debian is. It might seem like a big oversight to you, but hey, I've been doing this thing since I was 9 years old, cut me some slack. So, what is Debian? Debian is a free and open source GNU/Linux Operating System. Let's take that apart one by one. Free: yes, you read that correctly, it's totally free. Many companies that make software, like Microsoft, don't make it freely available to the public. That's how they earn money; by charging people for their software, or apps, like Microsoft Office, and Microsoft Windows. But, Debian is non-profit, and it's goal is to provide the best operating system to the public for free. The next part, open source goes along with that too. Well, what does free mean? It means that you don't pay money, right? Well, to the Debian team, and many other open source developers, it means that you should have the freedom to do whatever you want with their software. You can redistribute it, you can add to the source code, you can sell it, anything you want. So Debian is truly one of the FREEST OS's out there. Next, is GNU/Linux. The first half of that, GNU is the name of the software foundation and ideology Debian is built around. They distribute lots of open source applications, and have a license under which it's distributed. License? It's the General Public License, GPL, but don't worry. It's goal is to protect your rights with the software. Finally, we reach Linux. Linux is a part of Debian: it's a part called the kernel of the operating system. Kernels communicate directly with hardware, your actual computer. For example, they tell your speakers to be louder or softer, and tell your computer screen what it needs to look like. Don't worry about it for now. Linux is also distributed under the GPL, like Debian. Finally, an operating system is a group of special programs that allow you to use your hardware, allow you to install new applications, and allow you to complete basic tasks for your computer. So there you have it; that's what Debian is, in brief. If you want to learn more, you can check out Debian's website, at