After attempting to introduce some less skilled to the wonderful world of Linux, I realized the vocabulary can be quite esoteric. Here’s a quick guide on common used terms, and commands you may need to use accordingly.

OS: Operating System. This is the software that enables you to run programs on your machine.

*nix: Common abbreviation for Unix-based operating systems, using the wildcard character *, as is common in unix-based commands.

x86_64: Could write for a while on this, but in short, this means you have a 64bit os. (can be found with command uname -m)

i386: Same as above, except it means you have a 32bit os.

distro: short for distribution. the GNU/Linux operating system has many branches, or “distributions”, the most common of which are Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu, Mint, and openSUSE.

kernel: The software which acts as a bridge between the os and the machine hardware. Linux is a kernel.

package manager: Software responsible for upgrading, installing, removing, and check compatibility for programs and libraries. Some examples of package managers are aptitude, yum, pacman, and zypper.

CPU: Central Processing Unit, aka the processor. The processor is the component of a computer responsible for performing the mathematical operations which make a computer run.

RAM: Random Access Memory, main memory, or just memory. This is where active programs and open files are stored. RAM tends to have a dramatically higher data transfer rate than auxiliary memory (your hard drive), and 4GB is recommended for home PCs.

Path: Can mean either the path to a file (for example, /home/linuxsupernoob/Documents/blogpost.txt), or the list of directories in which terminal searches for commands (type echo $PATH to view).

IDE: Integrated Development Environment. Special programs used for making other programs.

JRE: Java Runtime Environment. You will very likely need one of these.


There should be wikipedia links in case I’m wrong or you require more reading, and please let me know in the comments if I missed anything