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- Join Date
- Mar 2003
Glossary of Common Linux and Computer Terms
Written by flw and the elitelinux team please pm me (flw) with any corrections or omissions.
Source used are:
It would not have been possible to write this with the accuracy required by us without the sources to verify and confirm the information along with all the users and moderators of this_site_does_not_exist .
- 802.11 is a suite of specifications for wireless local area networks (WLANs) developed by a working group of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). There are currently four specifications in the family: 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g. All four use the Ethernet protocol and CSMA/CA (carrier sense multiple access with collision avoidance) for path sharing. The next specificaiton that we are awaiting is 802.11i which is claiming to close many of the securitiy holes in in the other current wireless specifications.
- Adware is any software application in which advertising banners are displayed while the program is running. The programmers of these applications include additional code that delivers the ads, which can be viewed through pop-up windows or through a bar that appears on a computer screen. The justification for adware is that it helps recover programming development cost and helps to hold down the cost for the user.
- AGP Accelerated Graphics Port is a specification that enables 3-D graphics to display very quickly on ordinary PC's.
- Apache is the world's most popular web server software that runs on Linux, Unix and Windows.
- ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange is the most common format for text files in computers.
- AV / Anti-Virus is a program that is designed to watch and or scan for virus's, worms and Trojan Horses then clean, quarantine or delete infected files.
- Binary describes a numbering scheme in which there are only two possible values for each digit: 0 and 1. This is the language all computers speak.
- BIOS basic input/output system is the program a personal computer's microprocessor uses to get the computer system started after you turn it on. It also manages data flow between the computer's operating system and attached devices such as the hard disk, video adapter, keyboard, mouse, and printer.
- Bootstrap is using a much smaller initial program to load in the desired program (which is usually an operating system).
- Build Is used for Microsoft Visual Basic products and those making products for use on Microsoft products. A build is a version of a bit of software. As a rule, a build is a pre-release version and as such is identified by a build number, rather than by a release number.
- Byte is a unit of data that is eight binary digits long. A byte is the unit most computers use to represent a character such as a letter, number, or typographic symbol (for example, "a", "1", or "#").
- Cable ISP Internet Service Provider that uses coax cable to transmit and recieve Internet data. This is one of several broadband options available today.
- CAT 3 or 5 Are the two most popular specifications for twisted pair cables. While the two cables look alike, CAT 3 is tested to a lower/slower set of specifications and CAT 5 cable must pass a higher and faster test of 100 MHz.
- CGI Short for Common Gateway Interface is a standard way for a Web server to pass a Web user's request to an application/program and to receive data back to forward to the user.
- CLI is a shorthand to the Comand Line Interface.
- CMD Short for command or command line.
- CMOS complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) is the semiconductor technology used in the transistors that are manufactured into most of today's computer microchips.
- Coax or Coaxial cable is copper cable used by cable TV and Internet Service Providers between the community antenna and user homes and businesses. It is also widely installed for use in Ethernet and other types of local area networks.
- Conf short for configuration file.
- Controllerless Modem is one that relies on the operating system for its contoller functions, Also known as a software modem, linmodem or winmodem.
- CPU central processing unit is an older term for processor and microprocessor
- CSV Comma Separated Value file contains the values in a table as a series of ASCII text lines organized so that each column value is separated by a comma from the next column's value and each row starts a new line.
- CUPS Common Unix Printing System provides a portable printing layer for UNIX and linux based operating systems.
CUPS includes an image file RIP that supports printing of image files to non-PostScript printers. A customized version of GNU Ghostscript 7.05 for
CUPS called ESP Ghostscript is available separately to support printing of PostScript files within the CUPS driver framework. Sample drivers for Dymo, EPSON, HP, and OKIDATA printers are included that use these filters.
CUPS uses the Internet Printing Protocol ("IPP") as the basis for managing print jobs and queues. The Line Printer Daemon ("LPD") Server Message Block ("SMB"), and AppSocket (a.k.a. JetDirect) protocols are also supported with reduced functionality. CUPS adds network printer browsing and PostScript Printer Description ("PPD") based printing options to support real-world printing under UNIX/Linux.
- CVS Concurrent Versions System is a program that lets a programmer save and label his/her work at each stage of development, and allows other people to download the work.
- Daemon is a program that runs continuously and exists for the purpose of handling periodic service requests that a computer system expects to receive.
- DMZ demilitarized zone is a computer or small network inserted as a "neutral zone" between a company's private network and the outside public network (Internet). It should stop outside users from getting access to a computer that has your information on it. It really like a traffic cop as to who can go where.
- DNS Domain Name Service. This service take name you and I understand like this_site_does_not_exist and translates it into a number computers understand so you'll end up at the correct web site. In this case this_site_does_not_exist
- Domain is a name with which name server records are associated that describe subdomains or host. i.e., "this_site_does_not_exist" could be a domain with records for "www.this_site_does_not_exist" and "www1.this_site_does_not_exist," and so forth.
- DSL Digital Subscriber Line is a technology for bringing high-bandwidth information to homes and small businesses over ordinary copper telephone lines. xDSL refers to different variations of DSL, such as ADSL, HDSL, and RADSL.
Assuming your home or small business is close enough to a telephone company central office that offers DSL service, you may be able to receive data at rates up to 6.1 megabits (millions of bits) per second (of a theoretical 8.448 megabits per second), enabling continuous transmission of motion video, audio, and even 3-D effects (very unlikely in the real world). More typically, individual connections will provide from 1.544 Mbps to 512 Kbps downstream and about 128 Kbps upstream.
- Elm was a popular e-mail program for users of Unix or linux based operating systems that runs in a cmd line mode (like reading email in DOS).
- Emacs An alternative text editor available from the command line only.
- Errata Redhat has lots of this stuff
- EXT2 Extended File System Version 2 is probably the most widely used filesystem in the Linux community. It provides standard Unix file semantics and advanced features. Moreover, thanks to the optimizations included in the kernel code, it is robust and offers excellent performance.
- EXT3 Extended File System Version 3 Ext3 support the same features as Ext2, but includes also Journaling. A journaling file system uses a separate area called a log or journal. Before metadata changes are actually performed, they are logged to this separate area. The operation is then performed. If the system crashes during the operation, there is enough information in the log to "replay" the log record and complete the operation.
- FAT32 File Alocation Table 32 bit. Support in Windows 95/98/NT/Win2k/XP, the largest size hard disk that can be supported is two terabytes! However, personal computer users are more likely to take advantage of FAT32 with 5 or 10 gigabyte drives.
- Fibre or Fibre optic refers to the medium and the technology associated with the transmission of light impulses along a glass or plastic wire or fiber. Fiber optic wire carries much more information than conventional copper wire and is far less subject to electromagnetic interference.
- File properties aspects of a file or directory such as read only, hidden, archieve, encrypted or compressed.
- File system is the way in which files are named and where they are placed logically for storage and retrieval.
- Firewall is a is a piece of software or hardware, located at a network server or router, that protects the information of your network from users from other networks (Internet).
- Firewire is Apple Computer's version of a standard, IEEE 1394, High Performance Serial Bus, for connecting devices to your PC. FireWire provides a single plug-and-socket connection on which up to 63 devices can be attached with data transfer speeds up to 400 Mbps (megabits per second).
- FQDN fully-qualified domain name is that portion of an Internet Uniform Resource Locator (URL) that fully identifies the server program that an Internet request is addressed to. i.e The FQDN for International Business Machines is ibm.com
- free software Software often released under a free license like the General Public License, Lesser General Public License to name a few. The idea behind free software is that everybody should have some basic rights: You can change, modify, copy, redistribute and read the sourcecode. That doesnt mean that free software cannot be charged for (take a look at Redhat who sells free software for a living) and you allways have to have the sourcecode to the program avalible if you also provide a service to download the binary version. "When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price" states the GPL. Some examples of sucsessful free software is GNU/Linux, Gnome, The Gimp, gtk and many more. The true opposite of free software is un-free software, also called proprietary software where the license takes away all of the freedoms that the GPL provides. A classic example of un-free software is Microsoft Windows.
For more information see the home of the free software foundation at http://www.gnu.org
- FTP File Transfer Protocal a standard protocol, is a simple way to exchange files between computers on a between two local computers or the Internet. FTP transmits information in clear text.
- Gateway Is the entrance point to another network like the Internet.
- GCC this is the name of the gnu C++ compiler. This free compiler is frequently used on machines running the UNIX and Linux operating systems.
- GHz is a unit of alternating current (AC) or electromagnetic (EM) wave frequency equal to one thousand million hertz (1,000,000,000 Hz). The gigahertz is used as an indicator of the frequency of ultra-high-frequency (UHF) and microwave EM signals and also, in some computers, to express microprocessor clock speed. Or just over 1000 MHz.
- Gigabyte is two to the 30th power, or 1,073,741,824 in decimal notation. Or just over 1000 Megabytes.
- Gimp Linux graphics or picture editor and creator.
- Gnome (GNU Network Object Model Environment, pronounced gah-NOHM) is a graphical desktop for users Unix and Linux machines.
- Grub A linux bootloader is the first software program that runs when a computer starts. It is responsible for loading and transferring control to the operating system kernel software. The kernel then starts the rest of the operating system.
- GUI usually pronounced GOO-ee, is a graphical rather than purely text (DOS like) user interface to a computer.
- Gunzip data compression program for Unix and linux
- GZ file extension for a gunziped file which are compressed.
- Hub is a device of convergence where data arrives from one or more directions/computers and is forwarded out in one or more other directions to other computers or devices.
- Hz is a unit of frequency (of change in state or cycle in a sound wave, alternating current, or other cyclical waveform) of one cycle per second. It replaces the earlier term of "cycle per second (cps)."
A simple example is in the U.S. common house electrical supply is at 60 hertz (meaning the current changes direction or polarity 120 times, or 60 cycles, a second). (In Europe, line frequency is 50 hertz, or 50 cycles per second.)
- IDS Short for Intrustion Dectection System, used to determine if someone is trying to break into your computers.
- IMAP Internet Message Access Protocol is a standard protocol for accessing e-mail from your local email server. IMAP (the latest version is IMAP4) is a client/server protocol in which e-mail is received and held for you by your Internet server. So your mail is not on your computer, your just reading it from your computer.
- IP Internet Protocol (IP) is the method or protocol by which data is sent from one computer to another on the Internet. Each computer (known as a host) on the Internet has at least one IP address that uniquely identifies it from all other computers on the Internet. When you send or receive data (for example, an e-mail note or a Web page), the message gets divided into little chunks called packets. Each of these packets contains both the sender's Internet address and the receiver's address.
- IRC Internet relay chat. A older system of chatting online using the Internet. These can be more like the wild west days since there is usally little to no direct control or moderation of these.
- ISA Industry Standard Architecture is a standard computer interconnection that is associated with the IBM AT motherboard. It allows 16 bits at a time to flow between the motherboard circuitry and an expansion slot card and its associated device(s). This standard is no longer used in hardware but you may see it in 486 and earilier machines.
- ISO files are actually images of complete CDs compiles as one whole image, just like Norton Ghost does for hard disks and partitions. ISO images can be loaded into several different CD recording software packages to create CDs.
- ISP Internet Service Provider, a company typically providing internet access and/or internet services
- KDE K Desktop Environment (KDE) is an graphical desktop for Unix and Linux machine. Fancy terms for a different looking windowing system.
- Kernel is the center of a computer operating system. The core that provides basic services for all other parts of the operating system.
- Keylogger is a program that keeps a ongoing log of all your keystrokes on the keyboard. The information is then copied later to a disk or copied out to a network/Internet for retrieval later.
- Kilobyte is approximately a thousand bytes (actually, 2 to the 10th power, or decimal 1,024 bytes). Or just over 1000 bytes.
- LILO is the most used Linux Boot Loader for the x86 verison of Linux but GRUB (another bootloader) is gaining popularity and may take the lead. See grub for more boot loader info.
- Lindows is a low-cost commercial Linux-based operating system with a user interface similar to the latest Microsoft Windows operating system. Although Lindows is proprietary and is not open source like Linux, Lindows is less expensive than Windows XP.
- Linmodem see controllerless modem
- Linus Torvalds is the creator of the Linux kernel, was born in Helsinki, Finland, on December 28, 1969.
- Linuxconf is a sophisticated administration system for the Linux operating system like Yast used in SuSE Linux.
- LISA (Lisp-based Intelligent Software Agents) is a production-rule system heavily influenced by JESS (Java Expert System Shell). It has at its core a reasoning (artifical intelligence) engine based on the Rete pattern matching algorithm. LISA also provides the ability to reason over ordinary CLOS objects
- LOG Is a file extension for log file. It contains a ongoing log of events of a predined action. Like who is logged in etc...
- M$ is a slang term for Microsoft and it percieved drive for more of our money.
- MAN metropolitan area network is a network that connects users with computer resources in a geographic area larger than that covered by a local area network but smaller than the area covered by a wide area network. The term is applied to the interconnection of networks in a city into a single larger network (which may then also offer efficient connection to a wide area network).
- MAN Page or Manual Pages are linux manual pages that are available only directly from the command line. So if you wanted help on the "ls" command you type "man ls" and press enter.
- MBR Master Boot Record is the information in the first sector of any hard disk or diskette that identifies how and where an operating system is located so that it can be boot (loaded) into the computer's main storage or random access memory.
- Megabyte a measure of computer processor storage and real and virtual memory, a megabyte (abbreviated MB) is 2 to the 20th power bytes, or 1,048,576 bytes in decimal notation. Or just over 1000 Kilobytes.
- MHz is a million cycles of electromagnetic currency alternation per second and is used as a unit of measure for the "clock speed" of computer microprocessors. Or just over 1000 Hertz. Currently CPU's are now measured in Gigahertz.
- Module is the concept that similar functions should be contained within the same unit of programming code and that separate functions should be developed as separate units of code so that the code can easily be maintained and reused by different programs.
- Mount is to make a group of files in a file system structure accessible to a user or user group.
- Mozilla was Netscape Communication's nickname for Navigator, its Web browser, and, more recently, the name of an open source public collaboration aimed at making improvements to Navigator.
- MS (milliseconds not M$). MS (ms or msec) is one thousandth of a second and is commonly used in measuring the time to read to or write from a hard disk or a CD-ROM player or to measure packet travel time on the Internet.
- MySQL is a database language. MySQL (pronounced "my ess cue el," not "my sequel") is an open source relational database management system (RDBMS) that uses Structured Query Language (SQL), the most popular language for adding, accessing, and processing data in a database.
- Name server resolves domains, eg www.this_site_does_not_exist into its "IP" / computer address so as a example the IP number of 126.96.36.199 is the IP for http://www.this_site_does_not_exist
- NFS Network File System, is a protocol suite developed and licensed by Sun Microsystems that allows different makes of computers running different operating systems to share files and disk storage.
- NIC Network Interface Card allows your PC to "talk" to other PC's as part of a larger network.
- NTFS Nes Technology File System. Developed by Microsoft and there are two variations, NTFS and NTFS5. Both are considered a stable and when properly configured a secure file system.
- Package (aka software package) can be as simple as a file to correct a softwar bug in your software ( such as a rpm or other file) or as in depth a create a ISO for a operating system like Linux.
- PCI Peripheral Component Interconnect is an connection between a microprocessor and attached devices where expansion slots are spaced closely for high speed operation. PCI transmits 32 bits at a time in a 124-pin connection (the extra pins are for power supply and grounding) and 64 bits in a 188-pin connection in an expanded use. PCI is designed to be synchronized with the clock speed of the microprocessor.
- Perl is a script programming language that is similar in syntax to the C language.
- Permissions Windows NTFS permissions apply to specific users and groups. NTFS permissions apply to files/directories and allow or deny access to each file/directory along with what they can and cannot do with each one.
- PHP is a script language and interpreter that is freely available and used primarily on Linux Web servers.
- Pine is a program for Internet News & Email - is a tool for reading, sending, and managing electronic messages.
- PL file extension for a perl script.
- POP3 Post Office Protocol 3 is the most recent version of a standard protocol for receiving e-mail. POP3 is a client/server protocol in which e-mail is received and held for you by your Internet server.
- Python is an interpreted, object-oriented programming language similar to Perl, that has gained popularity because of its clear syntax and readability.
- Qmail is one of the more popular email servers also called a SMTP server
- RAM random access memory is the place in a computer where the operating system, application programs, and data in current use are kept so that they can be quickly reached by the computer's processor or CPU.
- RJ11 is the most common telephone jack, which can have six wires but usually is implemented with four. The RJ-11 jack is likely to be the jack that your phones are plugged into from the ordinary "untwisted" wire (sometimes called "gray satin" or "flat wire"). In turn, the jacks connect to the "outside" longer wires known as twisted pair that connect to the telephone company central office.
- RJ-45 is a single-line jack for digital transmission over ordinary phone wire, either untwisted or twisted. The interface has eight pins or positions. For connecting a modem, printer, or a data PBX at a data rate up to 19.2 Kbps, you can use untwisted wire. For faster transmissions for computers using Ethernet, you need to use twisted pair wire. (Untwisted is usually a flat wire like common household phone extension wire. Twisted is often round.)
- Root The "Administrator" or " / " most powerful user on a linux system, has privilages to change everything
- Router simply directs the traffic on a network from one path to another. It basically like a cop/bobbie directing traffic.
- RPM Is for Redhat Package Manager. RPM's can contain applications, updates, and fixes for Redhat's Linux as well as others.
- RPM Redhat Package Management - a way of easily distributing & installing software
- Samba A sharing service for linux that allows both Linux and Windows machines to share files with each other.
- Script is a program or sequence of instructions that is interpreted or carried out by another program rather than by the computer processor itself directly.
- Shell Is a Unix and Linux term for the desktop interface. The shell is the layer of programming that understands and executes the commands a user enters. In some systems, the shell is called a command interpreter. For Windows users its kinda like DOS back in the old days.
- Source is the blueprint for a program that makes it work, also known as the code.
- SPAM Unsolicited email. Currently it is estimated that world wide over 50% of all email is SPAM.
- Spyware another term for Adware.
- SSH Secure Shell also known as Secure Socket Shell, is a Unix/Linux cmd line interface and protocol for securely getting access to a remote computer. It is widely used by network administrators to control Web and other kinds of servers remotely.
- Superuser see root
- Swap or swap file is a space on a hard disk used as the virtual memory extension of a computer's real memory (RAM). Having a swap file allows your computer's operating system to pretend that you have more RAM than you actually do.
- Switch is a device that directs incoming data from any input ports to the specific output port that will take the data toward its intended computer or device.
- Syntax is the grammar, structure, or order of the elements in a language. This is just our natural human written language.
- T-1 This digital line carries 24 pulse code modulation (PCM) signals using time-division multiplexing (TDM) at an overall rate of 1.544 million bits per second (Mbps). T1 lines use copper wire and span distances within and between major metropolitan areas. A fractional T-1 is the use of some portion of the 24 channels in a T-1 line, with the other channels going unused.
- T-3 line, providing 44.736 Mbps, is also commonly used by Internet service providers
- TAR Short for Tape ARchive. Tar is a Unix and Linux shell command that creates a single file called an "archive" from a number of specified files.
- Tarball is a jargon term for a tar archive - a group of files collected together as one.
- TCP Transmission Control Protocol is a set of rules (protocol) used along with the Internet Protocol (IP) to send data in the form of message units between computers over the Internet.
- TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol is the basic communication language or protocol of the Internet. It can also be used as a communications protocol in a private network (either an intranet or an extranet).
- Telnet is a user command and an underlying TCP/IP protocol for accessing remote computers. You would use it at the cmd line and looks like goog old DOS. Telnet transmits information in cleartext.
- Terabyte is is a measure of computer storage capacity and is 2 to the 40th power or approximately a thousand billion bytes (that is, a thousand gigabytes). We are a long way in PC's from seeing anything like this but it does currently exist in some supercomputers.
- Trojans is a program that appears to serve a usefull function but carries a virus or worm that infects you computer. These usually come from downloading software from the Internet usually from companies you never heard of before.
- TXT Short for text which is made of ascii code. Text you can read.
- UDP User Datagram Protocol is a communications protocol that offers a limited amount of service when messages are exchanged between computers in a network that uses the Internet Protocol (IP). UDP is an alternative to the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)
- Unix is an operating system that originated at Bell Labs in 1969 as an interactive time-sharing system. Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie are considered the inventors of Unix. In 1974, Unix became the first operating system written in the C language and open source.
- URL Uniform Resource Locator is the address of a file (resource) accessible on the Internet.
- USB Universal Serial Bus is a plug-and-play interface between a computer and other devices such as audio players, joysticks, keyboards, telephones, scanners, and printers. With USB, a new device can be added to your computer without having to add an adapter card or even having to turn the computer off.
- VI a popular text editor from the command line only
- VRAM Video RAM means all forms of random access memory (RAM) used to store image data (pictures or graphics) for a computer display/monitor.
- VIM VI Improved, see "VI"
- Virus is a application written by a programmer to take control of your computer for various purposes. i.e. destroy your operating system, applications, data, or remotely control your computer resources.
- Whois is a program that will tell you the owner of any second-level domain name who has registered it with Verisign (or with Network Solutions, which was acquired by Verisign).
- Wine is a Windows compatibility layer. Wine does not require Microsoft Windows, as it is a completely alternative implementation consisting of 100% Microsoft-free code, but it can optionally use native system DLLs if they are available. This is what you would use if you wanted to run a windows program on a linux machine.
- WineX is the equivilant of wine except it main strength is the ability to play games designed for Windows.
- Winmodem see controllerless modem
- Worm is programming code designed to copy itself repeatedly to memory, on the local drive and to any network drives or shares. Sometimes until little memory or disk space left to operate or perform a function like copy you email address book/files/etc... and send it out to the internet or another computer.
- X This is just a short version for X Windowing System. See X Windowing System for details.
- X window system is a cross platform windows system. This just means it works on more than one Operating System like Unix and Linux. Also see XFree86.
- xf86config Configuration file for setup of video card, monitor and video mode linux should run in.
- XFree86 Window System implementation provides us the X server, but also includes an extensive suite of utilities and applications to help implement a fully functional GUI environment.
- Yast same funciton and purpose as linuxconf. See linuxconf for more information.
- ZIP data compression program for Windows but can be used on linux as well.Dan
\"Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer\" from The Art of War by Sun Tzu\"