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Graphic input to computer

Who is the Leader?
Wacom is the market leader when it comes to graphics tablets. It offers 42 products and accessories, whereas all the other companies combined only offer 15. In 2013, Wacom had a market share of 92.3% in Japan and 80% in the rest of the world.
A graphics tablet is also known as a drawing tablet or a digitizer. It is an input device that replicates the act of drawing on a paper with a pencil or pen. But when you draw with a graphics tablet, a flat pressure-sensitive pad replaces the paper, and a stylus replaces the pencil or pen. We can use a graphics tablet to input hand-drawn illustrations, text, and also signatures. Once the input is captured, it is sent to the computer via an interface (mostly USB) where it is converted to digital format and sent to a CAD (computer-aided design) application for further processing.

In this article, we give you some tips to choose the right graphics tablet according to your needs.

Pointers for Buying a Graphics or Drawing Tablet

Pressure Sensitivity and Accuracy of Input

● As we mentioned earlier, the input is sent through a pad that is sensitive to pressure. Typically, the pressure level of the tablet varies from 256, 512, 1024, to 2048. Higher the sensitivity, better is the quality of the illustration.
● The tablet should be able to accurately take in input from the stylus. Drawing with a stylus is similar to what we do with a pen, pencil, brush, chalk, or crayon. By varying the pressure, we can vary the thickness, darkness, and texture of the drawing. The drawing pad should also respond to the inclination of the stylus.

Deciding the Size

● The actual drawing area of the tablet is different from the physical dimensions of the tablet. It resembles your computer screen. A smaller-sized tablet may also provide the same features than the one with a larger size. The dimensions given refer to active area of the pad; it varies from 4″ by 6″ to 9″ by 12″.
● Remember that the price of the tablet also goes on increasing with the size. Although it is easier to work on larger tablets, they are not portable and take up more space. Take into consideration the available working space where you shall operate the tablet. If space is a constraint, choose a smaller tablet; it will be cheaper and easier to move around.
You also have to consider the screen size of your computer in relation to the drawing area of your tablet. With smaller tablets, you have to move your hand over a smaller area to make the cursor move on your screen. But you will not be able to add details and make fine selections. A comparatively larger tablet will require more hand movement, making the processing slow. It may be ergonomically unsuitable as it might tire your arm muscles.

According to the Interface

To transfer the graphics input from the drawing tablet to your computer, you need to connect them. It can be connected to your computer by a USB interface, serial interface, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi. So you have to know the hardware capabilities of your computer and purchase the tablet that is compatible to your laptop or desktop.

The driver software that comes along with the graphics tablet should be compatible to the operating system you are currently using on your computer. This is important because many features of the tablet such as pressure and tilt sensitivity are dependent on its driver. It can be an added advantage if the tablet comes along with some software like Photoshop Elements, Corel Painter, Sketchbook Pro, GIMP, etc., which can enhance the functioning of your graphics tablet.

Some Stylus Features to Consider

Some manufacturers provide additional nibs with the usual hard plastic nib. These nibs that come with the stylus should be such that they allow us to use it as a pencil, pen, or brush according to our needs.

An eraser that functions similar to a pencil eraser is also provided with some graphics tablets. It erases digital marks instead of pencil marks.

Styluses also have side-switches. They usually function as double-click or right-click. But some manufacturers allow you to modify their default functionality.

Compatibility with other manufacturers
You should also check if your tablet is compatible with a stylus from another manufacturer. This will be important when you want to change your stylus after use.

Is Buying a Graphics Tablet Worth it?
If you are a graphic artist and are required to do digital illustrations, image editing, and photo retouching, a graphics tablet will make your job a whole lot easier. It has many advantages over the conventional mouse. You can edit, draw, and paint digital images in the same way that you would with regular paper drawings. This is not possible with a mouse as its design is not suited for this work. Your wrist is flat, so it is very difficult to drag the mouse to create a drawing. Also, you cannot add details to it. A graphics tablet will, thus, be very useful in this regard. You can also avoid stress injuries of the hand, like the carpal tunnel syndrome, by using a drawing tablet.

History of Microprocessor Computer

The evolution of the microprocessor has been one of the greatest achievements of our civilization. In some cases, the terms ‘CPU’ and ‘microprocessor’ are used interchangeably to denote the same device. Like every genuine engineering marvel, the microprocessor too has evolved through a series of improvements throughout the 20th century. A brief history of the device along with its functioning is described below.

Working of a Processor

☞ It is the central processing unit, which coordinates all the functions of a computer. It generates timing signals, and sends and receives data to and from every peripheral used inside or outside the computer.

☞ The commands required to do this are fed into the device in the form of current variations, which are converted into meaningful instructions by the use of a Boolean Logic System.
☞ It divides its functions in two categories, logical and processing.

☞ The arithmetic and logical unit and the control unit handle these functions respectively. The information is communicated through a bunch of wires called buses.

☞ The address bus carries the ‘address’ of the location with which communication is desired, while the data bus carries the data that is being exchanged.
Types of Microprocessors
◆ CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computers)
◆ RISC(Reduced Instruction Set Computers)
◆ VLIW(Very Long Instruction Word Computers)
◆ Super scalar processors

Types of Specialized Processors
◆ General Purpose Processor (GPP)
◆ Special Purpose Processor (SPP)
◆ Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC)
◆ Digital Signal Processor (DSP)

History and Evolution

The First Stage
The invention of the transistor in 1947 was a significant development in the world of technology. It could perform the function of a large component used in a computer in the early years. Shockley, Brattain, and Bardeen are credited with this invention and were awarded the Nobel prize for the same.

Soon, it was found that the function this large component was easily performed by a group of transistors arranged on a single platform. This platform, known as the integrated chip (IC), turned out to be a very crucial achievement and brought along a revolution in the use of computers.

A person named Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments was honored with the Nobel Prize for the invention of IC, which laid the foundation on which microprocessors were developed. At the same time, Robert Noyce of Fairchild made a parallel development in IC technology for which he was awarded the patent.

The Second Stage
ICs proved beyond doubt that complex functions could be integrated on a single chip with a highly developed speed and storage capacity. Both, Fairchild and Texas Instruments, began the manufacture of commercial ICs in 1961.

Later, complex developments in the IC led to the addition of more complex functions on a single chip. The stage was set for a single controlling circuit for all the computer functions.
Finally, Intel corporation’s Ted Hoff and Frederico Fagin were credited with the design of the first microprocessor.

The Third Stage
The work on this project began with an order from a Japanese calculator company Busicom to Intel, for building some chips for it. Hoff felt that the design could integrate a number of functions on a single chip making it feasible for providing the required functionality.

This led to the design of Intel 4004, the world’s first microprocessor. The next in line was the 8-bit 8008 microprocessor. It was developed by Intel in 1972 to perform complex functions in harmony with the 4004.

This was the beginning of a new era in computer applications. The use of mainframes and huge computers was scaled down to a much smaller device that was affordable to many.
Earlier, their use was limited to large organizations and universities. With the advent of microprocessors, the use of computers trickled down to the common man.
Further Developments
▪ The next processor in line was Intel’s 8080 with an 8-bit data bus and a 16-bit address bus. This was amongst the most popular microprocessors of all time.

▪ Very soon, the Motorola corporation developed its own 6800 in competition with the Intel’s 8080.

▪ Fagin left Intel and formed his own firm Zilog. It launched a new microprocessor Z80 in 1980 that was far superior to the previous two versions.

▪ Similarly, a break off from Motorola prompted the design of 6502, a derivative of the 6800. Such attempts continued with some modifications in the base structure.

▪ The use of microprocessors was limited to task-based operations specifically required for company projects such as the automobile sector. The concept of a ‘personal computer’ was still a distant dream for the world, and microprocessors were yet to come into personal use.

▪ The-16 bit microprocessors started becoming a commercial sell-out in the 1980s with the first popular one being the TMS9900 of Texas Instruments.

▪ Intel developed the 8086, which still serves as the base model for all latest advancements in the microprocessor family. It was largely a complete processor integrating all the required features in it.
68000 by Motorola was one of the first microprocessors to develop the concept of microcoding in its instruction set. They were further developed to 32-bit architectures.

▪ Similarly, many players like Zilog, IBM, and Apple were successful in getting their own products in the market. However, Intel had a commanding position in the market right through the microprocessor era.

▪ The 1990s saw a large-scale application of microprocessors in the personal computer applications developed by the newly formed Apple, IBM, and Microsoft Corporation. It witnessed a revolution in the use of computers, which by then, were a household entity.

▪ This growth was complemented by a highly sophisticated development in the commercial use of microprocessors. In 1993, Intel brought out its ‘Pentium Processor’ which is one of the most popular processors in use till date.

▪ It was followed by a series of excellent processors of the Pentium family, leading into the 21st century. The latest one in commercial use is the Pentium Quad Core technology.

▪ They have opened up a whole new world of diverse applications. Supercomputers have become common, owing to this amazing development in microprocessors.

Certainly, these little chips will go down as history, but will continue to rein in the future as an ingenious creation of the human mind.

7 gadgets to help Health

Gadget Health

Vivofit 2 is for those who don’t want another device to charge regularly. It has a 1-year battery life and a backlit display that shows time and activity stats for steps, distance and calories. It features Garmin’s move bar that remind you to stay active with audible alerts. Keep in mind that its sleep mode has to be set manually through the app.

The Vivosmart HR is one of the cheapest bands with a continuous heart rate tracking feature. It has a touch display that shows your activity stats and even connects to your smartphone to show notifications. It has a move bar that reminds you to move around in case you keep sitting for too long. A full battery charge easily lasts around 5 days.

Xiaomi’s Mi Band is the cheapest wearable tracker you can get that works amazingly well. It does not have a display but syncs all the data to your smartphone app wirelessly. It tracks your steps, distance, calories and even has auto sleep monitoring. You can choose different colours of the band to suit your style and a single charge lasts over a month.

Some of us don’t want to have a fitness band as well as a wrist watch—the Fitbit Blaze is the answer to this issue. It is a smartwatch focused on fitness. You get continuous heart rate tracking, colour display, activity and sleep tracking along with dedicated modes for tracking different kind of activities. Battery lasts around 5 days on a single charge.

This futuristic looking weighing scale uses a technique called biometrical impedance for your body analysis. It comes with the company’s position control technology that guides the user on where and how to stand on the scale so that it can get accurate measurement. It can measure your weight, BMI, fat mass, muscle mass, bone mass, hydration level and then store it in separate profiles for up to 8 different users. All the data is synced wirelessly to the Withings Health Mate app (iOS and Android) automatically making it easy to keep track of any changes on a day to day basis.

As the name suggests, this is a blood pressure monitor that automatically syncs your blood pressure results with the Withings smartphone app. Using the monitor is very easy—just slip-on the monitor on your arm and it will automatically launch the Health Mate app on your smartphone which will give you step by step instructions on how to properly measure your blood pressure. The synced data to the app is then shown in an easy to understand chart.

Goqii deserves a special mention for creating an entire ecosystem around tracking health and fitness along with a personal coach service. The company works on the model of charging subscription for their coach service and provides the fitness tracking band for free. You get a sleep fitness band with an OLED display and a battery life of up to 14 days.

All the data collected by the fitness band in terms of activities and sleep is synced with the Goqii app where it is analysed by your coach. The coach then identifies areas where you need to focus in order to be healthy and provides regular advice via chat or voice call. They also have a doctor service now available on the app who works with your coach to help you make healthier lifestyle choices.

10 Space Strategy Games for PC

In a strategy game, the decisions that gamer(s) take during the course of the game makes a difference in the outcome of the game. When playing these games, players need to be aware of the developments that take place in the game. What seems like a minor happening can have a momentous impact on the final outcome of the game. These games demand, from the players, the ability to think ahead of the current scenario and have a second plan ready in case the desired outcome is not achieved.

Many are fascinated by space. They are hardcore fans of Star Wars, Star Trek, and the like. Add some strategy-building abilities to this fascination, and be ready to be entertained for hours together, by some of the best space strategy games available.

Space-based Strategy Games for PC

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri
This turn-based game has been developed by Firaxis Games. It belongs to the 4X genre. In this genre, players need to expand, explore, exploit, and exterminate an empire. The plot is futuristic and set in the 22nd century. The gameplay is from a third-person perspective, and it has been directed by Sid Meier. The strategies in the game revolve around the idea of colonization of space. Players can choose to be the leader of any one of the seven available factions. This game is a spin-off of the civilization series. It was released in 1999, and is compatible with Linux, MAC OS, and Windows platforms.

Sins of a Solar Empire
This game has been developed by Ironclad Games. It is a real-time game and belongs to the 4X strategy genre. Here, players can choose to be the leader of any one of the three races – Trader Emergency Coalition (TEC), Advent, and Vasari. Leaders have control of their space empires. The goal here is to conquer different star systems. There are four packages of the game that have been released so far. The first was Entrenchment, followed by Diplomacy. The third package was Trinity. Rebellion was as the fourth stand-alone package of this game. This game was released in 2008, and is compatible with the Windows platform.

Star Wars: Empire at War
This game has been developed by Petroglyph Games. The showdown in this game is mainly between Empire and Rebels. Players can choose from three available game modes. These are Campaign, Galactic Conquest, and Skirmish. In this game, at times, there are land battles along with space battles. It is a real-time strategy game, which was released in 2006. Later, in the same year, an expansion pack was released for the game. This was titled Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption. This game is compatible with Windows and MAC OS platforms.

Galactic Civilizations
This is another turn-based strategy game, which has been developed by Stardock. The plot of this game is based in the 23rd century. Players are only assigned the human race. The player becomes the leader of the human race, and the goal to be achieved in this game is of galactic domination through colonization of the space. This game does not support multiplayer gameplay. The player has to play against AI (Artificial Intelligence) opponents. He can choose from various civilizations, which are Terran Alliance, Drengin Empire, Altarian Resistance, Arcean Empire, Yor Collective, Torian Confederation, Dominion of the Korx, and Drath Legion. This game was released in 2003, and is compatible with the Windows platform.

Lords of the Black Sun
This game was previously titled Star Lords. It is a turn-based game of the 4X strategy genre. You can play this game with multiple players along with AI. Players have eight races to choose from, and they are assigned as the leader of the race they choose. These leaders rule their empire, where the goal is to achieve space colonization. The game has been developed by Arkavi Studios. It was released in 2014, and is compatible with the Windows platform.

Master of Orion
This again is a turn-based game, and belongs to the 4X genre of mystery games. It has been developed by Simtex. Like most other games on this list, the goal here is to develop colonies in space. This game has its focus on colonization of the star systems. There are ten races available for the player to choose from. This is not one of the multiplayer space strategy games for PC. It is a single-player game, and players are pitted against AI. This game was first released in 1993, and is compatible with MS-DOS, Apple Macintosh, and Commodore Amiga.

Sword of the Star
This game is also from the 4X strategy genre. It has been developed by Kerberos Productions. Players get to choose to play from the various races, and the goal is to colonize the star systems. This is also a multiplayer game, besides providing an option to pit a single player against AI. Its sequel was released in 2011, while the game was originally released in 2006. It is compatible with the Windows platform.

This game has been developed by Relic Entertainment. It is the first 3D game in the real-time strategy (RTS) category. There are two races to choose from – Kushan and Taiidan. Players are provided with the option of playing individually against AI or in a group. The game was released in 1999, and is compatible with the Windows platform.

Endless Space
One more game in the category of 4X strategy genre, this is a turn-based game, which has been developed by Amplitude Studios. This game has options for multiple players to play the same game, as well for a single player to take on AI. The plot takes place in 3000 A.D., where players are the leaders of their interstellar empires. Here, they can create their own civilizations, and one of the ways to achieve victory is by universal colonization. The battle scenes in this game take place in long-range combat, medium-range combat, and combat at close quarters. The game was released in 2012, and is compatible with the MAC OS and Windows platform.

Planetary Annihilation
This is a real-time strategy (RTS) game, and has been developed by Uber Entertainment. Players are provided with a map consisting of various planets and asteroids. They have to capture these planets, which can also be annihilated by other planets. A player loses on losing the last commander of the fleet. This game draws heavy resemblance to Total Annihilation. It was released in 2014, and is compatible wit the MAC OS, Windows, and Linux platforms.

These were some of the top space strategy games for PCs, that provide a balanced mix of best of both the worlds, or should I say, many other worlds.

Glossary of computer

Stuck in a situation where you don’t know what is being referred to? Here are some computer terms written in an alphabetical order and explained in simple language to equip you to use them appropriately.


Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)
Whenever a data transfer is made, a route is created between two points, which facilitates the transaction, this is called the ATM. ATM equipment is created in such a way that large amounts of data can be transmitted over a single connection while ensuring that every transmission does not take up too much space when it passes through the network or modem connection.

Accelerated Graphics Port/Advanced Graphics Port (AGP)
This is a graphics card extension port used to attach a graphics card to a computer’s motherboard. AGP ports run at 66 MHz and can transfer data up to 2133 MB/sec. An AGP is used with games and applications to store and retrieve larger and better 3D shapes and textures.

Asynchronous Java Script (AJAX)
AJAX is used to create web pages that are more interactive and usable. This is done using HTML and Cascading style sheets.

American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII)
ASCII is a code used to represent the alphabets in the English language with numbers, which are used for character encoding. Numbers from 0-127 are assigned to each letter of the alphabet. Texts that we find in computers, communication equipment, and other similar devices use ASCII Codes.

Automated Document Feeder (ADP)
As the name suggests, ADP is used to automatically feed pages into the scanners and copiers. This helps in facilitating faster work, as each individual page does not need to be fed into the copier or scanner.

Alert Box
The little box that pops up to inform you that the computer you are working on is about to perform an operation which may have damaging consequences, is called the alert box. In a way, the alert box is certainly a help, especially when you might have typed in a command absentmindedly and would not like to go through with it!

Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA)
Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) is another term used to refer to ATA. The drive controller is directly connected to the drive using ATA, which is a type of disk drive. A specific controller is not required to support the drive, as the ATA hard drive is enough for the computer provided the motherboard supports an ATA connection. In this case, no other separate card will be required.

Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF)
AIFF is an audio format used for storing high quality sampled audio data. As an AIFF file is of high quality, it can be burned on to an audio CD, and despite being created by Apple, the files can be read by audio programs on both, the MAC and PC, with ease.

Computer software that scans files, searches for and gets rid of computer viruses and other harmful software.


Beginners’ All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC)
BASIC is a high-level programming language, which was developed in the mid 1960s and was easy to understand and simple to use. Numbers were originally used at the beginning of each instruction to tell the computer the order in which to process the instruction.”Loops” are now used to provide instructions.

A map of dots and pixels, which are generated by a computer and are used to represent types and images are called bitmaps.

Blind Carbon Copy (Bcc)
This command appears while an e-mail is being sent. Written after the commands To and Cc, an e-mail address written in the Bcc box will enable the mail to be sent to the recipient, without the knowledge of the main recipient.

Bandwidth (BW)
Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be transferred through either a modem connection or network within stipulated time. BW is measured in two ways- In analog devices, Hertz or cycles per second is used, whereas in digital devices, it is represented in bits per second (bps) or bytes per second.

A blog is one’s own website or space, a personal diary which is updated on a regular basis by the individual who has created it. Blogs contain images, text, links to other blogs, or useful sites and a lot of other information related to the blogger.

A program used to go look for and present pages on the web. Graphical browsers like:Netscape navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer, display graphics as well as text.

Binary Digit (Bit)
Binary digits include the numbers 0 and 1, and represent the smallest unit of computer data. These units store information used in communication related to digital computing and information theory.

Binary Term (Byte)
A single character in the computer’s memory is represented by 8 bits, which is termed as a byte. File sizes, hard disk space, and computer memory are measured in bytes. Terms such as Kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, and terabytes are used to measure larger amounts of data.

This technology is based on radio waves and is used by a number of devices to transfer data. As it is based on radio waves, communication is made easier. Owing to the Standard 2.4 Ghz frequency, all Bluetooth devices are compatible with each other.

A fault in the hardware or software, which results in a failure in the program. A bug usually occurs when there are differences in software where one application is running side by side with another.

If a page seems interesting and is needed for later reference, a good option would be to bookmark it! This option is available in the browser’s bookmark menu. This option saves a lot of time and doesn’t put stress on the memory either.

Boot is to load the first software, which is responsible for starting the computer. In this process, the start up instructions are loaded from the computer’s ROM and the operating systems is loaded from the current boot disk.


Central Processing Unit (CPU)
Processor is another word that describes the CPU. Basically, the brain of the computer, it is used to interpret computer instructions and help in the processing of data. Simply put, highly complex functions are solved by the CPU.

Configuration, in computer terms, refers to the technical specifications that a computer has, this includes processor speed, amount of RAM, hard disk space, and the type of video card in the machine, other specifications can be added to the list too.

Compact Disc (CD)
Originally developed for storing digital audio, compact discs now store digital data. They are made of polycarbonate with one or more metal layers capable of storing digital information. About 80 minutes of audio/700 MB of data can be stored on a single compact disc. The data is represented by small notches on the disc which is read by a laser from an optical drive.

Compact Disc-Read Only Memory (CD-ROM)
The data on a CD-ROM cannot be altered or erased once the information has been copied on to it. Large amounts of data, up to 700 MB can be stored on CD-ROMs. CD-ROMs are used for distribution of software, games, and multimedia applications.

Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)
The English allies during World War II developed the wireless transmission technology to avoid having their transmission jammed. CDMA transmits frequency range, using a method called multiplexing in which no specific frequency is assigned to each user on the communications network, thus making more bandwidth available for use. CDMA operates in the frequency range of 800 MHz to 1.9 GHz.

A moving symbol represented by a solid rectangle, a blinking underline character, or a straight vertical line which informs the user where the next character will be displayed on the screen, is called a cursor. One can also click or double click the mouse button when the cursor is over an object, to perform an action on that object.

C++, pronounced C plus plus, is a high-level programming language developed in the mid-1970s. It is a popular programming language, which is used to write applications on a variety of platforms. Programming is more efficient and simpler to use because of its power and flexibility.

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)
Used in televisions and computer display screens, CRT works by using electrons which are fired from the back of the tube to phosphorous which is placed in the front, near the display. Once this happens, they light up and are thus projected on the screen. Red, green, and blue (RGB) are the three colors that blend to produce the images that are viewed on the screen.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
As the name suggests, CRM covers all facets linked to companies and the relationship they share with their customers.

Computer Aided Design (CAD)
A software, which is considered a blessing to all designers. It is used to create three dimensional designs with a number of features. Designs created on CAD can be rotated, moved, and sizes can be changed in a short time.

This term refers to an individual or an organization who holds back a fee for discussions and transactions over the Internet. The concerned organization or individual does not take possession or own the services and goods. Real estate brokers and online insurance are examples.

Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL)
COBOL is a third- generation programming language, which even though considered to be one of the oldest languages, is still used today. COBOL is used in the areas of business, finance, and administrative systems by the government and companies.


Database (DB)
A DB can be compared to a filing system, the only difference being that this one would be automatically managed. In a DB, information or data is stored in a structured sequence like files, folders, and folders in the computer. Whenever information is required, the computer program can consult it and retrieve the required data.

This term refers to receiving or copying data from a main source to another device. This is often practiced while copying movies, games, and software from the Internet.

Removing or erasing in computer terminology is known as deleting. While working on a computer, a word, a file, a character, or even a folder is removed when the delete key is pressed on the keyboard. Large chunks of text can be selected and then deleted too. Deleted files are not completely erased once they have been removed, this only happens when they are written over.

Information that has been processed and then stored in the computer is known as data. Such information is available in the form of text documents, images, audio clips, software programs, and a range of other types of data. The information is then processed by the CPU and later stored in files and folders in the hard disk of the computer.

This term is used to refer to moving an object from the display screen. Dragging not only involves moving icons and objects, it can also be used for a number of other functions like repositioning a window and dragging the scroll bar, to name a few. Dragging can be done by putting the cursor over the object, then clicking and holding the left button of the mouse till you reach the place the object needs to be placed. This done, the mouse button can be released.

Dynamic Hyper-Text Markup Language (DHTML)
Interactive and animated websites are created with DHTML, which is a collection of technologies used together. A combination of HTML , JavaScript, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and the Document Object Model is used.

Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)
A high-capacity optical disc that resembles a CD but can store much more information in comparison. It is mainly used for movies, software, and data backup purposes. While a CD can store up to 700 MB of data, a single-layer, single-sided DVD can store up to 4.7GB of data. A prerequisite for using a DVD on a computer is to have a DVD-ROM drive.

Dots Per Inch (DPI)
It is a measure of the resolution of an image, whether on the screen or in print. DPI, as the name itself implies, measures how many dots fit into a linear inch (2.4 cm) of space. An image that has more dots per linear inch will produce more details in an image.

As the name suggests, this term is used to get rid of bugs which stand for errors in programs. These errors may have minor or serious consequences. To counter this, programmers debug the programs, thus getting rid of as many errors as possible, before releasing the software into the market. In situations where there is tight coupling of various subsystems, changes in one may cause bugs to appear in another, hence prolonging the debugging process.

Data Transfer Rate
Transfer rate or data transfer rate measures the speed at which data is carried from one device or location to another. Data transfer rates are measured in bits per second (bps).

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
Data transfer over regular lines is done using the DSL. A DSL circuit is faster than a regular phone connection despite the copper wires used. DSL can be divided into an Asymmetric DSL and a Symmetric DSL. An ADSL connection has a download speed of 1.5 megabits per second and upload speeds of 128 kilobits per second. The SDCL has data transfer speed of 384 kilobits per second in both directions.


Electronic mail (E-mail)
When a message is transferred over a communication network, it is termed as an E-mail. E-mail messages are typically sent by Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and received by Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3) or Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP).

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
A standard method used for transferring data from one computer network or system to another, is termed as EDI. It is used for tracking equipment, sending orders to warehouses, creating invoices, and other e-commerce purposes.

A small piece of specialized American Standard Code For Information Interchange (ASCII) art used in text messages as an informal markup to indicate emotions and attitudes, that would be conveyed through ones’ body language in ordinary situations, can be termed as emoticons. Keys on the keyboard can be used to create them.

Excel is an application created by Microsoft that stores data in grids, rows, and columns. It is compatible with Microsoft Windows and Macintosh computers. Calculation and graphics can be done in Excel.

Electronic-Commerce (E-commerce)
Buying and selling products and services over electronic systems, such as the Internet and other computer networks, is termed as eCommerce or e-commerce. This way of selling and purchasing has seen a drastic growth with a lot of websites venturing into it. E-commerce is of two types – Business-2-Consumer (B2C) and Business-2-Business (B2B)

Formerly known as Internet based learning and then Web based learning, computer-enhanced learning today is generally referred to by e-learning. In e-learning, electronic applications and processes are used in the learning process, these include Web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms, and even digital collaboration.

Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EPROM)
A type of memory that retains content until exposed to ultraviolet light. When exposed the light clears its content, this enables reprogramming of the memory to take place. A special device called PROM Programmer or PROM Burner is required to write and erase an EPROM.

An effective way to keep important data a secret! This is done by coding and scrambling in such a way that it can only be deciphered by someone who has the appropriate decoding key. Secure websites as well as other mediums of data transfer use this method, so that no one can tap the information.

A combination of education and entertainment is what results in edutainment. This term is used for entertainment that is designed to educate as well as amuse the user. Edutainment uses familiar forms like television programs, computer and video games, films, and music to instruct and socialize.


A combination of typeface and other qualities such as size, pitch, and spacing comprise a font. Most word processing programs constitute a font Menu, with the help of which the selection of the font can be made.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Common questions that are asked about a certain software program or a website that a new user should go through. Going through it, the user is provided with answers to his queries.

Accumulated data stored in one unit, under a filename is called a file. This data may include a picture, an audio or video file, a library, or an application. Text files include Word documents, Rich Text Format (RTF), and layered image files. Under the audio file category one would find MP3s and AIFs.

Computer software that is copyrighted and made available for use free of charge is referred to as freeware. Since freeware is copyrighted, no one can market the software as their own. Common freeware are program updates and small games.

First In, First Out (FIFO)
This term refers to a method of how data can be processed and retrieved. In this system, the items that are entered first are also the first ones to be removed. In simpler words, it would be right to say that the items are removed in the same order in which they entered.

Hardware or software devices that have been created in such a way as to allow, stop, or proxy data through a network in which the level of trust is different for each is called a firewall. By using a firewall, a network server or client machine can be stopped from being damaged by users who are not authorized to use it.

A term coined to refer to the act of posting or sending unpleasant messages over the Internet. These kinds of messages can be sent using e-mails, instant messaging applications, and can be posted within online discussion forums also referred to as bulletin boards and newsgroups.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
FTP is a protocol used to exchange files over networks that support TCP/IP protocol. Two computers are required in a FTP transfer, the server and the client.


Graphics Interchange Format (GIF)
A compressed image format is known as GIF. The images in GIF use a compression formula, developed by CompuServe. They are based on a palette of almost 256 colors, these colors are indexed colors.

Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO)
This term is a computer maxim, which means that if data that is invalid is entered into the computer, the output will also be invalid.

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
A single-chip processor, which is mainly used for computing 3-D functions. 3-D functions include lighting effects, object transformations, and 3-D motion. The tasks referred to above are all mathematically intensive, which if done on the CPU would put a strain on it. The GPU comes into the picture here as it can help the computer to run more efficiently.

Graphical User Interface (GUI)
The graphical interface of a computer is something which allows users to click and drag objects with the help of a mouse in place of text, at a command line. Windows and MAC OS are two operating systems which are popular.

A hardware or software which acts like an entrance from one network to another. This is done to facilitate data transfer between a number of computers. A task like sending an E-mail or logging onto a website, involves a gateway which helps the connection take place.

Invented by the University of Minnesota, the gopher system helps users search for and collect information using a text interface. It is based on the client-server structure, where a gopher client program looks up the gopher servers, where documents, articles, programs are stored.

This term is used to measure computer processing speeds. Previously, Megahertz was the term used to measure computer CPU speeds, but after the 1,000 Mhz mark was crossed around the year 2000, Gigahertz gained prominence. 1,000 megahertz (MHz) or 1,000,000,000 Hertz (Hz) is equal to 1 Gigahertz (GHz).

Gnutella is derived from two words, The first is GNU, General Public License and the second part comes from Nutella, a chocolate hazelnut spread. Gnutella is a Peer to peer network (P2P). In other words, it is a network which allows its users to share files. To do this, each user needs to be connected to an ‘ultrapeer’, which is a server where files are shared by the users who are connected.


The physical parts of a computer and other related devices are termed as computer hardware. Hardware can be divided into two parts – internal hardware, also referred to as components, and external hardware, which are referred to as peripherals. Devices which are included under internal hardware are motherboards, hard drives, and RAM. External hardware include monitors, keyboards, mice, scanners, and printers.

A word, phrase, or an image that needs to be clicked to enable the user to go to a new document or a section within the current document. Nearly all web pages have hyperlinks. The hyperlink stands out when the cursor is moved over it, usually changing the arrow into a small hand pointing to the link. When clicked, a new page is opened. Hyperlinks are also found in other hypertext documents like encyclopedias, glossaries, dictionaries, and other material used for reference.

This term is used to refer to someone who can gain access to other computers without permission. From a simple task like figuring out someone’s password to a difficult task like writing a custom program to break another computer’s security code can be done by a hacker with ease. Software manufacturers release periodic “security updates” to minimize hacking, especially in large business organizations.

Hard Disk
A spindle of magnetic disks, called platters, that record and store information are called hard disks. Every time data is saved or a program is installed on the computer, some information is written on the hard disk. The hard disk stores data magnetically, because of which the recorded information stays there even when the computer is turned off.

Hard Drive
Only a little bigger than the hand the typical hard drive can hold over 100 GB of data, this is stored on a stack of disks that are mounted inside a solid cover. The speed (5400 or 7200 RPM) at which these disks spin makes it possible to access data immediately from anywhere in the drive.

Home Page
It is a local file that loads when a web browser is started. This also happens when the browser’s “home” button is pressed. The front page, webserver directory index, or the main web page is what comprises the home page of a group, an individual, a company, or even an organization.

Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML)
This term refers to the language that web pages are written in. A variety of tags and attributes are used to define the structure and layout of a web document. The rules of HTML must be kept in mind while writing web pages, so that it would be displayed correctly in the web browser.

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
The protocol which is being used to transfer data over the World wide web is called HTTP. This is the reason that all web addresses have “http://” at the beginning of their website address. As soon as a URL is typed into the browser and the Enter button is pressed, a http request is sent to the appropriate web server. This server then sends the HTML page you have asked for.

Web, an e-mail, and a FTP server are examples of a host. Host refers to a computer that acts as a server for other computers which are on a network.

The name used while chatting online is referred to as a handle. Using a handle, one can chat online using an identity, which does not give others’ information that you would not be comfortable revealing.


Any data that is entered into the computer using input devices like the keyboard, mouse, scanner, and other such devices is called input. The data can include text typed in a word processing document, words entered while searching using a search engine, or even information entered into an excel sheet. Small and simple things like clicking or moving the mouse button, to scanning a document, come under the term input.

IP Address
A code which is made up of numbers separated by three dots and used to identify a particular computer located on the Internet, is called an IP address. All computers require an IP address to connect to the Internet. Four sets of numbers from 0 to 255, separated by 3 dots comprise an IP address.

Input/Output (I/O)
As the name suggests, this term is used to refer to how different parts of the information processing system communicate with each other. The signals received by the unit are called inputs and the signals sent from it are termed outputs.

Internet Connection Firewall (ICF)
The term written above is a Windows XP feature. It is a feature that protects computers, which are connected to the Internet from unauthorized viewing. Once ICF is enabled, incoming requests are logged on. If the information that comes in is something that has been requested, then the transmission will be passed, if not, then the transmission will be dropped.

Instant Messaging (IM)
Instant message and IMing are two other names by which instant messaging is referred to. Instant messaging means using typed text to communicate with two or more people connected to the IM client software. This conversation differs from an E-mail, as this happens in real-time.

A term coined to connect two words, Information and Entertainment. It refers to any movie, software, television show, or website, which has content that is a perfect blend of information and entertainment.

Millions of computers all connected by a global network, constitute the Internet. The Internet consists of smaller domestic, academic, business, and government networks which together carry information and services.

Icons are small pictorial representations used for an object or program. They serve as a useful tool, as with the help of the mouse or the keyboard, icons can be minimized and maximized.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)
A company or organization that provides consumers access to the Internet and other related services for a nominal fee. Dial-up, broadband, cable modem ISDN, gigabit ethernet, and satellite Internet access are some of the popular options.

Information Technology (IT)
Pronounced as two separate letters, IT refers to anything related to networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or even the people who work using these technologies. IT departments whose responsibilities include managing the computer networks and other technical areas of the business have come into existence.

Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)
Using ICS, several computers can connect to the Internet using the same connection as well as IP address. For several computers in a household to connect to the same cable or DSL modem, a router has to be used. Apart from a router, software like Windows 98 and later as also Mac OS X, support Internet connection sharing.

Integrated Circuit (IC)
A small electronic device made out of silicon, that possesses the ability to hold hundreds to millions of transistors, resistors, and capacitors. Though small ICs can perform calculations and store data,using both the digital and analog technologies.


Originally called OAK, Java is a high-level programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. As OAK was unsuccessful, it was renamed Java. Java is similar to C++, though it has been simplified to get rid of common errors made while programming.

A scripting language developed by Sun Microsystems together with Netscape. As mentioned earlier, being a scripting language, JavaScript cannot be used to create stand-alone programs, so it is instead used to create web pages that are dynamic and interactive.

Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG)
JPEG is a compression method commonly used for photographic images. JPEG itself specifies the program code, which defines how an image is compressed into bytes and then decompressed back into images, and the file format used during this procedure.

Java Runtime Environment (JRE)
Also known as J2RE, this is a software bundle created by Sun Microsystems. Using this software allows a computer system to run a Java application, which is necessary to view many Internet pages.

Java Server Page (JSP)
JSP is a Java technology with the help of which software developers can dynamically generate HTML, XML, or other types of documents, which are created in response to a request by a client. Using this technology, certain pre-defined Java codes are allowed to be embedded into static content.

A metal connector, small in size that acts as an on/off switch and is used to change hardware configurations, is termed a jumper. It is usually made up of two wires and a small piece of metal. The jumper is turned on by connecting the wires to the metal piece and is disconnected by removing the wires. Jumper blocks, which are made up of multiple jumpers, are used to provide information to a computer regarding the configuration of certain devices, like a hard drive or a modem.


Kilobits Per Second (Kbps)
The term written above is used to describe data transfer rates, 33.6 Kbps and 56 Kbps are two modem speeds which are common.

The kernel is used to refer to the central component of most computer Operating Systems. Managing the system’s resources is one of its responsibilities. Different kernels perform different tasks, which depend on their design and implementation.

This term is used to refer to the space which exists between the characters of a font. If Kerning were not available then each character would take up a block of space after which the next character would be printed. Using Kerning, characters vertically overlap, meaning part of two characters take up the same vertical space. This is useful because it allows more text to be placed within a confined space.

Computer hardware which has been made like the typewriter keyboard. There are three types of keys on a computer keyboard – Alphanumeric, which comprises letters and numbers, punctuation, which is made of the comma, exclamation mark, and so on, and the special keys which include function keys, control keys, arrow keys, and the caps lock. The keyboard is used to enter data into a computer.

Keyboard Shortcut
A set of keys that perform a function when used with some special key combinations. Most of what is termed as keyboard shortcuts are shortcuts for commands located in a program’s Menu bar. For instance the shortcut for copying data in Windows is “Control + C” and “Command + C” in Mac.

This term is used to refer to a character on the keyboard. A keystroke is performed when a key is pressed. At times, keystrokes per minute is used to measure the typing speed of an individual, instead of words per minute.

Kibibyte (KiB)
Established by the International Electrotechnical Commission in 2000, Kibibyte is a unit of computer storage or information. The term has been coined to refer exclusively to 1,024 bytes.

KVM Switch
The Keyboard, Video, and Mouse together constitute the KVM Switch. This is a hardware device using which a user can control multiple computers. Though multiple computers are connected to the KVM, a smaller number can also be controlled at any time given.


Local Area Network (LAN)
A computer network that covers a small geographical area like a home, office, or group of buildings, together make up the LAN. Largest and mid-sized business establishments today use the LAN. This makes it easy and convenient for employees to share information.

Portable computers that can be carried while on the move, laptops include a screen, keyboard, and a trackpad, also referred to as a trackball. Since Laptops were created for people who are on the move, they contain a battery that allows them to operate without being connected to a terminal. The battery can be charged using an adapter. Most modern laptops also include a wireless networking adapter, which makes it possible to access the Internet without wires.

Laser Printer
Laser printers use a laser beam to produce an image on a drum. The electrical charge on the drum is altered whenever the light of the laser hits it. After this, the drum is rolled through a reservoir or toner, this is picked up by the charged portions of the drum. At the end of all this, the toner is transferred to the paper using a combination of heat and pressure.

When there is a transfer of data taking place, there is latent time, which is the time it takes after the packet has been sent, to the time it is received. This amount of inactive time is called Latency.

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)
A thin, flat display device, which is made up of a number of colors or monochrome pixels laid out in front of a source of light or reflector. LCDs are used in laptop computer screens and flat panel monitors. Smaller LCDs screens are used in PDAs and portable video games.

The Leaderboard is a type of online advertisement which was introduced in 2003 to change the size of conventional advertisements. The standard size of the Leaderboard advertisement is 728 pixels wide by 90 pixels tall. Leaderboards contain images, text, or even animation. Once clicked, the user is redirected to the advertiser’s website.

Here, leaf refers to files which are placed at the very bottom of the hierarchical file systems, very much like the leaves on a tree. Directories, in the same system can be compared to the nodes.

Last In, First Out (LIFO)
This term is used to refer to a method of processing in which the last items entered are the first to be removed. This method is used while extracting data from a range of available data. In cases when the most recent information has to be accessed, the LIFO method is used.

A link is a navigation element in a document,which leads to another section. The section referred to may be in the same document, another document, or a specified part of another document. These links may be in the form of an underlined, highlighted, or colored word/phrase or image.

Linux is an Unix-based operating system which was created by Linus Torvalds, as he was not happy with the currently available options in Unix. Linux is easily customizable and new codes can be added to the operating system, thus making it a hit with users.

A small program which automatically sends messages to multiple e-mail addresses, which are present on a mailing list. The address of a subscriber is automatically added to the list when the person subscribes to it. This enables future e-mails to be sent to the new subscriber along with the other people on the list. The listserv automatically removes the address when the person unsubscribes from the facility.

Load Balancing
Evenly spreading out the processing and communication activities across a computer network to ensure that no single device is overloaded, is called Load Balancing. This is particularly useful for networks where the number of requests that will be sent to a particular server cannot be predicted. Networks become more efficient using the load balancing technique.

The local computer on which a program runs is called the localhost. Let us take for instance that a web browser is being run on your computer, in this case, your computer is considered to be the localhost.

Logic Gate
This is a type of circuit that regulates the flow of electricity which determines the computers use to make complex logical decisions. Microprocessors have millions of Logic gates while other circuits may only have a few. Highly complex operations can be made successful by combining thousands or millions of logic gates.

To supply the computer with information which is necessary to obtain access to it, is the login procedure. This information could be a username and a password, or an ID number and a security code. Once this information is entered and verified, the session will begin.

Lines Per Inch (LPI)
The resolution of images printed in halftones is measured in LPI. Halftone images are printed as a series of dots, the higher the number of LPIs, the more dense the dots can be, this helps in providing images with finer resolution.

LAPP is a combination of Linux, Apache, PostGreSQL, and Perl. It is an open source web development platform. Linux is used as the operating system, Apache, the web server, PostGreSQL, as the relational database management system, and PHP, as the object-oriented scripting language.


A digital electrical component that is programmable and contains the functions of the CPU on a single semi conducting integrated circuit is called a Microprocessor. Functions like adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing are done by the microprocessor. Megahertz or cycles per second, is used to measure the speed of a microprocessor.

Menu Bar
A horizontal strip that contains lists of available menus related to a certain program. Functions such as opening files, interacting with an application, or help are housed in the menu bar.

The main circuit board of a computer is called the motherboard. It is the basic unit on which the whole computer works. The motherboard is what houses the CPU, the RAM, memory expansion slots, PCI slots, serial ports, etc. Even the slots for hard drive, DVD drive, keyboard, and mouse are found there.

A software program that has been developed for multiple operating systems is called multiplatform. Microsoft Word is a multiplatform application as it runs on both Windows and Macintosh platforms.

Media Access Control Address (MAC address)
A hardware identification number that identifies each device on a network in an unique way. Every network card whether Ethernet or Wi-Fi has a MAC address manufactured into them, because of this, the MAC address cannot be changed. Six two digit hexadecimal numbers make up MAC addresses.

A very big and expensive computer, which is capable of supporting a large number of users simultaneously is called a mainframe. Mainframe computers are mostly used in large businesses and for scientific purposes.

Malicious Software (Malware)
This term is used to refer to software programs, which have been created to harm or process unwanted actions on a computer system. Viruses, worms, trojan horses, and spyware are some examples of malware.

Modulator/Demodulator (Modem)
A communication device which allows one computer to connect with another and transfer data over telephone lines is called a modem. A modem can be either external or internal to the computer.

This term is used to refer to open sources relational database management system, which is based on the structure query language. This language is used for adding, removing, and modifying information in the database. Commonly found on web servers, MySQL can be used for a variety of other applications too.


Etiquette on the net is referred to as netiquette. Displaying good netiquette means respecting another person’s privacy and not doing anything that will frustrate another person. Some areas where good netiquette must be displayed are, while sending an e-mail, chatting online, and in newsgroups.

Two or more computers, which are connected to each other, form a network, this facilitates the sharing of files and information which can take place between a number of systems.

Network Interface Card (NIC)
This term refers to a card which needs to be inserted into the computer to connect it to a network. Some of these NICs are designed for particular types of networks, while there are those which can serve multiple networks too.

Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP)
An Internet application used mainly for reading and posting articles, as also transferring news among news servers. A message that has been sent will go through this protocol before being sent to the newsgroup.

Network Operations Center (NOC)
NOC is the location where the company’s servers and networking equipment are kept, managed, and monitored. This may be at an external location or within the company premises itself.

A term which originated in the 1990s and is used to refer to a new user of a computer or the Internet.

Half of one byte, which equals to a set of four bits, make up a nybble. Sometimes, the nybble is also known as a hexadecimal digit or “hex digit.”


The time when a computer or any other device is not connected to another device or turned on, we would say that it is offline. Not being connected to the Internet is another instance when one would use this term.

Operating System (OS)
This is the term used to refer to the software that communicates with the computer hardware. The OS is important because without it, it would not be possible to run software applications. The allocation of memory, processing of tasks, assessing of disks and peripherals are all tasks which are performed by the Operating Systems (OS).

The place where an outgoing e-mail message is stored until it is successfully sent to the recipient.

Open Shortest Path First (OSPF)
The method of finding the shortest path from one router to another in a LAN (Local Area Network) is called OSPF. When several routers are on a network, a table is created of the router connections, thus, when data is sent from one location to another, the best and the most efficient option available is selected for the data to be sent. This is done by the OSPF algorithm.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
The branch of computer science that involves reading text from paper and translating the images into a form that the computer can manipulate is called OCR. Using this system, it is possible to take a magazine or book article and feed it directly into an electronic computer file. This information is then read using a word processing program.

Object Linking and Embedding (OLE)
OLE is used to refer to a compound document standard developed by Microsoft Corporation, which enables the user to create objects using one application and linking or embedding them using the next. The objects that are embedded retain their original format.

Optical Media
Discs that are read by a laser are called Optical media. CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, and their variations along with Blu-ray are included under this term. Optical discs have a longer shelf life and are cheaper to produce.

Open source
A program in which the source code is known to the general public. This information is divulged for use and / or modification from its original design, which is done free of charge. The open source code is created as an effort in which programmers work on the code and improve it and then share the changes with the community.


Computer data sent over a network is called a packet. The amount of data sent over a network is small and this data comes to the computer in the form of many small packets. The address of its origin, destination, and the information that connects it to the related packets is what constitutes a packet.

A hidden series of characters that makes it possible for a user to gain access to a file, computer, or a program. Usually passwords are made up of several characters, which may include letters, numbers, and most symbols leaving out spaces. Passwords ensure that the computer is not accessed without permission.

Proxy Server
A server that all the computers in large businesses, organizations, and universities are connected to before they gain access to information on the Internet. Using a proxy server, the Internet speed is improved.

A common set of rules and instructions which a computer follows while communicating with each other is termed as Protocol. Many different types of protocols exist because of the many methods which computers use to communicate.

This term is used to refer to a website or a service that provides a broad spectrum of services and resources. E-mails, forums, search engines, and on-line shopping malls fall under this category.

Post Office Protocol (POP3)
A method of delivering e-mails, which is simple and standardized, is called POP3. E-mails are received by the POP3 mail server, whose task it is to filter them into the appropriate user folders. Messages are downloaded from the mail server to the user’s hard disk whenever a user connects to the mail server to check his mail.


A number of jobs that are in sequence, waiting to be processed is what makes up a queue. New jobs are added to the already existing line and are processed in the order in which they were sent.

QuickTime was developed by Apple Inc. It is a multimedia framework, which can handle various forms of digital video, media clips, sound, text, and a whole range of interactive panoramic images. It is available for operating systems like Microsoft Windows, Classic Mac OS, and Mac OS X.


Tape Drive
An essential element of a computer system, a tape drive can be used to store a large amount of information on magnetic tape cartridges. They can be used for daily back-up of information.

Task Bar
The horizontal bar located at the bottom of the screen is called a task bar. Apart from the Start button and the time, the task bar houses the programs which are open.

Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)
Developed by the U.S military, the TCP/IP was used to enable communication between different types of computers and networks. The former is connection-oriented and provides communication that is dependable and the latter provides packet routing.

This term is used to refer to a text-based program which is used to directly connect and interact with a remote host or a server.

Templates are formats which have already been designed. If required the text and graphics can be customized according to one’s own needs.

Terabyte (TB)
A terabyte is a unit of measurement which is equivalent to 1000 gigabytes.

A device which enables the user to be connected to a computer is called a terminal. Usually, a terminal consists of a monitor and a keyboard. Terminals are usually of three kinds: Intelligent, smart, and dumb terminal.

Text Editor
Text editor is a program which can be used to input, update, delete, write, or store information on the computer. Programs, data, or textual material are some of the kinds of information.

In networking, a series of bits found on a token-ring network, is called a token. It is used to send information to other computers.
A single element which is found in a programming language is called a token.
When we take into account security systems, token would refer to a small card with an ID code used to log into a network.
A row, column, or block of onscreen buttons or images is what a toolbar is. When a button or an image is clicked on a toolbar, certain functions of the program are activated.

When the mouse pointer is moved over a button on the toolbar, the name and description about it appears in a rectangular box, this is called tooltip.

Trojan Horse
A trojan horse refers to a program that looks genuine, but performs some wrong activity when it is run. The only difference that exists between trojan horses and viruses is that, the former do not replicate themselves.

A set of characters like letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and symbols of the same design make up a typeface. Typefaces are vector-based, because of this, they can be scaled very large and still appear sharp.


Unified Modeling Language (UML)
UML is a programming language used for visualizing, specifying, and documenting the artifacts of software systems. UML uses blueprints to simplify the complex designing process.

Unix is an operating system which was created by Bell Labs in the 1960s. It only gained popularity with the consumers in the 1990s. Unix, is still considered the most common operating system for web servers.

To upload is to send a file from a local computer to another remote computer.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
URL is an address that indicates where a file is located on the Internet.

Universal Serial Bus (USB)
The most common type of computer port used is the USB. Basically, USB is a protocol which is used when there is a data transfer taking place from one digital device to another.

A string of characters that is unique to a person and is used for identification while attempting to gain access to the Internet or any restricted website.

Software programs that perform tasks which are very specific and are usually related to managing system resources are called utility programs. Some of these programs help ensure that the computer is free from unwanted software, while other utility programs add functionality like desktop customization.


Vector Graphic
Vector images are made up of paths. A line, a square, a triangle, or a curvy shape are what constitute a path. Using these paths, simple and complex diagrams can be created.

Video Graphics Array (VGA)
Originally developed in 1987 by IBM, the VGA is the standard monitor interface used in most personal computers.

Video Card
A card that possesses the necessary circuits to create video signals that can be processed by the computer display.

Virtual Memory
Memory that is created when the RAM is full is called virtual memory. This is done by using the hard disk space of the computer.

Virtual Reality
An environment created artificially using computer hardware and software. In a virtual world, sound effects are also used along with visuals.

Viruses are tiny programs which are capable of causing harm to files and programs on the same network. Viruses are able to duplicate themselves, attach themselves to other programs and even travel across networks.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
A combination of hardware and software with the help of which people can use the Internet to make telephone calls. In this case, the voice data is sent using packets. Making calls this way is much cheaper as the user only pays for Internet access.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A network that is connected to the Internet and uses encryption to bring into order all data that is sent through the Internet making the entire network Virtually private, this is called VPN.

Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML)
This term is used to refer to a 3D navigation specification using which interactive 3D websites can be created. Virtual tours through malls and other buildings as also models of cars can be viewed using VRML.


Wide Area Network (WAN)
Computer networks that are connected together over long distances using telephone lines, fiber-optic cables, or satellite links are called WANs

Web Host
This term is used to refer to a service which a company provides to Internet users with online systems which are used for storing information, images, video, or any other content using the web, web hosts also provide Internet connectivity. A small fee is usually charged for using this service.

Web Page
A web page is used to refer to a document or file which is written in HTML and stored on the web server. This document can be viewed over the Internet with the help of a Web browser.

Web pages, images, sound, video, and other files make up a website. A website can be retrieved using a browser.

Windows is an operating system with a graphical user interface.

Windows Sockets (Winsock)
Winsock is an application programming interface which is used for developing Windows programs. These programs can communicate using the TCP/IP protocol.

This term is used to refer to a computer that has been set up to perform a set of tasks. Photo editing, audio recording, or video production are a few of those tasks. These workstations are connected together which make it possible for files and other information to be sent from one computer to another.

World Wide Web (WWW)
Researchers at CERN in Switzerland, created the concept of the WWW. The WWW is a collection of online documents which are stored in servers around the world. These servers are connected to the Internet, using a web browser, these documents can accessed over the Internet.


Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML)
This term is used to refer to a Markup language which is written XML.

Extensible Markup Language (XML)
XML is a language that is used to define documents. This is done using a standard format which can be read by any application that is compatible with XML.

Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformation (XSLT)
XSML is a language which is used to change XML or XSL documents into HTML, using a set of well-defined rules. This change makes it suitable for a browser to display.


Yobibyte is a unit of measurement which is equal to 2 to the 80th power. 1,208,925,819,614,629,174,706,176 bytes or 1,024 zebibytes make up a yobibyte.

The largest unit of measurement used for computer data is the yottabyte, it consists of 1,024 zettabytes.


A unit of data storage which equals to 2 to the 70th power is called a zebibyte. It is equal to 1,024 exbibytes.

Zettabyte is a name derived from Zeta which stands for the last letter of the Greek alphabet. A unit used to measure data storage, a zetabyte is equal to 1,024 exabytes.

This term is used for a file format which is used to compress or zip files. This is done in order to reduce storage space and time taken to transfer a file.

Output devices of computer

Output devices of computer are types of peripheral hardware connected to the computer either using cables or over a wireless network. An output given by the computer can be in the form of a display on the screen or a printed document or a song that is played. Immaterial of whether you have desktop computers, laptop computers or supercomputers, you will require at least one output device.


A monitor is also called video display terminal (VDT). The users can view the visual display of the processed data on the monitor. Computer monitors come in a variety of screen sizes and not to forget, visual resolutions. All monitors have a video card, which processes the data into images, to be eventually displayed. Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) and flat panel displays are the two types of monitors. CRTs are cheaper, and have good viewing angle. They are also bulkier and consume more power. On the other hand, the flat panel displays have no magnetic interference and lighter. They are also costlier.


Printer is an external hardware device, which takes processed data from the computer to generate a hard copy of the same. After the monitors, printers are the most used peripherals of computers and they are commonly used to print text data, images, etc. There are three main types of computer printers, namely inkjet, laser and dot matrix printers. The dot matrix printer is an impact printer. It uses striking pins against a ribbon to produce the characters in order to print the data. The inkjet printer uses magnetized plates that spray ink on the paper to produce the data. On the other hand, laser printers use a laser beam to produce the data.


A speaker is a hardware device, that is connected to a computer’s sound card, which outputs the sound generated by the card. Audio data generated by the computer is sent to the audio card that is located in the expansion slot. The card translates the data into audio signals, which are then sent to either the speakers or the headphones. In the initial phase, computers had on-board speakers, which generated series of different tones and beeps. When the popularity of multimedia and computer games grew, better quality computer speakers known for higher quality sound effects and music came into the market.


It is a hardware device with which an image and text is projected onto a flat screen. Image data is sent to the video card by the computer which is then translated into a video image and sent to the projector. A projector is often used in meetings or to make presentations as it allows the display to be visible to a larger audience. Ceiling mount projector and table mount projector are the two types of projectors available in the market today.


Plotters, like printers, create a hard copy rendition of a digitally rendered design. The design is sent to a plotter through a graphics card and the image is created using a pen. In simple words, plotters basically draw an image using a series of straight lines. This device is used with engineering applications. Drum plotter uses a drum, on which the paper gets wrapped. The plotter pen moves across the drum to produce plots. The other type of plotter is the flatbed plotter. The paper is placed on the bed and graphics are drawn on it. This kind of plotter is used for larger drawings.

Braille Embosser

It is nothing but an impact printer that prints braille output by punching dots on the paper. A few embossers also emboss graphics. Before printing, the data should be first translated into braille by using braille translation software. There are two types of braille embossers namely, single-sided embosser and two-sided embosser. Interpoint printers or double-sided printers, print on both the sides of the paper by lining the dots in such a manner that the dots do not overlap.

Braille Reader/Display

Specially designed for visually impaired, it is an alternative for a monitor. It is connected to a computer via a USB connection. This device displays the output braille characters by raising nylon or metal pins on a flat surface. The data that is highlighted on the computer screen will be automatically displayed on the device by converting the text to braille.

Computer Hardware

Computer hardware consists of electronic and mechanical elements of a computer. The hardware includes the system unit which has components such as the motherboard, CPU, chipset, hard disk, RAM, video card, and sound card. The hardware also includes the peripherals that are used for input, output, and storage of data.

Different Kinds of Computer Hardware

Other than the hardware formats mentioned earlier, there are other types of computer hardware as well. For example, the CPU processes and manages information and can be called the brain of a computer. Then there is the internal bus that connects the motherboard to the video and the sound cards, and the PCI bus that connects the hardware devices to the computer. There are also the northbridge and the southbridge form the core logic chipsets, which control the exchange of information between the hard disk and the computer. The northbridge connects the southbridge to the computer, and they both determine how fast the system can access memory. The external bus is controlled by either the southbridge or the PCI bus. The chipset is used for communication between the CPU and the memory.

The RAM is the random access memory that stores and processes the information that you’re working with. The RAM is faster than the hard disk, but it is volatile, which means that it stores information temporarily and loses all information when the power is switched off. The types of RAM are SRAM and DRAM. The BIOS is the Basic Input Output System and consists of the firmware. The firewire connects a digital video camera to the computer. The SATA connects the hard disk drives to the computer, while the eSATA is external SATA.

A hard disk drive consists of platters with magnetic surfaces and it stores information which is not being processed. A hard disk is non-volatile, which means it stores information permanently and the information is not lost in times of power failure. The types of hard drives are IDE and SATA. A solid-state drive is similar to a hard drive but it is not magnetic. The removable drives include a CD-ROM drive that reads CDs; a DVD-ROM drive that reads DVDs, and a BD-ROM drive that reads a Blu-Ray disk. A CD-writer writes data on a CD and is used for the backup of files. A DVD-Writer writes on DVD, while a DVD-RAM also writes on DVD but it supports more rewrites than a DVD-Writer. A BD-Writer writes on the Blu-Ray disks. Some old computers still have a floppy disk drive that reads a floppy disk, though those computer systems are now technologically almost obsolete. A USB flash drive reads flash memory. It is small, light, pocket-sized, and portable.

The graphics card provides information to the screen, and is used to render graphics in a computer. A monitor, which may be CRT or LCD, displays the images and videos in a computer by manipulating the color of the pixels on screen.

A sound card plays sound files, produces sound for the speakers, and receives sound as an input from a microphone. The speakers output audio such as music and sound effects, and the headphones are used for hearing sounds that are only meant for individual hearing.

You can also plug-in peripherals, for example, input devices such as a keyboard or a mouse which accept user inputs and convert it into digital data. A user can type using a keyboard, which has various letter and number keys, special keys such as Esc (Escape), Ctrl (Control) and Alt (Alternate), and function keys such as F1, F2 and F3. The Caps Lock key allows the user to type capital letters, while the Tab key moves forward the cursor to the next tab stop. Shortcut keys are a combination of two keys pressed at the same time, and arrow keys on the computer keyboard serve as navigation keys. The numeric keypad of the keyboard has a layout similar to that of a calculator. When the Num Lock key is on, the keys become a numeric keypad, and when the Num Lock key is off, the keys can be used for navigation.

A mouse has a wheel and two buttons that allow you to click, double-click and drag items. When a mouse is moved on a mouse pad or any flat surface, the pointer on the screen also moves. An optical mouse is a mouse with laser of LED technology. A trackball is a device containing a ball that can be rotated in a socket. Joystick and gamepad are two of the other very popular input devices.

A desktop computer system also includes a scanner, which analyzes images, and a webcam, which provides video input. A modem sends and receives data through telephone cables and facilitates Internet access. A printer produces text or pictures on paper.

A power supply gives power to a computer from an electrical wall outlet. The PC case can be vertical or horizontal, and the cables and wires are also considered part of its hardware.

In the future, there will be quantum computers and electronic paper, used in e-book readers. The future of hardware is very promising. CPUs will get faster, hard drives will have more storage space, and computers will get more powerful. Their speed and power will revolutionize the world.

Computer’s BIOS Setup

What happens when you turn on your PC? Lights come on the keyboard and monitor, the computer’s brand logo may appear on the screen, then the operating system loading message appears. This is all occurring on screen, but in the background, your computer is actually powering on and preparing its external and internal parts. Many assume the Operating System (OS) is the first program a computer loads and operates on but the actual start-up program is the BIOS.

BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System, which is inbuilt in every PC during manufacturing and is loaded, run and executed when you press the power ON button of your PC. The BIOS is a sort of firmware interface for a computer. Different components, such as pen drives, graphics card, keyboard and mouse and disc drives attached to a computer, need to be initialized and identified to the computer. The BIOS does this in the form of a check-list (“turn USB ports on”, done) and this procedure is known as POST (power-on self-test). The operating system itself is a program, which needs to be loaded and executed. This too is performed by the BIOS, which locates the OS program on the computer’s hard disk and runs the program. One needs to enter the BIOS interface to change various system-level settings, such as changing the system clock, changing the boot up drive and managing memory. Listed below are the steps on how to access the computer’s BIOS setup.

How to Get Into Your Computer’s BIOS?

Step 1: Start your PC or restart it. When the computer starts up, usually the manufacturer’s logo or the brand name of the PC is displayed on a black screen. In some cases, the screen turns into the logo of the operating system and a “loading” or “starting” message appears on the screen. At such booting screens, a small message is displayed, which has the combination of access keys needed to enter the BIOS. Examples of such messages are:
– Press “key” to enter BIOS
– “key” = Setup
– To enter the BIOS setup, press “key” + “key”
– Press “key” to access system configuration
– Press “key” to enter the Setup menu

In some computers, the manufacturer’s logo or brand name shows up and no message for entering the browser occurs. So try pressing the Tab or the Esc key to remove it. You can either note the key down or if the screen changes too fast for you to enter the BIOS, press the Pause/Break key on your keyboard. This key will pause the booting screen, so you can understand which keys are needed to access the BIOS. To unpause such a screen, press any key.

Step 2: Once you know the access key combinations, then press that key or press the combination of keys during the booting screen to enter the BIOS interface. In some computers, just one press of the key is enough, with others, you may need to tap it repeatedly. Do not press and hold down the key with force or press it too many times. The system may hang or an error code will show up on screen and you will need to restart your PC. With certain machines, pressing the DEL key repeatedly at the boot up screen, before the OS loading screen appears, can bring up the BIOS screen. Other common BIOS keys are F1, F2, F10, F12 and ESC.

Step 3: The BIOS is not dependent in any way on the operating system. So whether you are running Windows 7 or Mac OS X, the OS has nothing to do with your BIOS and hence different operating systems does not mean different BIOS access keys. Instead, your computer’s BIOS depends on the manufacturer of the motherboard, like Acer or ASUS. So there are proprietary access keys to enter the BIOS screen, based on the brand of the computer. Some computer systems and their BIOS access shortcuts are:

Manufacturer                   Access Keys
Acer                                    F1, F2, CTRL+ALT+ESC
Compaq                             F10 (newer), F1, F2, DEL (older models)
Dell 400                            F3, F1
Dell 4400                          F12
Dell Inspiron                    F2
Dell Latitude                    Fn+F1, Fn+ESC
Gateway 2000                 F1
Hewlett-Packard (HP)   F1, F2, ESC (for laptops)
IBM                                    F1, F2 (E-pro laptop)
Micron                               F1, F2, DEL
Packard Bell                     F1, F2, DEL
Sharp                                 F2
Sony VAIO                        F2
Toshiba 335CDS              ESC
Toshiba Portégé               ESC
Toshiba Satellite              F1
Toshiba Tecra                   F1 or ESC

Warning: The above-mentioned access keys may differ from computer to computer, so always verify the information prior to usage. The correct access keys are provided as a part of the computer’s documentation. This site does not assume any responsibility for any issues that could occur by using the above information.

The BIOS is a rather sensitive part of your computer’s internal makeup, so pressing a lot of keys at the boot up screen is not a good idea, unless you know what you are doing. So do not press any or all keys in tandem or with force to enter your computer’s BIOS. Instead, refer to your computer’s manual and look for System Settings or similar headings to find the correct BIOS key. You can even search online using your computer’s model number and make.

Once you have actually accessed the BIOS and are facing the lovely light blue screen, here’s a word of caution; fiddling with BIOS settings is not for novices or the ill-informed. If you know what you are doing, then only change settings and to be safe, write down what you are changing, in case you need to go back and re-change it. Use the arrow keys and function keys to navigate and select options within the menu. Accessing the BIOS of a computer’s system can be done to change certain basic computer settings and workings, but should be carried out with caution.

Network Hardware

A computer network is not made up of one machine or even one type of machine. It is a carefully designed system of different hardware components (networking devices) working in tandem with various rules and communication protocols. From the network scenario in a household, to a medium scale network in a school or mall to a large, border-crossing network of a corporation or service, a computer network is made up of various hardware parts, some standard and some rare and more complex. So, what are the different types of network hardware? Read on for a listing of such devices and a brief explanation of each.

Types of Network Hardware

Cables & Wires
Everything may be turning wireless nowadays but at least 2-3 wired connections have to exist somewhere in a computer network. Connecting a desktop to a router or the router to the modem, such connections are always wired and the common cable type used is CAT5 RJ-45. Wiring is typically thought of as being a Layer 1 (physical layer) device as raw data or signals are transferred from one end to the other.

Network interface cards is easily one of the most important components of a computer network. It is a hardware part that allows the computer to be identified amongst others in a network and allows the computer to connect to a network. It works in the physical and data link layer of the OSI model. This card provides the circuitry required to implement a networking standard. The most common NIC form used is Ethernet. Recent computers, both desktops and laptops have their NIC built on the motherboard, earlier computers needed an internal or external NIC to be added. Laptops with built-in Wi-Fi have wired and wireless NIC capability, but most desktops have only wired connection capabilities and will require a wireless adapter to connect wirelessly.

Connecting more than one computer to a higher layer networking device like a router can be difficult, if you do not have a hub. A hub collects various devices through a wired connection and groups them into a segment. So, the network recognizes all devices connected to the hub, as one segment. Typical hubs allow Ethernet wired connections and have at least 4-5 ports on them and can have 8, 12 or even more ports. They are very simple devices, they do not manage or filter or function in any other manner, other than to act as a collection point. They operate in the physical layer of the OSI model.

A modem acts as a sort of converter or translator. It allows digital data or information to be transmitted over traditionally analog lines of transmission such as a telephone line. The word “modem” is a mix of two transmission terms, “modulate” and “demodulate”, which are the two main operations performed. The digital signal from a computer is converted into analog form, sent over the analog medium and then decoded back into its digital form at the receiving end.

Routers can be thought of as the mailroom of a network. They receive incoming data packets, decipher their addressing information (where did they come from, where do they have to go) and send them accordingly. Routers are essentially used for traffic management. They function in Layer 3 (network layer) of the OSI model. Routers are much smarter than hubs, they can implement security protocols, assign IP addresses, both static and dynamic and can function in both the wired and wireless transmission band. There are different router types based on their area of use, such as home or small-use routers to enterprise routers, which are used for complex routing functions in large corporations.

A gateway acts as the meeting point or go between point between 2 different networks, using different protocols. e.g. Network A uses one protocol, Network B uses another. A computer from A wants to communicate with a machine from B but due to the difference in protocols, it does not know how to communicate. It can adopt or add B’s protocol but this is a tasking process and is not really efficient. Instead, a gateway will translate the request from the computer in A’s network, into B’s language and then translate the reply from B’s language into A’s. So, the 2 machines can communicate without any change in protocol. Gateways function in all layers of the OSI model, since they perform conversion or translation functions.

Wireless Access Points
An access point acts as a middle station for a network and helps in adding more users to it. They are connected to the network but act as a transmitter and receiver for the network signals, so other devices can connect to the access point and in turn will be connected to the main network. The best example for an access point scenario is a large house, where the router is located in the basement. So, the ground floor can receive the wireless signal but the first floor cannot, due to the network’s limited range. An access point connected on the ground floor will receive the router’s wireless signal and emit it to reach the first floor, enabling users on that floor to access the original network.

With advances in technology, the features and specifications of such devices may change or the device itself may become obsolete. But for now, this collection of network hardware remains constant; and at least one or two of the above devices can be found in any computer network.

What is a Bit and Byte?

In this age and time, one has to know a lot of words and acronyms in every field that we come across. With specialized fields of knowledge emerging every day, new technical terms keep cropping up. Bits and bytes are terms which you often come across when dealing with anything in electronic or computing field. The paragraphs below will give you a gist of the same.

What is a Bit and Byte?
A bit is actually an acronym, which stands for ‘Binary Digit’. It is the smallest possible unit of information in digital computing.
Computers do not use decimal numbers to store data. In computers, all data is stored in binary numbers. They are all based on binary digital logic.
Every bit can take only two characteristic values either 0 or 1. For computers and in digital communication, a bit is the smallest amount of information stored in binary form.
In digital telecommunication too, all the voltage levels are converted into binary form of data or bits.

The origin of the term ‘binary digit’ or ‘bit’ is attributed to John Tukey, a scientist who worked at the Bell Laboratories, who first used it in 1947.
Since then, the term has been in use in the world of computers.
A byte is a string of 8 bits put together. A byte is therefore a bigger unit of information than a bit.
The term ‘byte’ was first used and coined by Dr. Werner Buccholz, a computer scientist working at IBM, in 1956.
The Binary Number System
Just as, including zero, the decimal number system is based on ten numbers, the binary number system has just two numbers 0 and 1.
All the data that a computer processes is in the form of 0s and 1s. These bits are represented by dual voltage levels in digital communication.
If you have watched the science fiction movie ‘Matrix’, you’ll remember how the whole matrix is seen as an imaginary digital world, made up of 0s and 1s by ‘Neo’, the protagonist of the movie.
Setting the fictional part apart, that is actually how computers see data, which is a stream of 0s and 1s or stream of ‘bits’.
The computer converts all data into bits and bytes through alphanumeric and decimal to binary conversion.
So, for the computer, alphabets and letters are all represented in bits. That is, bit is a letter of the computer language, while a byte is a word (made up of 8 letters).
Interestingly, a four bit binary word is called a ‘nibble’, because it is half a byte.
You must have come across the terms bits and bytes when checking out capacity of data storage devices or bandwidth of your Internet connection.
The capacity of the computer hard disk is given in giga bytes (abbreviated to GB) usually.
A GB or gigabyte is a billion bytes or eight billion bits. Data transfer rates are always mentioned in bits. The internet is an ocean of bits and bytes.
Computer chips are of two kinds: 32 bit and 64 bit. This denotes the amount of data that can be processed by the chips or read at a time. The Internet bandwidth is measured in kilobytes (thousand bytes) per second, that is ‘kbps’ or mega bytes per second (MBPS).

The twenty first century is the age of information technology and therefore, bits and bytes are terms which will be increasingly heard around the world even in the future.

History And Working of Linux

Linux is one of the popularly used operating systems and a free software supporting open source development. Originally designed for Intel 80386 microprocessors, Linux now runs on a variety of computer architectures and is widely used.

A Brief History

Unix was the third operating system to CTSS, the first one followed by MULTICS. A team of programmers led by Prof. Fernando J. Corbato at the MIT Computation Center, wrote the CTSS, the first operating system supporting the concept of time-sharing. AT&T started working on the MULTICS operating system but had to leave the project as they were failing to meet deadlines. Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and Brian Kernighan at Bell Labs, used the ideas on the MULTICS project to develop the first version of Unix.

MINIX was a Unix-like system released by Andrew Tenenbaum. The source code was made available to the users but there were restrictions on the modification and distribution of the software. On August 25, 1991, Linus Torvalds, a second year computer engineering student studying in the University of Helsinki made an announcement that he was going to write an operating system. With an intent to replace MINIX, Torvalds started writing the Linux kernel. With this announcement of Torvalds, a success story had begun! Linux was previously dependent on the MINIX user space but with the introduction of the GNU GPL, the GNU developers worked towards the integration of Linux and the GNU components.

An Introduction to the Linux Operating System

The Unix-like operating system that uses the Linux kernel is known as the Linux operating system. In 1991, Linus Torvalds came up with the Linux kernel. He started writing the Linux kernel after which, around 250 programmers contributed to the kernel code. Richard Stallman, an American software developer, who was a part of the GNU project, created the General Public License, under which Linux is distributed. The utilities and libraries of Linux come from the GNU operating system.

By the term ‘free software’, we mean that Linux can be copied and redistributed in the altered or unaltered form without many restrictions. Each recipient of the Linux software is entitled to obtain the human readable form of the software and a notice granting the person the permissions to modify its source code. In other words, the distribution of the Linux software implies the distribution of a free software license to its recipients. Linux supports open source development by which we mean that all its underlying source code can be freely modified, used and distributed. The open source method of development enables the users to access its source code.

A Linux distribution is a project that manages the collection of Linux software and the installation of the OS. It includes the system software and the application software in the form of packages and the initial installation and configuration details. There are around 300 different Linux distributions. The most prominent of the Linux distributions include Red Hat, Fedora and Mandrake. Fedora Core came up after the ninth version of Red Hat Linux. Fedora Core is a rapidly updated Linux distribution. Most of the Linux distributions support a diverse range of programming languages. Most of them include Perl, Python, Ruby, and other dynamic languages. Linux supports a number of Java virtual machines and development kits as also the C++ compilers.

Linux is a freely available OS based on the Linux kernel. It is an inexpensive and effective alternative to UNIX programs and utilities. Its open source implementation enables any programmer to modify its code. Linux supports a multi-tasking and multi-user environment as also the copy-on-write functionality. The monolithic Linux kernel handles the process control, networking and the file system. Device drivers are integrated in the kernel. The Linux operating system is equipped with libraries, compilers, text editors, a Unix shell, and a windowing system. Linux supports both the command line as well and the graphical user interfaces. It is popularly used in servers and also with desktop computers, supercomputers, video games and embedded systems. I have always enjoyed working on the Linux platform, have you?