It’s never too late to learn Linux. Sure, it’s been around for over twenty years, but the good news is that Linux has yet to hit its peak. Every year, the number of users continues to grow and there’s no sign that it’s going to stop any time soon.
Whether you’ve been putting off Linux for years or you’re just hearing about it for the first time, there are ample reasons to start today. Want to try now? These resources will get you started.
Why Learn Linux?
Linux isn’t for everyone. If you’re tied to Windows for some reason or another, then stick with it. If you don’t have the time or energy to learn a new operating system, that’s fine. However, you should know that there are real benefits to switching to Linux.
Open source philosophy. Linux is one of the most famous instances of open source software and a prime example of open source as a viable model for business. Without open source, we wouldn’t have Firefox, Apache, MediaWiki, BitTorrent, or any number of other products that we use on a daily basis. Using Linux is one way to show your support of the open source movement.
Linux is free. Even if you don’t support open source as a philosophy, you can at least appreciate the movement for its tendency to produce free software. Windows costs upwards of a few hundred dollars. Mac, over a thousand dollars. But Linux? Not one cent.
Linux fits your specific needs. Windows and Mac are designed as lowest common denominators, which often results in a bloated system that can do a lot of things but doesn’t excel at any particular thing. Linux has hundreds of variants (called distributions or distros) and each one is designed to fill a particular niche. Choosing the right distro means using an operating system that’s perfect for you.
Job prospects. The world is moving towards greater technical literacy and the number of businesses adopting Linux is growing, particularly when it comes to networks and servers. Who administrates and maintains those systems? Who develops the software? By learning Linux, you could be setting yourself up for a job in the future.
MakeUseOf Linux Guides
We have a great collection of Linux tutorials here at MakeUseOf. Since you’re already here, why not check them out before moving onto more advanced material?
First things first, take a look at our Getting Started Guide To Linux. In it, you’ll learn a bit about Linux history, get a few recommendations on your first distro, and be taken on a crash course through the Linux desktop: where things are, how to access certain features, and how it differs from a traditional Windows computer.
For the most part, newbies will want to start with the Ubuntu variant of Linux. Not that it’s the “best” distro, but it’s one of the most popular and it has a massive support community which will prove helpful when you run into any confusing issues. If you do end up going with Ubuntu as your distribution of choice, you should read Ubuntu: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide.
Another major feature of Linux is the ability to choose between different desktop environments. The two most popular ones are Gnome and KDE, though there are alternatives that are gaining a lot of traction these days. However, for the newbie, KDE is a great first environment. If you go that route, check out our Guide to KDE Linux.
For beginners, the most daunting aspect of Linux tends to be the command line. We’re so accustomed to graphical interfaces and mouse navigation (and more recently, touchscreen navigation) that the command line may as well be in a foreign language. In reality, there is a learning curve but it’s not as steep as you might think.
Linux Command‘s sole aim is to get you familiar and comfortable with the terminal (the Linux term for “command prompt”). It’s short, easy to follow, and immensely helpful. By the end of it, you’ll actually get things done faster than by your mouse.
Linux is a secure platform but only if you know how to leverage the security features that Linux provides. In fact, as long as a computer is connected to a network, it can never be 100% secure. That being said, there are varying degrees of security and it’s a noble goal to always be striving for increased security.
Linux Security For Beginners is a comprehensive introduction to the various facets of Linux security. How does a firewall work? What are the most vulnerable ports? How should you configure your system for maximum protection? What about wireless routers and network encryption? The site takes you through all of that and more.
Ready to get serious with Linux? Visit The Linux Foundation‘s training section for some great free videos on the more advanced practical applications of Linux. Absolute beginners should first look elsewhere for easier material, but once you’re comfortable with Linux, The Linux Foundation will turn you into a master.
On top of the free videos, they offer a number of paid virtual classes where each one lasts anywhere from 1 day to 5 days with price tags ranging from $600 to $3000 per course.
Where can you go when you’re new to Linux and you want to ask questions but you’re afraid that you’ll be ridiculed for it? It’s no secret that a lot of Linux-based communities can be elitist and condescending. Not all of them, of course, but enough to earn such a reputation. Fortunately, this Linux4Noobs community on Reddit is an exception.
This subreddit is explicitly intended to be a safe haven for newbies. Questions are encouraged and mockery is forbidden. If you ever run into trouble at any point in your Linux journey, this is the place to go.
Where Did You Learn Linux?
Know any other good free resources for learning Linux? Let us know by commenting below. For those who are Linux experts, please share about how you personally overcame the learning curve and what you wish someone would’ve told you back when you were a beginner.