The Linux Advantage: 5 Websites You Should Head To For Learning Linux

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

Linux Command

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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 Security For Beginners

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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.

The Linux Foundation

learn linux websites the linux foundation   The Linux Advantage: 5 Websites You Should Head To For Learning Linux

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.

/r/Linux4Noobs

learn linux websites reddit linux4noobs   The Linux Advantage: 5 Websites You Should Head To For Learning Linux

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.

33 Comments - Write a Comment

1 votes
Reply

ReadandShare

I was intrigued by Linux for the longest time. Tried Ubuntu and Mint — and apps from their own package repositories would crash on installation!

Then Windows got better and Win 7 is stable and a joy to use. So my need for an alternative has gone away (at least for now). Wonder if this explains why Linux remains stuck at 1-2% of all desktop users, even after years / decades of trying to give away the thing for free?

1 votes

ed

Were you, by chance, trying to run Ubuntu/Mint from a USB key or virtual box?

I’ve had issues with crashes when trying to treat a Live USB distro with persistence as if it were installed on the hard drive. Eventually, the usb key would crash when trying to install too many apps or doing too many updates to the system. Years ago, virtual box had similar issues for me when using Linux.

Now, Virtual Box is fine and I can treat Linux on a Virtual Box as if it was actually installed on the system and not worry about apps or updates crashing the VM.

Linux actually installed to a HD or SSD is fine with little to no crashes or hiccups. My early failures in Linux were due to my own lack of knowledge in many cases. Nowadays, with just a little more patience and learning under the belt, Linux is fine for my personal use depending on very specific use cases. Still not robust enough for me as a desktop OS replacement, but great on secondary machines or specific “appliances”.

For me, as a server OS, media center, or secondary laptop, Linux is perfect. As a primary OS on my main laptop, I’m just not ready to make the leap. I still appreciate the robust UI experience in Windows 7 that allows you to do things 10 different ways with the mouse, that can only be done one way with the mouse on Linux. I know the terminal is FANTASTIC in Linux, but I like multiple mouse options in a GUI too.

1 votes

ed

Joel,
Thanks for the article. Every few months I get in a “I want to master Linux” frame of mind, but never quite do :)
I’m in that frame of mind right now and this article scratches that itch.

0 votes

Joel L

Linux does have its drawbacks, yes. The proprietary nature of Windows and Mac means they can design a “one-click install” process that’s common to all installers. The splintered nature of Linux means this isn’t as easy. You’ll need a bit of know-how to handle sketchy installs and other obstacles.

Nothing wrong with preferring Windows because it’s easier. It’s come a long way and Win7 is pretty darn good and stable. Linux will always be there if you ever “outgrow” Windows.

2 votes

dragonmouth

Joel,
On the one hand you are praising Linux and encouraging people to use it more. On the other hand you are burying it and disuading people from trying to use it by telling them how difficult it is. You make Linux sound like a super hard, geeky O/S that only those with advanced ddegrees and years of experience are able to run. Nothing is further from the truth.

The nice thing about Linux is that there is a distro that suits everyone’s ability. On one end of the spectrum there is Ubuntu and about 50-75 other distros based on it. Their installer is not certainly “sketchy”, it asks 3 or 4 simple questions even a Windows user can answer, then installs all the software. At the end of the install process, the user has a complete, turnkey system. If disk partitioning is a scary process for you, the installer will partition your drive for you before installing the system.

On the other end of the spectrum there are distros Arch, Gentoo, Linux from Scratch that do require previous Linux knowledge and a lot of work before obtaining a finished system.

In between the two extremes are about 200 distros to suit every level of computer skill

“For beginners, the most daunting aspect of Linux tends to be the command line.”
With most distros, a Linux user, beginner or advanced, will not have to ever see the command line if they do not want to, just as Windows users do not have to see the command line. In fact most Windows user never in their lives see the command line. Of course, if one wants to get a techie job involving the guts of Windows, Linux or any other O/S, then command line knowledge is essential.

“Nothing wrong with preferring Windows because it’s easier.”
Oh, really? Were you and millions of other Windows users born with a thorough knowledge of Windows??? You had to learn it from scratch. You just forgot or choose not to remember how difficult it was. The learning curve for Windows, OS/X, Linux, BSD is about the same. The difficulty arises when one has to un-learn the ways and procedures of one O/S and learn those of another. It is similar to learning a foreign language. For someone who knows only English, Russian is a difficult language. But if you know only Russian, English is the difficult language.

BTW – to answer your question, I had to use Windows from 3.1 to XP at work. In about 2000 I started playing with Linux at home. When I retired in 2007, I ditched Windows and since then have been using Linux exclusively. Prior to having to use Win 3.1, I worked using RCA/Univac/UNISYS mainframe O/Ss so I know what it takes to learn Windows.

1 votes

KnightofRoundTable

@Joel,
First of all, great article for folks to get familiarize with the Dark Side of OSs.

Before I post something, I would like say that I am very well versed with few OSs – Windows (NT through 8), Linux (RHEL, Suse, Ubuntu, and their variants) Mac OS X, and few mobile ones too (Android and iOS), because I support and develop my company’s software (EDA tools) being run on all of them.

@ed, you make a good point, live boot options in Linux may have some drawback, I have seen that when we start to look into supporting a flavor-of-the-month-Linux for a customer. ;).
I use VMWare to run different environments.

@dragonmouth,
Having “hundreds of distros” and the whole idea of “finding one that works for you” is indeed a problem. An average user gets overwhelmed by what version to get (among 200 that you listed), and what does one does better that others don’t.

And Linux “is” for the geeky/ nerdy folks.
Requires a lot more understanding and knowledge of the OS, than your average Windows or Mac OS X.
Even Mac OS X is based on BSD (a UNIX variant, if I may add), and it is supported so well, there are more applications running on that too (lot more than Linux).

It all comes down to “ease of use”.
Not everyone wants to be that super computer guy who is called by everyone in the family when their PC breaks down. There is not enough time in a day to be the IT guy always. Sometimes folks just want things to work for what they have paid for.

Big corporations can market and pay to conduct a focus group on what is easy to use with their users. and improve that. Linux has yet to get to that state.

I would like to close with the fact that Linux is likely one of the best OS; at the same time, it lacks in ease of use and accessibility (and I do not mean being able to get it).

1 votes

dragonmouth

@KnightofRoundTable:
I’ll match your creds to mine any day.

I agree that having couple of hundred distros tends to confuse the issue.

“Requires a lot more understanding and knowledge of the OS, than your average Windows or Mac OS X.”
That is a crock. If one is an IT techie that may be true. Average users never see the O/S, any O/S, so they do not need “a lot more understanding and knowledge” of any particular one. In one respect Linux is “geekier” than Windows or OS/X. It allows someone sufficiently expert to run all applications, not just the administrative ones, from the command line, without resorting to a GUI. Windows and especially OS/X, hide the command line as if ithey were ashamed of it.

“Linux …… lacks in ease of use”
That coming from someone who claims to be very well versed in “RHEL, Suse, Ubuntu, and their variants” is very surprising. The default install of Ubuntu is as easy to use as Windows. Some of the Ubuntu variants, such as Zorin, even look like Windows. Of course, if all you use are Linux administrative tools and command line, I might agree with you.

1 votes
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Kevin

I’ve been using Linux and OS X as my primary operating systems now for over 7 years. Things haven’t always been easy but the clear difference is that thanks to fiddling to getting things to work in the early days I now truly understand how my computer works. I can debug errors in applications (There’s rarely cryptic error messages in Linux like there is in Windows). It even helped me get a career.

Although Linux is still at the 2% desktop users. I doubt it would really climb much higher. It has no real need to. Linux is most suitable for highly technical powerusers or developers. With the command line I can do things much faster than I can with a GUI.

For the average user that doesn’t really care about how his computer really works, then Windows is ideal. Microsoft have dumbed that down so much that anyone can use it with their XP desktop environment that every one is used to.

However, for someone that really wants control of their computer and is willing to take a steep learning curve then Linux is very rewarding.

0 votes

Joel L

Bingo! For most, Windows and Mac are more than enough. Linux is built for those who are curious and want to be able to dig into the internals and stay in control of everything. You hit the nail on the head.

0 votes

Johnbuk

Kevin, like you I have been using Linux now for many years. I am certainly not a power user although during that time I have found the Terminal to be less than threatening!
If that was it then I can see I might have gone along with your comment that it is generally for power users.
However for my sins I have become the “IT” man for my family and friends and neighbours in a small village environment.
It is here that I remember why I gave up Windows in the first place. As I try to untangle slow or non-running PCs I am constantly assailed by Windows updates, AV updates, Java updates, Flash updates, multiple search bars inadvertently installed, etc etc. And of course there are the occasional security breaches.
I would agree that several years ago Windows was a far superior system to Linux if one purely considered the ordinary user experience, it was more intuitive, ran out of the box mostly and had a wealth of software.
Recently I have installed Ubuntu (and one Lubuntu) on some 4 PCs (using Windows XP). These people were generally just using a browser and email with the occasional Skype type service. There were a few teething issues at first mainly because the desktop looked different but now they have all settled in and have probably forgotten they are not on Windows any more.
These examples prove nothing I know but they do serve to remind me of how once I used to sit there quietly fumijng waiting for updates to install and wishing the whole process was much slicker.

0 votes

dragonmouth

“Linux is most suitable for highly technical powerusers or developers. ”
Bunk! With Ubuntu-like distro on her machine, even your grandmother could use Linux. Mine did and it never bothered her that she did not have a Windows computer. Most computer users do not use an O/S, they use applications running under the O/S and the application interfaces look the same under any O/S. So the entire debate which O/S (OS/X, Linux or Windows) is better/easier, is a waste of time and energy.

“With the command line I can do things much faster than I can with a GUI.”
Agreed, and that is also true for Windows CLI. But how many computer users ever need to use the command line?

0 votes
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Flynn M

The most obvious advantage of using Linux is the fact that it is free to obtain, while Microsoft products are available for a hefty and sometimes recurring fee. In line with the costs, the security aspect of Linux is much stronger than that of Windows. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.crittermap.airhockey

1 votes
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Zhong J

Linux is quite a broad definition to work with. First, start with a distribution then if you want an application to work, go with whatever the documentation for that software and try to reference it to your current working distro. Right now, I’m trying to get Linux Containers to work, Arch Linux is the gold mine of documentation and their resources benefit alot (so is Gentoo). Sometimes, reading isn’t enough and you have to ask: start with your official forums then other Linux forums or this website (but it’s generally for Q&A).

1 votes
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Paul Jain

You have missed TecMint.com in the list.

0 votes

Joel L

Great resource, thanks for mentioning it.

1 votes
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Howard B

“Windows costs upwards of a few hundred dollars.” According to Google Shopping, Windows 8.1 starts at $99.99 (home edition) to $169.99 (Pro edition), either 64-bit or 32-bit. List prices (direct from Microsoft) is $119.99 or $199.99. I don’t see how that’s “upwards of a few hundred dollars” when the most expensive way to get it is $200.

“Without open source, we wouldn’t have Firefox, Apache, MediaWiki, BitTorrent,…” Missed a few important ones: Android (AOSP), GIMP, LibreOffice/OpenOffice, MySQL/MariaDB, WordPress, Magento, Pidgin, Audacity, FileZilla, VLC, 7-Zip, TomTom GPS (runs Linux), most DVRs, XBMC…there’s a long list of open-source software that SHOULD be represented here, even if a lot of people don’t know about them; MakeUseOf readers should have heard of at least *half* of these…

0 votes

dragonmouth

“I don’t see how that’s “upwards of a few hundred dollars” when the most expensive way to get it is $200.”
The $200 gets you ONLY the O/S. Then you have to buy and install separately each and every application. How much is that going to cost you? Of course, you could use free applications.

OTOH, by default, most Linux distros will install not only the O/S but also ALL the applications an average user might want, and you do not have to pay one penny for all that software.

1 votes
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David

I learned the most through the FTA courses: http://ftacademy.org/

0 votes

Joel L

Enrollment is currently frozen but that looks like a wealth of information. Hopefully they re-open soon!

1 votes
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Henry K Juelch

A few years ago I purchased a laptop from System 76 (no, I don’t work for them). The operating system was Ubuntu. When it arrived I opened the box, plugged the computer in and made a presentation (Powerpoint) in Excel the open source equivalent. Never having seen Ubuntu/Linux before, this really sold me on the system. Am now on my second Ubuntu laptop. My wife uses an old IBM Thinkpad on which I installed Ubuntu. I still have Windows on an HP laptop because I help some folks with their problems but am doing less of that. The community in which I live has a computer club with about 2400 members; I must say I’m the only part of a distinct minority.

Ubuntu/Linux serves me well. I do literally anything I want with it. There are far fewer problems than with windows. New improved versions update without problems (and without cost).

So those are my thoughts. As an “old timer” (85) who has progressed in operating systems from DOS to Windows 8.1, I’m happy with Ubuntu/Linux.

Thaanks folks.

1 votes
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Birrell Walsh

I have a big motivation to master linux, in that my daily laptop is a chromebook and the only full operating system for that would be a flavor of linux.

And… most of the time when I am in linux-land, I am trying to figure out how to do something. When I am in Windows, I am actually doing something. It is really a big difference.

I am sure if I spent more time on linux, I would be more skillful. For that reason I have signed up for EDX’s course on linux beginning August 1, 2014. Let’s see how it all seems after that course.

1 votes
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Warren B

You could also sign up for a course at http://www.edx.org sponsored by the Linux Foundation that starts August 1. It is supposed to be good, and like most things Linux, FREE.

LFS101x : Introduction to Linux
Develop a good working knowledge of Linux using both the graphical interface and command line, covering the major Linux distribution families.
STARTS: 1 Aug 2014
INSTRUCTORS: Jerry Cooperstein PhD, LinuxFoundationX

1 votes
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Aventerine

I have been using Ubuntu and variants for years now. I didn’t really have too much of a learning curve. At least no more than with Windows XP. Now I have Lubuntu on my laptop and my kids have a desktop running Windows 8.1. When we first got the desktop I got so frustrated because I couldn’t figure out how to do anything because I hadn’t used Windows in so long.

I think Linux is a great OS. Ubuntu is one of the easiest flavors to begin with but as you learn over time users branch out. I have used Ubuntu, Lubuntu(current), Mint, Puppy, DSL, Bodhi, and Peppermint. I have learned to use the command line more.

1 votes
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Rajat Singh

Linux Foundation is conducting a course called Introduction to Linux from August 1, 2014 on edx.org.

URL – https://www.edx.org/course/linuxfoundationx/linuxfoundationx-lfs101x-introduction-1621#.U9AypPmSyfg

1 votes
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CoolPenguin

I’ve been using Linux Mint on dual boot machines (w/ a tiny Windoze partition) for quite a while now. Mint is easier to deal with out of the box than Ubuntu (IME, it could be different now as I haven’t tried to run Ubuntu since Mint eclipsed it for me around the time that Win7 came out.)

I regularly have less-than-tech-savvy friends who come to me with Windoze malware infections to fix. I often create the same set up on their machines, take 15-20 minutes worth of explanation of the differences in OS’s, tell them to call me whenever they need help, then let them run wild. I rarely ever get a call. I usually have to ask them about it afterward because they never have to worry about the functionality and security of the OS again. They’re typically basic media and web users.

1 votes
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CoolPenguin

http://distrowatch.com/ and http://linux.softpedia.com/ have both been helpful to me over the years. The forums for each specific distro (such as http://forums.linuxmint.com/ ) are invaluable for case by case issues

0 votes
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George

“Mac, over a thousand dollars.” Really?
I have generic hardware, run free Mavericks on it and love it. Four years of bliss so far.

0 votes
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Paul

You should only use Microsoft /Apple O/Ss.Do your part to help the NSA build a Brave New world

1 votes
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Claude S Poliakoff, MD FACS retired

As a retired surgeon, who became enamored of IT during the last 15 yrs of my career, the open source philosophy carried considerable appeal. Microsoft got it’s hooks into me as that’s where all the medical software was. Upon retiring, I gave in to the urge to build my own machine, & concurrently dabbled in Ubuntu,. The system worked beautifully, & perhaps I wasn’t sufficiently dedicated, but whereas open office could handle any work product from friends ‘ Microsoft Office, all too often when I edited a document or presentation, the saved result didn’t quite appear correctly on colleagues’ windows machines. About 6 yrs ago I gave up entirely with windows, using Mac’s, with success. The open source appeal lingers on, & if any of you gurus have solutions for this interoperability challenge, I’d be happy to give Ubuntu another run.

1 votes
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Keith

Love Linux, love Mac and tolerate Windows but I must question the statement “Windows costs upwards of a few hundred dollars. Mac, over a thousand dollars. But Linux? Not one cent.”
Not sure what you are referring to but in Australia Windows is about AUD150 upwards, Mavericks is a free download (upgrade) and Linux is of course free to download. But of course you need hardware to put all it on and yes a Mac computer will cost a bit to buy (although I have read stories of people successfully loading OSX onto old Windows Intel hardware)!
So a Windows PC will cost upwards of a few hundred dollars (I question what use the sub AUD500 PCs are) a Mac can be a few hundred dollars too (refurbished and warrantied) and you will need an old or a new PC to install the free Linux on which could be free or cost you a few hundred dollars. Linux still wins out though I reckon particularly when consider the open source community behind it.

0 votes
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Ela

https://www.edx.org/course/linuxfoundationx/linuxfoundationx-lfs101x-introduction-1621#.U9DuTI-ZNA4

Hi everybody, if you like to dig a little deeper into Linux, there will be an edx course starting August 1, 2014. It’s free – you just have to register. Have fun!

0 votes
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Ukaza P

You forgot to mention Full Circle Magazine.
http://fullcirclemagazine.org/

0 votes
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Gijsbertus

Great advice, helpful sites. Thanks!

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