Why learn Linux?

Linux is Everywhere!

Whether you know it or not you are already using Linux every day. Every time you use Google or Facebook or any other major Internet site, you are communicating with servers running Linux. Most DVRs, airplane and automobile entertainment systems and recent TVs run on Linux. Most ubiquitously, if you are using an Android phone, you are using a flavor of Linux.

At its core, Linux is software used to control hardware like desktop and laptop computers, supercomputers, mobile devices, networking equipment, airplanes, and automobiles; the list is endless. Linux is everywhere.

What is it about Linux that makes it so versatile?

Linux is available under the GNU GPL license, which means it can be freely used on almost whatever product or service you’re developing, often free of charge, as long as the license terms are respected. Linux development is community-based; as people improve and create clever ways to make Linux work on an almost infinite variety of devices and platforms, they contribute their changes back so other people can continue to build on or be inspired by them. In short, it is this very community that helps drive the massive growth and versatility of Linux.

Because so many people are using and contributing to Linux, the software is better and more versatile than what any one company or individual could possibly create on his or her own. In fact, in 2008 it was estimated that up to that point, developing Linux had cost roughly $1.4 trillion U.S. dollars! This is obviously far more than any single company could afford to invest. And yet by collaborating together, members of the Linux community have created something that has generated far more value than has been spent on its development. (http://www.linuxfoundation.org/sites/main/files/publications/estimatinglinux.html) That’s the power of open source software.

So why should you take this Intro to Linux course?

You don’t have to know very much about Linux to use it. You can take it for granted and use it invisibly every time you do a search on the Internet, use your smartphone, or use a device with Linux powering it under the hood. That is what most people do and there is nothing wrong with it.

However, there are plenty of reasons to understand more about Linux, either because it will help you better use it, or because you may find it interesting or want to have fun with it. A few of the multitude of reasons may include:

  • Maybe you are sick and tired of certain proprietary operating systems and you’d like to free yourself and make a statement by moving to open source software in general and Linux in particular.
  • Maybe you like the variety and customizability of Linux.
  • Maybe you want the added security that using open source makes possible.
  • Maybe you’re looking to develop job skills that are in demand and well-paid-for.
  • Or maybe you’re just interested in learning more about the software that’s changing the world.

The Linux Foundation is particularly dedicated to expanding the pool of system administrators, developers and other IT professionals with Linux competency as they are in short supply and are vitally needed to successfully manage and propel the expansion of Linux use that has been accelerating over recent years. It is just a vital part of our mission to promote, protect and advance Linux.

Whatever your exact reasons for signing up for the Introduction to Linux course, we intend to furnish you with a solid foundation to embark or continue on your Linux journey. Whether you are already an experienced system administrator or developer for other operating systems, or a beginner, you will benefit from learning things like:

  • The difference between the Linux kernel, an operating system, and a Linux Distribution
  • How to install Linux on a computer
  • How to unravel the mysteries of the command line and use bash scripting to accomplish many tasks efficiently and consistently
  • How to maintain and customize your Linux Desktop computer
  • How to harden your Linux installation to make it even more secure
  • And much, much more

On a personal note, I first started using and programming for computers in 1969. Needless to say I have worked with many operating systems, computing languages, and varieties of hardware, ranging from small dedicated data acquisition machines in nuclear accelerator laboratories to some of the world’s largest supercomputers. But until I started working with Linux, I never had the kind of fun I do now. Before that, computers were just a tool I used to accomplish certain kinds of calculations, usually of a numerical nature. Operating systems and kernels were just something I was given to work with and I had very little freedom of choice or ability to customize.

In the 20 years since I began using Linux, I have had many amazing opportunities and experiences. I hope that your experience with this Introduction to Linux course opens as many doors for you as it has for me.

Sign up for the Introduction to Linux course today.

Guest Post: Jerry Cooperstein, PhD, Introduction to Linux Instructor

Jerry Cooperstein, PhD, has been working with Linux since 1994, developing and delivering training in both the kernel and user space. For the better part of two decades, Cooperstein worked on problems in nuclear astrophysics including supernova explosions, nuclear matter and neutron stars, general relativity, neutrinos and hydrodynamics at various national laboratories and universities in the United States and Europe. During that time, he developed state-of-the-art simulation software on many kinds of supercomputers and taught at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Cooperstein joined the Linux Foundation in 2009 as the Training Program Director. He currently lives in Wisconsin.