Linux for beginners: with cloud-based use of the Linux OS growing exponentially, it might just be time for you to try it out for yourself
Don’t think you’ve ever been introduced to the Linux Operating System? You probably use it every day without even realizing it. After all, Linux servers run Google, Twitter, Facebook, and a whole pile of other major Internet sites.
Linux is virtually synonymous with the cloud. So if you plan on working with cloud-based projects, then it’s probably a good idea to pick up at least some Linux bare essentials. So that’s where we’re headed today: Linux for beginners.
By the way, Cloud Academy has a full introductory LPIC-1 101 Linux certification course to help you get started with Linux.
First, just for fun, here’s a short list of some stuff that runs on Linux:
- Android phones and tablets.
- 94% of the world’s supercomputers.
- Air traffic control systems.
- CERN, the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, relies upon Linux to power its huge particle accelerator.
- The New York Stock Exchange.
- Japanese high-speed rail.
- In 2004, Lockheed Martin delivered a Red Hat Linux-powered nuclear submarine to the US Navy (bug-free I hope!).
Linux is everywhere. If you want to be anywhere, then I suppose you’ll need at least a passing familiarity.
The many flavors of Linux
While the basic system (or “kernel”) is the same, the look and feel and the software ecosystem driving one Linux distribution can be quite different from another.
My personal favorite, for my day-to-day desktop work at least, is Ubuntu, and that’s what we’ll use for this guide. But here are some others you may have heard of:
- Fedora (Red Hat’s community edition)
- Linux Mint
Those are by no means the only ones out there, or even necessarily the biggest. But they’re great places to begin a Linux for beginners test.
Linux for beginners (on your PC)
The best way to learn Linux is to use it. So why not just try it out on your PC without even needing to install it? If you like what you see, but you might possibly still need Windows from time to time, it is possible to install them both side-by-side as a dual boot. This means, that when your PC starts up, you get to choose whether to launch Windows or Linux.
Linux for beginners on AWS
Another way to try out Linux is by launching an Amazon EC2 instance and playing around with it there. This has the added benefit of not requiring that you make any scary changes to your own PC. You’ll be able to choose from a number of Linux distributions and, once you are finished, you can just delete the instance completely without consequence.
OK. I’ve got Linux Installed. Now what?
Assuming that you are at the “Linux for beginners” stage, let me walk you through some basic Linux commands to help you find your way around a little easier. When you log in to a Linux session, you will find yourself in your user’s home directory. Let’s start from there.
Note: The following commands were all executed on an Ubuntu machine installed on my personal PC.
pwd – Print Working Directory
Running pwd from the command line will show you exactly where you are in the system directory tree. As you can see from my example, I am in /home/mick – which is my user’s home directory. This can be useful if you’re ever unsure exactly “where” you are.
ls – List the contents of your current directory
cd – Change Directory
The cd command lets you navigate from directory to directory on your system. In the example above,
changes my directory to ~/Documents. The “~” stands for my home directory, so the full path of my new directory is really /home/mick/Documents.
Following cd, I ran
-al adds two parameters to the ls command, where ‘a’ shows all files – including any hidden files and folders, and ‘l’ displays a longer, more detailed directory list.
Here, I copied the file keepass.key into /home/mick, then I ran
Where the two dots mean move “up” one directory. This brings us back to /home/mick. The final ls command displays the keepass.key we’ve just copied.
top displays the currently running system processes that are taking up the most memory and compute resources.
Some common syntax you will find across most Linux distributions
- The command comes first (before parameters and arguments).
- In help documentation, parameters that are to be supplied by the user are displayed within <angle brackets> – with the text inside the brackets acting as a description.
- Optional parameters are displayed within [square brackets].
- If a parameter value must be chosen from a defined set, then the different options are separated by the pipe symbol, “|”, representing “or”.
Some other useful “Linux for beginners” Commands
- find – Find a file on the filesystem.
- man – Displays a command’s manual.
- clear – clear the screen.
- nano – a simple text editor.
- sudo or su – execute a command as super-user.
- rm – Removes one or more files.
- rmdir – Remove an empty directory.
- mkdir – Make a directory.
- ps – Provides a list of currently running processes.
- mv – Move a file (this is also used to rename a file. “Moving” it from one file name to another).
- grep – The global regular expression print program lets you search through a file or output of another program.
Linux and DevOps: The Most Suitable Distribution
Modern Linux and DevOps have much in common from a philosophy perspective. Both are focused on functionality, scalability, as well as on the constant possibility of growth and improvement. While Windows may still be the most widely used operating system, and by extension the most common...
New on Cloud Academy: Git Labs, CKA and CKAD Lab Challenges, AWS and Azure Learning Paths, AGILE, and Much More
We just kicked off our first Free Weekend of 2020. This means we've unlocked our Training Library for just 72 hours. Until Sunday at 11:59 pm (PST), you can get unlimited access to our industry-leading learning paths, courses, certification prep exams, and our most popular hands-on labs...
New on Cloud Academy: Red Hat, Agile, OWASP Labs, Amazon SageMaker Lab, Linux Command Line Lab, SQL, Git Labs, Scrum Master, Azure Architects Lab, and Much More
Happy New Year! We hope you're ready to kick your training in overdrive in 2020 because we have a ton of new content for you. Not only do we have a bunch of new courses, hands-on labs, and lab challenges on AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, but we also have three new courses on Red Hat, th...
Linux Containers with LXC: Some Best Practices
I am going to show you the best ways of using LXC to create Linux containers. You'll thank me. Hypervisor Virtualization and where Container Virtualization fits: Container virtualization (also known as Operating System Virtualization) is an important player among the many types of vi...
SELinux: improve the security of your EC2 servers
SELinux provides tools to more finely control the activities allowed to users, processes, and daemons to limit the potential damage from vulnerabilities. In the third and final part of our server security series, we will look at how we can enhance the security of Linux-based AWS EC2 in...
This week’s Cloud Computing Jobs – AWS and Linux Administration
(Update March 2019) To get a definition of the roles needed to maximize your organization's investment in cloud, explore the latest skills in demand by job role with Cloud Academy's Cloud Roster™. Cloud Academy is always on the lookout for the most promising Cloud Computing opportuniti...
Updates to Cloud Academy Labs: This Week at Cloud Academy
Welcome to our weekly review of some of what’s new, interesting, and upcoming at Cloud Academy. Lab updates You talk. Cloud Academy listens.From the very beginning, Cloud Academy's hands-on labs have been a very popular resource. Being guided through a real-world cloud computing e...
Linux Skills for Cloud Computing
IBM's 1981 release of its first Intel 8088 microprocessor-based computer sparked the PC revolution. Ever since, there's been a steady torrent of change, accompanied by near-constant upheavals in the tech job market - with nothing shaking up the business like virtualization and Cloud Com...
Machine Learning, Linux Administration, AWS Compute: This Week at Cloud Academy
Welcome to our weekly review of some of what’s new, interesting, and upcoming at Cloud Academy. New courses on Machine Learning, Linux Administration, and AWS Compute It's been an exciting week at Cloud Academy, with the content creation machine churning out three brand new courses! ...
This Week at Cloud Academy
Welcome to our weekly review of some of what’s new, interesting, and upcoming at Cloud Academy. New course: Cloud Academy just released another course in its LPIC-1 Linux certification series. This one covers Linux display managers and desktop environments...but it also works through ...
This Week at Cloud Academy
Welcome to our weekly review of some of what’s new, interesting, and upcoming at Cloud Academy. New Course The fifth course in our Server Professional Linux certification series is now out, which means that you've got everything you need to prepare yourself for the first of the two LP...
The Linux Cloud on AWS: Use Linux Skills to Power Cloud Deployments
Why the Linux Cloud is a really big deal and what you have to know to start taking full advantage of it. The fact is, since they probably constitute only around 2% of the total consumer PC market, you may not see all that many desktop and laptop machines running Linux. But the connecte...