LPIC-1 101 Linux certification - Introduction (1 of 5)
Introduction to Linux

The courses in this Linux certification series will prepare you for the Linux Professional Institute LPIC-1 certification exam. While the series' main focus will be on Linux, where there's a parallel or overlap with the professional administration of deployments on Amazon's AWS architecture, we'll also highlight the skills you'll need to integrate the cloud into your Linux portfolio.

The cloud is the future, and Linux skills are the tools you'll need to get there.

This first course will introduce you to:

  • the Linux ecosystem
  • the structure and expectations of the LPIC exam
  • the way the eleven courses that make up this series will be organized, and
  • some critical survival skills that will help place your Linux skills on a solid foundation.

The next course in this series will focus on System Architecture.

If you have thoughts or suggestions for this course, please contact Cloud Academy at


Hello, and welcome to Cloud Academy's series preparing you for the LPIC-1 Linux Server Professional Certification Exams and for system administration in the Amazon Web Services Cloud. My name is David Clinton, and I am going to draw on my experience in cloud computing, as a classroom teacher and as a Linux system administrator to guide you through the sometimes complicated but always rewarding path to Linux Certification. This is all about connections. The LPIC Certification is an excellent introduction to the real world of system administration. And Linux administration skills, besides their other benefits, can make you a much better cloud platform manager. I hope our connection through this series and throughout your experience with Cloud Academy will be a productive and happy one.


Linux History: who invented it and why it has been widely adopted


The Linux history begins in late in 1991 when Linus Torvalds released the Linux kernel as free and open-source software. Since then, while many thousands of developers have contributed significant improvements to the operating system, Torvalds, partly sponsored by the Linux Foundation, still acts as project coordinator. Considering the size and complexity of the project, and the strong, and shall we say independent personalities of many of its most creative contributors, the fact that they've somehow managed not only to hold the huge, massively distributed project together, but to mold it into an incredibly productive process is remarkable. Whether you choose to think of it as a community self- help project with a major catalyst driving world-scale economies, you probably won't find too many historical projects whose impact has been comparable. To say that Linux has been widely adopted is to deeply understate the matter. While it's probably used on less than 2% of desktop computers, Linux absolutely dominates all other computing markets including servers, mainframes, supercomputers, embedded systems, gaming consoles, network routers, and through Android smartphones. In fact, when it comes to the digitally-connected world, that thing all the kids are calling "The Internet," the vast majority is run on Linux servers. You might be surprised at the kind of enterprises that have adopted Linux, both for their internal and public-facing infrastructure. The US Federal Aviation Authority, for instance, claims to have saved themselves $15 million through their transition to Linux.

Governments like those of Mexico City and Munich, despite some widely reported temporary hiccups, have successfully made the switch and so has the US Navy nuclear submarine fleet among other branches of the military. Most of the world's best-known technology companies have chosen Linux for their computing needs including Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon.

In the case of Amazon, not only does the company use Linux for its own use, but the vast majority of virtual instances launched by Amazon's AWS customers use Linux as well. Not only does Google strongly encourage its own employees to use Linux on their own desktops wherever possible, but their vast infrastructure is solidly built on the free operating system. A year ago, it was widely reported that Google launches over two billion virtual containers running Linux each week. This, by the way, illustrates how easily Linux can be scaled up or out to efficiently meet the demands of just about any project. This scalability is not only the main reason Linux is such a good match with the cloud-computing paradigm, but probably the main reason cloud computing exists in the first place. With everything from traffic lights and air traffic control, to Internet commerce all hanging on Linux systems, there's obviously a huge and growing demand for people with Linux skills - a demand that won't be slowing anytime soon. Users and users standing behind the Linux project have historically contributed to a far more secure and reliable platform.

Interestingly as part of a white paper I once wrote, I discovered that online support requests for help using the open-source LibreOffice and OpenOffice product suites would generally receive replies within five hours. At the time, Microsoft promised a response time of one hour for critical, and next business day for high-need issues for their Office 365 Help Request for subscribers to their Small Business Premium Servers. The difference of course was that Microsoft's service cost $13.25 per month per user while the high-quality LibreOffice and OpenOffice support was and still is absolutely free. Perhaps most of all, Linux is versatile. Welcome to the world of specialized distros.

Besides the well-known major distributions like Ubuntu, Debian and Red Hat, there's a purpose-built version for just about any niche purpose you can imagine. Looking to build a really cheap firewall appliance? Try IPCop. Want a customized router? OpenWrt is what you're after. Do you need secure digital forensics? Try Kali Linux.

Digital entertainment servers? Mythbuntu. Music production work station? Ubuntu Studio. While Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a commercially supported distribution aimed at high-end enterprise deployments, you might prefer the same core software but without the cost of commercial support. Fedora or CentOS might fill that need. Don't like the new System-D Resource Management Suite? Feel free to use one of the many distros still running within it instead. Do you need an OS that will provide serious competition in choice in the smartphone market? Google's Android mobile operating system is built right on top of the Linux kernel. Even the way you interact with your software resources can be highly personalized by selecting from the rich range of desktop interfaces. Not all of these popular examples are natively available for every single distribution, but you're bound to find some combination of aesthetics, convenience and workflow model that works for you.

About the Author
Learning Paths

David taught high school for twenty years, worked as a Linux system administrator for five years, and has been writing since he could hold a crayon between his fingers. His childhood bedroom wall has since been repainted.

Having worked directly with all kinds of technology, David derives great pleasure from completing projects that draw on as many tools from his toolkit as possible.

Besides being a Linux system administrator with a strong focus on virtualization and security tools, David writes technical documentation and user guides, and creates technology training videos.

His favorite technology tool is the one that should be just about ready for release tomorrow. Or Thursday.

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