Linux: 101… our basic introduction to Linux

We’ve taken this opportunity during National Coding Week, which is bringing IT skills into the wider consciousness, to do a quick and simple, beginners guide to Linux and what it’s used for.

We should start off by saying, training in Linux is not learning code. Linux is an Open Source operating system (as we will find out) but what you will also discover (as you may have seen with our ‘Coding on the Raspberry Pi’ video) is that C programming can be used for programming Linux and so the two become interlinked.

Likewise, if you’re interested in coding and a career in this field, you might also be interested in system engineering and many other Open Source career paths.

So let’s start at the beginning….


What is Linux?

Just like Microsoft (you’ve all heard of that right?) or Mac OS X, Linux is an operating system, which manages all the hardware resources on a computer. The operating system manages the communication between your software and hardware – without it your software wouldn’t function.


What makes it ‘Open Source’?

Open Source simply means the code is open and available for anyone to read, replicate or adapt for their own purposes. Microsoft for instance is not Open Source, and therefore you must buy licences for all the different systems and upgrades. With Linux you can use or write your own. It’s very adaptable and this is what has made Linux so popular with companies running supercomputers.


I’ve heard of the Linux Kernel, what’s that? 

The kernel is the core of the system that manages the CPU, memory, and peripheral devices. You may also have heard of the Linux Command Line, or The Shell. This is a command process that allows you to control the computer via commands typed into a text interface. With modern desktop Linux there is actually no need to ever touch the command line any more.


Where can we see Linux being used?

Operating systems are funny things because we don’t really see them, we just see the fantastic things they do. Linux is all around us, it’s in our phones, our cars, it’s running our internet – it touches our lives every day. It runs everything from home gadgets like computerised fridges to the London Stock exchange (and many stock exchange computers around the world all use Linux).  We listed 25 amazing uses for Linux in this 25th birthday post – including Japan’s Bullet trains, movie animation and CGI like Titanic and Avatar and even NASA!


How do I get the skills I need to use Linux?

Some people with good IT and coding knowledge are able to tinker around and learn the basics themselves. But to get a good grasp our Linux Essentials Professional Development Certificate teaches you the basic knowledge required to competently use a desktop or mobile device using a Linux Operating System. You’ll also learn about the place of Linux and Open Source in the context of the broader IT industry.


Why get qualifications in Linux?

Quite simply you’ll enjoy great career prospects in a booming tech economy. Check out our recent post on the type of jobs you can expect to get with LPI Certification.