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Your Complete Guide to Linux

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By: Olivia

June 28, 2017

Since its’ inception, Linux has become a phenomenon in the IT world as programmers work to enhance the operating system. As it grows, Linux has gained a following among developers very quickly, as it appeals to a wide audience. Most specifically, Linux is ideal for those who know UNIX and want to run it on PC-type hardware, those who want to experiment with operating system principles, those who need or want control over their operating system, and those who dislike Microsoft.While Linux may be harder to manage than Windows, it offers more flexibility and the opportunity for custom configuration, meaning that users can choose core components such as system display graphics.Linux has grown into an industry-leading software and service delivery platform that is used for everything from super computers and Web servers to virtualized systems and your Android phone, meaning you will find many IT careers in the current market require these skills.With such a ‘cult-like’ following, the power users and Linux experts are continuing to grow. Whether you are new to Linux or are looking to advance your knowledge of operating systems, it is valuable to understand the ins-and-outs of this OS as you develop your skills across IT.Surveys indicate between one- and two-thirds of the webpages on the Internet are generated by servers running Linux. Typically, organizations choose Linux for their servers because it’s secure and provides support from a large community of users. Becoming a part of this elite Linux group will help you stand out among others in the job market, grow your expertise or improve the computing capabilities of your organization.

What is Linux?

Linux is an operating system, the same as Windows 8 or Mac OS X. For those who need a refresher, “an operating system is software that manages all of the hardware resources associated with your desktop or laptop.”According to experts, the defining characteristic of Linux is the Linux kernel, an operating systems first released on September 17, 1991by Linus Torvalds. The kernel is the core of the system and manages the CPU, memory and peripheral devices. The kernel is the ‘lowest’ level of the OS.Additionally, the OS is made up of a number of other aspects, including the bootloader, the Shell, daemons, the graphical sever, the desktop environment and applications. Linux has varying distributions to fit the needs of any user. These versions are called distributions, and two popular distros include Ubuntu Linux and Debian.

What sets Linux apart?

Linux is unique because it is the best-known and most-used open source operating systems, meaning that the code used to create Linux is free and available to the public. You may be surprised to learn that the Linux operating system is everywhere- from your car to your smartphone to your computer.Similar to Unix, Linux has tools for ‘interfacing with the systems, programming tools, filesystem layouts, and other key components. However, Unix is not free. Over the years, a number of different operating systems have been created that attempted to be ‘unix-like’ or ‘unix-compatible,’ but Linux has been the most successful, far surpassing its predecessors in popularity.”Essentially, unlike other operating systems, Linux offers full access, complete licensing freedom, online peer support (open source), and the command line. With Linux you have a centralized application installation where you can search, add, or remove software. Linux is much more flexible and customizable, and can run at multiple levels.

What are some of the features of Linux?

Linux kernel and application programs support the installation on any kind of hardware platform and can run multiple applications at once. Files are arranged with a hierarchical file system and provides user security using various authentication features such as the encryption of data.

What is Linux used for?

Using Linux, you have the ability to troubleshoot computers, make Chrome more useful, host a website, work with hard drives, and even automate everything in your home. You’d be surprised all the devices that run using Linux, like your car.If you’re looking for a home server, you can run one using Linux which can be used for streaming, torrenting, and backup, or you can use Linux to create a dedicated ‘media center’ of sorts. Utilize Linux to restore an old computer.Perhaps most importantly, Linux is a great way to learn how computers work, and will allow you to delve into hacking and security.

Why should I learn Linux?

Most likely, you’re already using Linux on a daily basis, so this commonality coupled with its’ versatility makes the skills extremely desirable. With cloud computing, the Linux market share is only continuing to grow, meaning Linux skills make you more ‘hireable.’According to CompTIA, “CompTIA Linux+ is the only Linux certification that you will need, as it covers the general administration tasks that most organizations seek when hiring for Linux/UNIX administration positions. Advanced topic areas not tested on Linux+ often involve specialized configuration that is specific to a particular organization and Linux distribution or UNIX flavor. Those who have a working knowledge of the general administration concepts tested on CompTIA Linux+ can easily research and perform these advanced configuration tasks as necessary.”

How can I learn Linux?

Sure, there are plenty of online tutorials, but if you really want to become a ‘Linux Guru,’ and truly learn the different capabilities of this tool, we recommend learning step-by-step with the Linux Hands-On labs Part 1 and Part 2. While other tutorials may show and tell you about the tool, these Linux labs walk you through the steps to perform the tasks yourself so you can learn by doing.

What is a virtual lab?

Virtual labs are pre-configured hardware layouts with accompanying lab guides for fast, convenient access that make studying for an exam or learning new technologies an engaging experience. Develop your comprehensive IT skills in a safe, working environment without the need to invest in your own hardware and software.
  • Practical Training on the Latest Industry Technology
  • Real Equipment, No Simulations
  • 6 Month Unified Access Available on Any Device
  • No Hardware or Licensing Costs

What will I learn in this lab?

Professionals looking to gain a comprehensive understanding of Linux maintenance tasks, user assistance, installation, and configuration will greatly benefit from LX0-103 Linux+ Part 1 and LX0-104 Linux Part 2 Hands-On Labs. These labs will allow you to gain hands-on skills needed as a capable Linux administrator.The CompTIA LX0-103 Linux+ lab “focuses on basic Linux concepts such as package management, commands, and devices. Although this is a Linux test, it covers hardware concepts, especially pertaining to the way systems boot. For package management, you're expected to know about both the Red Hat and Debian style of packages and associated command-line tools. The Linux Filesystem Hierarchy Standard also features heavily in this exam.”Lab Exercises include:
  • Determine and configure hardware settings
  • Boot the System
  • Change Runlevels and Shutdown or Reboot System
  • Design hard disk layout
  • Manage shared libraries
  • Use RPM and YUM package management
  • Work on the command line
  • Process text streams using filters
  • Perform Basic File Management
  • Use Streams Pipes and Redirects
  • Create, Monitor and Kill Processes
  • Modify Process Execution Priorities
  • Search Text Files using Regular Expressions
  • Perform Basic File Editing Operations Using vi
  • Create partitions and filesystems
  • Maintain the integrity of filesystems
  • Control mounting and unmounting of filesystems
  • Manage disk quotas
  • Manage File Permissions and Ownership
  • Create and change hard and symbolic links
  • Find system files and place files in the correct location
  • Linux Installation and Package Management
  • Install a boot manager
The CompTIA LX0-104 Linux+ lab delves specifically into “applications, scripting, and security. This exam covers the different files that the shell uses and how to customize the shell. It also touches on user management, writing scripts, and scheduling those scripts to run unattended, as well as basic information about email servers, logging, time servers, and printing.”Lab exercises include:
  • Customize and use the shell environment
  • Customize or write simple scripts
  • SQL data management
  • Accessibility
  • Manage user and group accounts and related system files
  • Automate system administration tasks by scheduling jobs
  • Localization and internationalization
  • Maintain system time
  • System logging
  • Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) basics
  • Manage printers and printing
  • Internet Protocols and Basic Network Configuration
  • Basic network troubleshooting
  • Configure client side DNS
  • Perform security administration tasks
  • Setup host security
  • Securing data with encryption

How can I contribute to Linux?

For those interested in contributing to Linux, the Linux kernel is written mostly in C, with some other languages, but contribution can be as simple as being an evangelist for Linux and open- source in general.

To Summarize

If there is one operating system most tech experts will agree everyone should learn, it’s Linux. With the open and flexible nature of this OS, paired with its’ growing popularity, having even a basic understanding can greatly help your career, further your understanding of computers, servers, and security, and offer a variety of capabilities to those who take the time to learn it.Linux is now easier than ever to learn with the Linux Part 1 and Part 2 Hands-On labs, found in the Cybrary catalog. Join the growing community of Linux evangelists and get your ‘geek’ on with this versatile technology.

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Olivia Lynch (@Cybrary_Olivia) is the Marketing Manager at Cybrary. Like many of you, she is just getting her toes wet in the field of cyber security. A firm believer that the pen is mightier than the sword, Olivia considers corny puns and an honest voice essential to any worthwhile blog.
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