Welcome to the online modules used in the User-Level Introduction to Linux taught in the Linux Technologies Specialization Track of the BS in Information Technology program offered by the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of South Florida.
The videos, web resources & assignments in this mini-site are meant to allow students without prior experience to explore the Linux operating system & learn the essentials skills to become fluent users.
If you are taking this course at USF with Alessio Gaspar, please refer to the announcements section of your Learning Management System - Canvas. Every week by Monday at 11:55pm, your instructor will post details on what parts of this site you should study during the week.
- Video - Welcome Aboard
- Video Link: YouTube
- This video will help you get your bearings in this online course. We will review the organization of both the course' Canvas site and this website. If you have any questions, please post on the "support forum" available in Canvas.
Our intent is not only to prepare you to be end-users or desktop users but mainly to prepare you to be able to work efficiently on a Linux platform; e.g. as developer. While this introductory material will help you prepare for either continuing into a Linux system administration track or learning to develop Linux applications, it is not meant as just an intro to Linux system administration.
Instead, we focus on teaching fundamentals from the power user perspective. This is a departure from the standard introduction to Linux which assumes you are coming to this platform with the sole purpose of becoming a system administrator. Instead of teaching you how to set up a printer by week three, we focus on developing skills which will serve both future Linux system administrators but also any professional IT occupation requiring you to work efficiently on a Linux platform; e.g. developer, web designer...
Former students also reported that this introduction to Linux was useful if taken before some of the USF BSIT program offerings which have students work on the Linux platform. Examples of such offerings include;
- Operating Systems for Information Technology
- Computer Networking for Information Technology
- Various Security electives
For whom is this material suitable?
The material on this website has been used for an undergraduate, semester-long, introduction to Linux at the University of South Florida. It is suitable to support either a face-to-face flipped classroom setting, or an online offering - whether it is synchronous or asynchronous.
While the material is also suitable for independent learners who want to use this website for self-study, it is worth mentioning that the learning activities were designed to be used with an instructor. Therefore, you will find that many practice activities are meant for students to ask questions to their instructor instead of simply working on them in isolation. If you are browsing this material without such support you might find it benefitial to work with others in order to make the best out of our practice assignments or discussion activities.
Welcome again to the world of Linux & Open source, enjoy your learning
This page provides a small selection of links to help you get started in learning more about Linux Technologies. Feel free to use these links as a starting point when you are working on your DF - Discussion Forums - assignments.
General Links about Linux
For many students new to Linux, the following provides a good overview of both uses of Linux in industry and its adoption statistics;
It is a good idea to then move on to some more specialized sites;
Here are links to some of the mainstream Linux distributions;
You will also find websites dedicated to help you look for the distro best suited for your needs;
A particular mention is worth giving to Linux distributions that put a particular focus on preserving your privacy directly [Tails, Whonix], or indirectly by preventing you from installing, without even realizing it, closed-sources software [Trisquel].
Similarly, if you are looking for small distributions able to give new purpose to old hardware, or run inside a router, take a look at TinyCore
Understanding Open Source
These websites will help you gain a better understanding of the open source movement;
- Free Software, Free Society, Richard Stallman, GNU Press, 2nd edition, 2010
- Just for fun: the story of an accidental revolutionary, Linus Torvalds & David Diamond, Harper Business, 2001
Open Source Legalities;
Zines related to Linux;
Linux Enthusiasts Web Sites;
- Ubuntu Weekly News [channel]
- Linux Torvalds on Linux on desktops
- Tutorial Linux [channel]
- Linux Tutorial for Beginners [playlist] from the new boston [channel]
Linux User Groups
These are great environment to find other fellow Linux enthusiasts to mingle with. I will try to keep the list below up to date with LUGs available in central Florida. Do not hesitate to get in touch to have your LUG added. Our online students are from everywhere in Florida, helping them find a LUG near them is the point of this list!
- Suncoast LUG
- Tampa Linux & OSS meetup
- Greater Orlando LUG
- Linux Enthusiasts & Professionals of Central Florida - seems no longer active
Educational Material about Linux
The following are resources providing a more structured approach to learning about Linux
- EdX Linux Foundations course LFS101x among other available made available in the LinuxFoundationX series
- YouTube - Linux Foundation
- Teaching Open Source
- Linux Training eBooks
For those of you interested in developing on the Linux platform;
For those of you interested in kernel internals;
Just for fun...
Here are some ideas of topics you might want to explore further just for fun;
- Linux distributions each feature repositories. Android is based on Linux and has the Google Play app market, which is, in essence, a repository. However, there is more. Download the F-Droid app and access the F-Droid repository of open source Android apps.
- Understanding how an Android installations differ from a traditional Linux distribution. This is something you may explore by installing the Termux app. I recommend you do so from the F-Droid repository. This tool will allow you to interact with your Android system much like you would do with a command line on a regular Linux installation. I particularly recommend playing with Termux::API which will allow you to access via the CLI, and therefore scripts, some of the Android specific features; e.g. GPS, TTS, Camera...
- Windows 10 marks an interesting development in terms of the relations between the Linux community and Microsoft. Following in the footsteps of projects like GNU Cygwin, there is now a way to get a Ubuntu-based overlay on your Windows 10 system and access it via a Bash-powered command line. For more details, refer to this tutorial or this one, along with this overview of available features. A project worth keeping an eye on.
- This list would not be complete if I didn't mention the wealth of tutorials and projects revolving around the Raspberry PI hardware platform or other similarly intended, Linux-powered, one board computers; e.g. Pine 64
This page is not mandatory reading but is instead meant to provide some additional information for those of you who are curious about how this course was developed, the reasons behind the structure we will be working with, or simply who their instructor is.
Dr. Alessio Gaspar is an Associate Professor with the University of South Florida’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering, director of the USF Computing Education Research & Adult Learning group, and coordinator for the USF BSIT Linux Technologies specialization tracks.
He received his Ph.D. in computer science in 2000 from the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis (France). Before joining USF, he worked as visiting professor at the ESSI polytechnic and EIVL engineering schools (France), then as postdoctoral researcher at the University of Fribourg’s Computer Science department (Switzerland).
This material has been developed and taught to both USF Information Technology & Computer Science students at the University of South Florida by Alessio Gaspar. This is the 7th major revision of this offering.
The transcriptions for our videos have been made possible through the excellent support provided by USF Students With Disabilities Services. A huge thanks to Peggy Kledzik without whom this would not have happened!
This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under award number DUE ATE 0802551. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. For more information refer to the USF CEReAL research group.
Take a look at the "USF Linux Technologies" website for more information about other offerings you might be interested to take in order to further your Linux skills.