User-Level Intro to Linux

Welcome Aboard

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.

Learning Objectives

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
  • ...
As such, this makes this intro to Linux a good "early elective" to take in the program

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 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.

Instructor Information

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).

Dr. Gaspar is an ACM SIGCSE, SIGITE and SIGEVO member and regularly serves as reviewer for international journals & conferences and as panelist for various NSF programs.

His research interests include Evolutionary Algorithms and Computing Education Research, with applications to Intelligent Tutoring Systems / Computer Assisted Learning. His teaching interests include System Administration with Linux, Programming, Web App Development in JavaScript and open source in general. For more information feel free to visit his webpage or email him directly at

Development History

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.