Top 5 Free Tutorials for Linux Beginners

5 Best Free Linux Tutorials for Beginners

Linux tutorials are all over the Internet. Here are a five of my favorites for beginners.

I present different formats, because we all learn differently. There are books, courses, web sites, and combined media.

#1 Introduction to Linux, A Beginner’s Guide, by Machtelt Garrels (Tille), The Linux Documentation Project (tdlp).

Introduction to Linux

Clicking on the image takes you to a .pdf version of the Guide.

The web version starts here.

The .pdf version is entitled “Introduction to Linux, A Hands on Guide“, and that name is appropriate. Tille labored hard to provide an excellent, hands on “course in a book” that will get you understanding Linux quickly, even if you’ve never used it before.


  • Thorough
  • Well written
  • A lot of exercises
  • Generic (not centered on one or a few distro’s)


  • Dated
  • Not a step-by-step hand holding guide
  • Generic (not centered on one or a few distro’s)

I list the fact that it’s generic as a pro and a con. It’s a plus, in that the commands she gives should work with any distribution. It’s a negative because you don’t get any direction about which distro to use, or specific instructions regarding that distro.

Overall, a great place to start!

#2 Intro to Linux, The Linux Foundation, LFS101x

The Linux Foundation’s stated goal is to;

build sustainable ecosystems around open source projects to accelare technology development and comercial adoption.

In fulfilling that goal, they want people to understand Linux, so they provide free and paid training.

One free course, Introduction to Linux,  is made avaiable through the online course retailer, edX. You’ll have to sign up for a free account to access the course.

The Linux Foundation Image
The Linux Foundation – Introduction to Linux Course

The course gives thorough coverage of three operating systems, including lessons covering the Graphical User Interfaces (GUI’s) for CentOS, OpenSUSE, and Ubuntu Linux in the form of text based and video lessons.


  • Thorough coverage
  • Starts with the basics and builds on them
  • Covers three top Linux distributions


  • Many text based lessons (could be wordy if you don’t like that format)

#3 Linux Journey

The Linux Journey presents information in the form of a Learning Management System (LMS). LMS’s are systems designed to make learning modular and permit you to teach any topic with relative ease.

The Linux Journey screen capture
The Linux Journey LMS

It has a modern, clean design, and presents the information in an intuitive way for people who like a self paced reading focused learning environment.

It is divided into some high level sections based on the skill level of the student.

The levels are:

  • Grasshopper
  • Journeyman
  • Networking Nomad

You’ll often see references to Linux Fu, or Command Line Fu. It’s supposed to relate to the martial art, Kung Fu.

Grasshopper for the most basic level, was the nick name for Kwai Chang Kane when he was a student at the Shao Lin Temple in the 70’s televesion series, Kung Fu.

Here are the Pro’s and Con’s of this site.


  • Thorough coverage
  • Starts with basics and builds on them


  • Completely text based

#4 Eli the Computer Guy’s YouTube Play List, Introduction to Linux

If you’re a more online video oriented person, as I am, you may like Eli the Computer Guy’s Introduction to Linux series.

Eli the Computer Guy YouTube Play List Intro to Linux
Eli The Comuter Guy – Introduction to Linux

Eli talks on the videos, does white board explanations, and shows things in action on the computer.

If you like the video format, this course may be for you.


  • Decent coverage
  • Logical flow


  • Some video’s are quite lengthy (longest is 53 minutes!)
  • No other inteeraction like quizzes or activities (limitaiton of YouTube)

#5 The Linux Command Line, A Complete Introduction, by William E. Shotts Jr., No Starch Press

Once you have the basics down from one or several of the courses, sites, or books above, it’s good to get nice and cozy with the Linux command line.

If you manage Linux servers, you’ll rarely be managing the actual server via a Graphical User Interface or GUI.

Almost all of your work will be done at the command line.

This book provides an excellent command line foundation.

The Linux Command Line Book Cover
The Linux Command Line


  • Excellent coverage of the Linux command line
  • Format encourages you to follow along and try things while reading


  • Focused solely on the command line and interacting with the shell (you may want to start with one of the other resources first)

You’ll eventually find much of the information in many of the formats mentioned on this site as it’s built.

Please provide input if there are topics you’d like to covered sooner.

I am including a plug for my paid Udemy course, Ubuntu Linux Fundamentals – Learn Linux Server with Ubuntu, as well as a coupon so you can take it for $24.99 here. List price at the time I’m posting this is $100.

Happy learning, and please leave comments on what resources you like!