In short: In this article, I will share with you the best resource for learn linux for free. This is a collection of free websites, online video courses, and eBooks.
How to learn Linux?
This is perhaps the most frequently asked question in our Facebook group for Linux users.
The answer to this simple question “how to learn Linux” is not at all simple.
The problem is, different people have different meanings of learning Linux.
- If someone has never used Linux, either from the command line or as a desktop version, that person might just be wondering to know more about it.
- If someone uses Windows for their desktop but needs to use the Linux command line at work, that person might be interested in learning Linux commands.
- If someone has been using Linux for a while and knows the basics, but maybe they want to take it to the next level.
- If someone just wants to orient themselves in a specific Linux distribution.
- If anyone is trying to improve or learn Bash scripts, which are almost synonymous with Linux command line.
- If anyone wants to make a career as a Linux sysadmin or try to improve their skills as a sysadmin.
You see, the answer to “how can I learn Linux” depends on what kind of Linux knowledge you are looking for. And to that end, I’ve put together a bunch of free Linux resources that you could use to learn Linux.
These free resources include eBooks, video lessons, websites, and more. And these are broken down into subcategories so that you can easily find what you’re looking for when looking to learn Linux.
If you are looking for a career as a Linux sysadmin, I recommend getting professional certification from the Linux Foundation, the organization that employs Linux creator Linus Torvalds. You can also check out inexpensive Linux courses on Udemy.
Again, there is no best way to learn linux. It’s up to you how you go to learn Linux, through online web portals, downloaded eBooks, video lessons, or whatever.
Disclaimer: All books listed here are legal to download. The sources mentioned here are the official sources, to my knowledge. However, if you find it to be otherwise, please let me know so that I can take appropriate action.
1. Free material to learn Linux for absolute beginners
So maybe you’ve just heard about Linux from your friends or during an online chat. You are intrigued by the hype around Linux and overwhelmed by the vast information available on the internet, but you just cannot know exactly where to look to find out more about Linux.
Do not worry. Most of us, if not all, have been to your stage.
Introduction to Linux by Linux Foundation [Video Course]
If you have no idea what Linux is and want to get started, I suggest you take the free video course provided by the Linux Foundation on edX. Think of this as an official course from the organization that “maintains” Linux. And yes, it’s endorsed by Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux himself.
Linux course [Online Portal]
Not official and maybe not very popular. But this little website is the perfect place for some no-frills Linux learning for beginners.
The website is beautifully designed and well organized according to the topics. It also offers interactive quizzes that you can take after reading a section or chapter. My advice, add this site to your favorites:
Learn Linux in 5 days [eBook]
This brilliant eBook is available for free exclusively to It’s FOSS readers through Linux Training Academy.
Written for absolute beginners, this free Linux eBook gives you a quick overview of Linux, common Linux commands, and other things you need to learn to get started with Linux.
The Ultimate Guide for Linux Beginners [eBook]
This is a free eBook to download for Linux beginners. The eBook begins by explaining what Linux is and then offers more convenient use of Linux as a desktop.
You can download the latest version of this eBook from the link below:
2.Free Linux eBooks for Beginners to Advanced
This section lists Linux eBooks that are “comprehensive” in nature.
What I mean is these are like college textbooks that focus on every aspect of Linux, well most of it. You can read them as an absolute beginner or you can read them for a deeper understanding as an intermediate Linux user. You can also use them as a reference even if you are at the expert level.
Introduction to Linux [eBook]
Introduction to Linux is a free eBook from The Linux Documentation Project and is one of the most popular free Linux books. While I think parts of this book need updating, it’s still a great book to teach you about Linux, its filesystem, command line, network, and other related things.
Linux Basics [eBook]
This free eBook by Paul Cobbaut teaches you the history and installation of Linux and focuses on the basic Linux commands you need to know.
You can get the book from the link below:
Advanced Linux programming [eBook]
As the name suggests, it is aimed at advanced users who develop or wish to develop software for Linux. It covers sophisticated features such as multiprocessing, multithreading, inter-process communication, and interaction with hardware devices.
Following the book will help you develop a faster, more reliable, and secure program that uses all the capabilities of a GNU / Linux system.
Linux from scratch [eBook]
If you think you know enough about Linux and are a pro, why not make your own Linux distro? Linux From Scratch (LFS) is a project that provides you with step-by-step instructions for building your own custom Linux system, entirely from source code.
Call it DIY Linux, but it’s a great way to take your Linux expertise to the next level.
There are different sub-parts of this project, you can check it out on their website and download the books from there.
3. Free eBooks to Learn Linux Command Line and Shell Scripts
The real power of Linux is in the command line and if you want to conquer Linux you have to learn Linux command line and shell scripting.
In fact, if you have to work on a Linux terminal as part of your job, a good knowledge of the Linux command line will actually help you with your tasks and maybe also help you advance your career (because you will be more effective).
In this section, we will see various free e-books on Linux commands.
The Linux command line [eBook]
This free 500+ page eBook by William Shotts is the MUST HAVE for anyone serious about learning the Linux command line.
Even if you think you know something about Linux, you will be amazed at how much this book still teaches you.
It covers things from beginner to advanced level. I bet you will be a better Linux user after reading this book. Download it and keep it always with you.
Summary of GNU / Linux Command Line Tools [eBook]
This eBook from The Linux Documentation Project is a good place to start with the Linux command line and become familiar with shell scripting.
GNU Bash Reference Manual [eBook]
This is a free eBook to download from GNU. As the name suggests, it deals with Bash Shell (if I can call it that). This book is over 175 pages long and covers a number of Linux command line topics in Bash.
Bash Guide for Beginners [eBook]
If you just want to get started with Bash scripts, this could be a good companion for you. The Linux Documentation Project is behind this eBook again, and it is the same author who wrote the Introduction to Linux eBook (discussed earlier in this article).
Advanced guide to Bash scripts [eBook]
If you think you already know the basics of Bash scripting and want to improve your skills, this is what you need. This book contains over 900 pages of various advanced commands and their examples.
Linux 101 Hacks [eBook]
This 270-page eBook from The Geek Stuff teaches you the basics of Linux command lines with practical, easy-to-follow examples.
The AWK programming language [eBook]
It’s not the prettiest book here, but if you really need to dig deeper into your scripts, this old and yet golden book might come in handy.
4. Free eBooks for SysAdmin
This section is dedicated to SysAdmins, the developer superheroes. I have listed some free eBooks for SysAdmin here that will surely help anyone who is already or aspiring to be a SysAdmin. I must add that you should also focus on essential Linux command lines as this will make your job easier.
The Debian Administration Manual [eBook]
If you are using Debian Linux for your servers, this is your bible. The Debian Administration Handbook begins with Debian history, installation, package management, etc., then covers topics such as LAMP, virtual machines, storage management and other essentials of system administration.
Advanced Linux System Administration [eBook]
It is an ideal book if you are preparing for LPI certification. The book directly addresses the essential topics for system administrators. Knowledge of the Linux command line is therefore a prerequisite in this case.
Linux system administration [eBook]
Another free eBook from Paul Cobbaut. The 370-page eBook covers networking, disk management, user management, kernel management, library management, and more.
Linux Servers [eBook]
Another eBook by Paul Cobbaut from linux-training.be. This book covers web servers, mysql, DHCP, DNS, Samba, and other file servers.
Linux networks [eBook]
Networking is the bread and butter of a SysAdmin, and this book by Paul Cobbaut (again) is a good reference material.
Linux storage [eBook]
This book by Paul Cobbaut (yes, him again) explains in detail the management of disks in Linux and presents many other technologies related to storage.
Linux security [eBook]
This is the last Paul Cobbaut eBook in our list here. Security is one of the most important parts of a system administrator’s job. This book focuses on file permissions, acls, SELinux, users and passwords, etc.
Your favorite Linux learning material?
So, now you have a lot of reading material. If you want to practice, you can use one of the online Linux terminals that allow you to run Linux and Bash commands.
I know this is a good collection of free Linux eBooks. But it could always be improved. If you have any other resources that might be useful for learning Linux, please share them with us. Please note to only share legal downloads so that I can update this article with your suggestions without any issues.
Hope you find this article helpful in learning Linux. Your comments are welcome 🙂