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GNU/Linux Basic


Although free software has been around for over twenty years, it only recently began to be seen as a valid alternative for many users, companies and, increasingly, institutions and governments. GNU/Linux is currently one of the most reliable and efficient operating systems available. Although the fact that it is Free Software led to some initial wariness among users and companies, GNU/Linux has proved itself to be in the same class as any other operating system available today.

The aim of this course is to initiate you into the world of GNU/Linux. It covers the basics of the open source philosophy, how to use and modify GNU/Linux to suit your needs, and how to find your way in this new world more easily. Nonetheless, this document is not an essential reference guide for administrators and/or users; there are already hundreds of manuals, how-to guides and other reference works numbering thousands of pages that serve this purpose. Our aim here is to help you take your first steps in this as-yet uncharted territory for too many users and administrators, and to explain how to tackle and resolve potential problems by yourself.

The course is not based on any particular distribution, but we need to specify certain actions for most of the examples and activities, for which we will use Debian GNU/Linux. Although this distribution is not as intuitive and user-friendly as others, it will serve to explain all the characteristics of a GNU/Linux-based operating system, step by step. Moreover, its remarkable quality, stability and security make it one of the most valid options available today. We should also mention the support available for other distributions, which is essential for many companies. We have therefore included an appendix explaining the installation process and main features of RedHat Linux.

We hope that you will enjoy the course and it will open the doors of the world of Free Software to you. The more users we are, the more software and better quality we will obtain.

Welcome to GNU/Linux!

Learning Outcomes

  • Use the basic commands of GNU/Linux.
  • Start the computer from a live-CD GNU/Linux distribution.
  • Install the GNU/Linux operating system.
  • Basic GNU/Linux configuration.
  • Use of daemons and runlevels in GNU/Linux.
  • Basic applications installed on a GNU/Linux system.
  • Install and start the graphical X-Window system.

Teaching Staff

See the FTA tutors page.

Academic Requirements

Previous experience at user level with any operating system is recommended. Expertise in systems administration in any platform is desirable.


If you want to enroll into this course, please follow the instructions in the main Courses page.


Book details and source files
Book cover

This material is part of the module: "GNU/Linux Basic".

  • Authors:Joaquín López Sánchez-Montañés, Sofia Belles Ramos, Roger Baig Viñas, Francesc Aulí Llinàs
  • Coordinators:Jordi Serra i Ruiz, David Megías Jiménez, Jordi Mas