First of all, thank you very much for choosing TWC (Tech with Christian) as the place where you would like to learn Linux, it means more than you probably think. 🙌 When you read through the articles and tutorials on my website(s), you might stumble upon questions, please leave them in the comments below the posts, as there might be others out there with the same questions. Thanks!
If you want more details about this site and why I made it, please check out the About page on the link below.
If you are ready to get started with Linux, then go to the next section and start off with a little bit of history and get an introduction to some terms that are widely used within the industry of technology. I will explain each of them as we get to them. 🎉
Welcome To The World Of Linux
Before we dive into all the fun stuff, I think it's important to know where it all began and learn some terms that tech people often use when they are writing and talking about software and technology in general.
It all started in 1991 in Finland when a guy named Linus Torvalds got a new hobby - Writing a free operating system when he was not studying at the University of Helsinki.
If we take a look from 1991 when it was just a hobby project and fast-forward to today, Linux has become the world's largest open-source project in history and a fun fact is that more than 50% of servers running in Microsoft Azure are using Linux as the OS. Take a look at the infographic below.
Let's have a brief look at some of the terms often used by people in the tech industry.
One thing I would like to start off with, that many beginners ask is, what is Open-Source software?
If you are interested in the different license types, please check out opensource.org at the link here: https://opensource.org/licenses/
On the other hand, we have something called Closed-Source. Software projects that are marked as closed-source software are not made publicly accessible for you to view and modify. A great example of a closed-source project is Microsoft Windows.
So what is an operating system? It's actually a common question to many people 😊
Many different devices run their own operating system, and some of them are closed-source. Here is a list for you with some of the most used operating systems out there.
The list above is not in any order, just a random mention of some of the biggest OS (short for Operating System) that I know of.
When talking about operating systems, you might often hear the word kernel. The kernel is the core of the operating system. I always say the following, when people ask me what a kernel is.
Here is an illustration to give you a better understanding of how the kernel is a part of the operating system.
As I just mentioned you are free to modify open-source software, and Linux is no exception. You can have Linux in many different editions, these are also referred to as distributions or distros in slang and when naming it short.
Because Linux is open-source, numerous individuals and groups have made changes to the Linux kernel and other parts of the Linux operating system. They've done this to create and tailor their own version of Linux that fits their specific requirements. Awesome right?! 🔥
If you go on the internet and search for Linux distributions, you might find hundreds of distributions. One place I recommend, if you are looking for a place to find distros, is named DistroWatch.
DistroWatch is a great place because it shows you how popular a particular distro is. Here is an example of Debian.
As you can see, every detail about the distro is shown on the page. You get to see the OS type, the architecture in the operating system, the desktop kinds, and how popular the distro is.
Is Linux A Safe Choice To Learn?
When people ask if Linux is a safe choice to learn in terms of platform or operating system I always say yes! Why? Well since it was created back in 1991 it has been growing ever since and today it powers more than 90% of all supercomputers. Linux is used on a lot of devices like your phone, web servers, computers, and in big tech industries.
If you plan to get a job within IT, then Linux is definitely a safe choice to start learning. Lots of companies are looking for people with Linux skills to manage their systems, automate them, and run operations supporting the applications within the companies.
Linux is also often the choice in micro controllers running peripheral devices in our homes. This includes machines like your own, washing machine, coffeemaker, etc...
Now let's move on to the fun part and get our hands dirty. Let's create a virtual Linux machine.
Installing Linux As A Virtual Machine
Linux can be installed in multiple ways 😱 In this episode I will show all the steps you need from A to Z in how to install Linux as a virtual machine on your local computer. If you are a more advanced user already you can install it alongside your current operating system.
If you are a beginner, you can now follow along and learn how to install Linux using VirtualBox on your local computer. 😎
Creating and running a virtual computer on your local computer is actually pretty straightforward but might sound a little frightening for some. Today you will learn how to install and run the machine in three easy steps.
- Step one is to download and install VirtualBox.
- Step two is to get the latest available stable ISO image of Ubuntu (a Linux distribution)
- Step three, the final one is to create a new virtual machine in VirtualBox using the ISO image we downloaded from the official site for Ubuntu.
What Is VirtualBox?
VirtualBox is a free cross-platform tool you can install on your computer to run virtual instances of computers/servers. An awesome thing about VirtualBox is the price tag - it's completely FREE! You can read more about VirtualBox at the link below.
I will be installing VirtualBox on my macOS computer and the installer will look like the following.
Download Ubuntu Desktop LTS
After you have installed VirtualBox on your local computer you have to download a Linux distribution. For all my episodes in this getting started with Linux I will be using Ubuntu.
I recommend downloading Ubuntu's latest LTS (Long-Term Support) version. You can get it from the official Ubuntu website, by clicking the link below.
For these episodes, we will be using Ubuntu Desktop. You can also download a pure CLI version with no GUI. To make things simpler and easier for you, we will be using the Desktop version which includes a GUI to manage Ubuntu. You can download that on the link below.
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Create a new Virtual Machine with Ubuntu ISO
Now open up VirtualBox and click on the New button.
This will open a popup where you can specify further details about your new virtual machine. Here we have to select what type of machine we are creating and give it a name you would like. Remember to specify the path for the Ubuntu ISO image you just downloaded.
VirtualBox has an option that allows for unattended guest OS installation. Here you can specify the username and password for your own account in the new VM we are creating.
Remember to check the Guest Additions box at the bottom. This will install device drivers and system applications that optimize the guest operating system for better performance and usability. 🥳
Next up is the hardware. Here I recommend setting at least the minimum requirements. These are:
- 4 GB RAM (4096mb)
- 2 CPUs
- Enable EFI - Enabling EFI is important because it allows Ubuntu (or any other modern operating system) to boot properly and take full advantage of the hardware capabilities of your virtual machine.
Now it's time to specify how big the virtual hard disk should be. I will continue with the minimum recommended requirements by Ubuntu. This is at the time of writing 25 GB.
Awesome, let's continue to the summary and make sure we are happy with the configuration for our new virtual machine.
When you have read it through, click on Finish and watch our VM boot with the Ubuntu ISO we "inserted". And here we have it - click the Install Ubuntu button in the popup window.
Now select your Keyboard Layout. I am from Denmark and will be using a keyboard with a Danish layout, hence the choice below. Select yours and click on Continue.
I will be selecting the Minimal installation, as I will not need the office software, games, and media players. You can choose the Normal installation if you would like these. Furthermore I checked the field with third-party software for graphics, etc...
The final step in the installation is to select what kind of installation type we would prefer. I have chosen the default "the". When you are ready, click the Install Now button.
Ubuntu will now ask you if you want to continue erasing the disk. Don't worry, it's only the virtual hard disk we created for the VM earlier that will be erased/formatted. Click the Continue button.
Ubuntu will now start the installation of the OS in the background and ask you a few questions, fill them out while the installation is ongoing.
Now the only thing you can do is wait until the installation has been finished.
When everything is done, you will see this message on your Ubuntu VM. Click the Restart Now button.
Now Ubuntu will restart by itself and you should now see the default login screen for accounts added on the system. Login with the credentials you provided during the installation/configuration.
Wooha! 😎 Now you are running a virtual Ubuntu machine on your computer. This means you have a fully working Linux computer!
There are of course multiple other ways you can launch a virtual machine. VirtualBox is just one of them. Now let's move on to the part where you actually will learn to work with Ubuntu and see how it works. 🎉
In this episode you got a history introduction to Linux and how it was born many years ago in Finland. You now have a brief understanding of what a distribution (distro) is and how you can look it up and read more about it at DistroWatch.
You also learned how you can run your own Linux Distribution like Ubuntu on your local computer/machine using VirtualBox. In the upcoming episode, I will tell you the difference between a shell and a terminal and show you some basic commands in the terminal to get you started with the core of Linux.
If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below. See you in the next episode! ✌️