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A Free and Accessible Linux Learning Space

Windows now makes it easy to install and run Linux on your desktop or laptop PC. Ed Tittel opens the door to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and the potential treasures that lie within its reach.

Windows has a new pathway to easy Linux learning.Ponder these statistics about Linux before I tell you how you can obtain, learn, and use that OS from any recent Windows 10 or 11 OS version. My source is the Hosting Tribunal, in a story titled “111+ Linux Statistics and Facts — Linux Rocks!” In breathless prose, this short list is entitled “Mind-blowing Linux Statistics (Editor’s Choice).”

 

Note: I quoted this whole thing verbatim from the foregoing source. Forthwith:

 

In 2021, the lines of code submitted to the Linux Git repository reached 27.8 million.

In 2021, 100 percent of the world’s top 500 supercomputers run on Linux.

Out of the Top 25 websites in the world, only two aren’t using Linux.

96.3 percent of the world’s top 1 million servers run on Linux.

90 percent of all cloud infrastructure operates on Linux and practically all the best cloud hosts use it.

 

Put in slightly different terms, if you’re going to work in and around the cloud, knowing your way around Linux is more than just a “good idea.” It’s probably a technical must, and could provide you with a useful set of skills and abilities for years and years to come.

 

Why, then, am I talking about Windows? Simple: Because most desktops run Windows, those with a sufficiently modern version (Windows 10 or better) can take advantage of an add-on called the Windows Subsystem for Linux (aka WSL) to obtain, install, and run a Linux environment on their very own PCs.

 

Say Hello to Microsoft Docs “Get Started” Materials

 

Microsoft Docs has become the go-to repository for Microsoft related documentation, manuals, references, and learning materials. The online learning item named “Get Started with the Windows Subsystem for Linux” takes around two hours to complete, and walks you through the basics involved in enabling WSL, installing a Linux distribution (remember, Azure supports all the major distros, including RHEL, CentOS, CoreOS, Debian, Oracle Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, and Ubuntu), digging into the command line, and more developer-oriented stuff.

 

Windows has a new pathway to easy Linux learning.

Source: Microsoft Docs — Get Started with the Windows Subsystem for Linux

 

Before you pooh-pooh the latter, please recall that scripting for automation (using something like Python, for example) is becoming de rigueur for IT professionals across the board, particularly for those who work in or with cloud-based service, software, platform and infrastructure providers. As an incurable geek, I also find it fascinating to run one OS on top of (or alongside) another one.

 

Beyond Getting Started

 

Once you get past the WSL setup and get a Linux distro installed, lots of potential certifications loom on the horizon. At the beginner level, I recommend CompTIA Linux+ and the various Linux Professional Institute Certifications (e.g. LPIC-1, LPIC-2 and so forth). Don’t forget The Linux Foundation, and its cert offerings, either.

 

After you get your feet wet, there are lots of other worlds to conquer, including wholesale, large-scale programs from the likes of Red Hat and Oracle. You should be able to grab and run with their distros and tools right inside WSL with a little research and an equal amount of elbow grease. It’s interesting, fun, and could add to your arsenal of professional skills and knowledge. Enjoy!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed TittelEd Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Business News Daily, and on Windows desktop OS topics for TechTarget and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at www.edtittel.com.