How to Learn Linux as a Developer
If you’re a developer and don’t know any Linux skills, it will be totally worth learning them if you can. You will be surprised to know that in 2020, 55.9% of all professional developers used Linux.
Linux is a free and open-source software operating system that runs on several desktop and server platforms. It was originally created by Linus Torvalds in 1991, but it has grown to become a major competitor to Microsoft Windows and Apple’s OS X operating systems.
From personal computers to supercomputers, from embedded devices to cloud servers, and even the space shuttle, Linux powers them all. Basically, it’s everywhere — game consoles, mobile phones, televisions, routers, and whatnot.
Linux has completely dominated the supercomputer field since 2017, with 100% of the top 500 most powerful supercomputers in the world running a Linux distribution.Wikipedia
You might be asking, what are the benefits of learning Linux? Why should you learn Linux as a developer?
Well, here are some benefits:
- Open-source, free, and secure
- Better performance, even on computers with low specs
- Lost of options to choose from hundreds of Linux distros
- Highly stable and reliable to use
- Ideal for programmers, lots of amazing tools available
- Great community support
- Can be customized as per your preference
How to learn Linux as a developer?
As a developer, learning Linux can be very important for your career. It will open the doors to many opportunities and get you ready for some of the most in-demand jobs in IT.
Trying to learn Linux as a developer can be overwhelming, however. There are tons of resources out there, but it can be hard to know where to begin, but here’s a roadmap to help you out.
1. Install Linux on your computer
The best way to learn Linux is to install it on your computer. For installing, you can have several options:
- By wiping out the old OS and installing Linux on your computer
- By installing Linux as a dual-boot by also keeping the old OS
- By installing Linux through a virtualization solution on your computer
But we recommend, the first option, wiping out the old OS and then installing a fresh Linux distribution so that you get the most out of it.
If you’re not yet sure about installing, you can also use Linux on your computer through a Live USB without installing anything on your system.
If you have a Windows (Windows 10 or later) computer then you can use Linux by enabling the WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux). It’s easy to set up and quick to get started. Here are some more ways to get started with Linux.
After you get it working, explore the operating system a bit, play with it. Linux is not very different from Windows or macOS that you have used previously.
2. Learn the basic Linux commands
The Linux terminal commands are a bit difficult at first, but once you learn the basic ones, you will find them very easy to use. Almost all Linux distributions come with a terminal and if you can master these basic commands, then you can perform most of the basic tasks on your computer with ease.
Other than installing programs from the repositories, you can also install and update software from the source, plus a lot more things.
Some things that you can try doing using the terminal commands are:
- Update and upgrade the list of packages from all repositories
- Change user permissions from the command line
- Understand the use of
- Learn to list and mount devices to your machine
- Understand the use of different file compression tools like gzip and zip, etc.
Since the command line is a very powerful tool, it’s possible to do more harm than good. First, verify what the command does and then only run it.
3. Try installing apps
Now, since you know all the basics to operate a Linux machine, it’s time to start installing some apps that you will need for your development works. Some of the tools may include:
- a code editor (like VS Code) or an IDE (like Java IDE)
- a preferred web browser (like Chrome or Brave)
- a video player, etc.
Most of the required tools are available directly on the software store, but even they are not there, you can download the
.AppImage or any other suitable executable file format and install it right away.
If you’re stuck somewhere, just try to find the answers as a developer and you will easily find solutions to almost any problem.
4. Know about the various Linux distros
Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution, but that doesn’t mean you should install that only. There are hundreds of Linux distributions that you can get your hands on.
For testing, you don’t have to install the distros on your computer, you can use virtualization tools (like Virtual Box) or use via a Live USB.
Some of the well-known Linux distros that you should definitely try are:
- Ubuntu Linux (Debian-based)
- Manjaro Linux (Arch-based)
- Kali Linux (Debian-based)
- Linux Mint (Debian-based), etc.
5. Start engaging in the community
Another best thing about Linux is, it has a huge community that’s growing fast by each coming day. By being involved in these communities, you can learn from more experienced developers, get help when you need it, and contribute where you can.
Linux.org is the official site of the Linux Project, and it has links to forums where you can get help or share your experience with other users.
If you’re a developer, increasing your skills by learning Linux is a good idea. Linux is used everywhere—and because of that, there will be plenty of opportunities for developers to gain more experience.
It will give you new options and new opportunities, whether from a job standpoint or simply because you’ll never quite understand why certain things work the way they do if you don’t know Linux. It helps you think like a programmer.
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