Free Linux Training Notes

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 | linux

Free stuff!

When we started our IT consulting company, Applepie Solutions back in 2004 we looked at working in a number of different areas including Java development, C# development, software engineering consulting and Linux support. At the time, we thought there might be an opening for Linux training also, and we figured it was one way of marketing our services to prospective Linux customers. So we added Linux training to our reportoire of services and I set out to put together some training material. We started with an Introduction to Linux course after finding some interested customers around the Galway area. After looking at our options for training material, including possibly licensing some of the main Linux distributors training material, I decided to go ahead and create our own, little realising what a mammoth task preparing good training materials is. My goals in putting together the course (and subsequent ones) were,

  • Provide training material that addressed the three main distributions – Red Hat, SuSE and Debian. So I set out to describe the general concept of whatever area we were looking at in the training material and then discuss the specifics of that concept on each of the main distributions.
  • Cover what people need to know but give some context. There are things anyone using a Linux system should know. Then our customers pointed out some things they wanted to cover. Finally, I took a look at the content of exams from various organisations such as LPI and tried to address the key points from their perspective also (without, I should mention, covering things such as how to set up a modem on your Linux system – I know there are people out there that still need this, but they’re in a minority in our world anyway).
  • Give enough material in the notes that people had a useful reference afterwards also. Okay, in the early days I found this part quite useful for myself also – I mean, no matter what your Linux knowledge is, giving a 5 day training course without any prompts can be intensive – if you can have some guiding notes for your own reference it helps!

I think we mainly succeeded in these goals – most customers we delivered training to gave us excellent feedback – on both our delivery and the quality of our training material.

After some initial success with our Introduction to Linux (and because preparing one training course wasn’t enough of a struggle), I also prepared 2 subsequent courses, one on Linux System Administration and Support intended to help those comfortable with Linux move to the next level of system administration or providing support to Linux users, and a short one on Linux Performance Tuning which scratches the surface of performance tuning and optimisation (it was intended as a half day or day long course for people comfortable with Linux).

We’re currently looking at restructuring our business and while we’re not exactly sure what the future holds yet, we’re pretty sure it won’t include us delivering Linux training. We could have just let the training materials languish at the bottom of our subversion repository, but really, this stuff doesn’t age well and we’ve always committed to giving something back to the Linux/open source/free software (delete as applicable) community where we could. I think this is one small opportunity for us to contribute back and with that in mind, we decided to release our training materials under a Creative Commons license – specifically, the Attribution Noncommercial Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. See the link for details of what you can and can’t do. In a nutshell, you’re free to share and remix the content of the training material as long as you properly attribute it. You’re not allowed to use this material for commercial purposes without our permission – but drop me a line if you do want to use these for some commercial purpose, we should be able to come to some agreement.

So what’s the catch? Apart from the license above? Nothing much really.

  • Some of the materials haven’t been updated in about 2 years so they are showing their age in places. The performance tuning material has probably been most affected by this – but there are still plenty of useful concepts in there.
  • The material is not without its bugs. Given the timeframes we worked under to prepare this material, there was never enough time to fully proof-read or correct every error, and there are sections that I’d love to rewrite from scratch if I was doing it again. But hey, they’re free!
  • The material was all prepared using OpenOffice – for now we’re only making the material available in PDF format, but if someone is interested in other formats, again, let me know what you want them for and we’ll see what we can do.
  • The table of contents don’t include page numbers. Sorry. If someone can tell me how to generate a table of contents for OpenOffice impress that includes slide/page numbers, I’ll be happy to rectify this.

So, without further ado, where are the notes? They are available for download from In the words of the hugely successful Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Complaints division – Share and Enjoy.

Please, if you do find them useful – we’d like to hear about it, please let us know. Similarly, if you find any of the aforementioned bugs, let us know and I’ll see about fixing them, time permitting.

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3 Comments to Free Linux Training Notes

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Martin Mukasa
December 5, 2009

I have heard about linux operating system and i picked interest. Upon that background therefore, i would like to spend time and learn it more. I am based in kampala – Uganda