Free Guides for Getting Up to Speed with Linux
If you're new to Linux, or perhaps thinking of switching to it from another platform, it's worth your time to look into some of the many free tutorial resources available online. There are good tutotials for digging into particular Linux distributions, and guides that focus specifically on migrating from other platforms such as Windows. In this post, you'll find our newly updated collection of many good Linux reference guides online--all available at no cost.
Total Linux beginners can easily dive into The Linux Starter Pack. It's a guide that caters to newbies and provides numerous useful resources.
We've covered Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference before here, and you can download it for free here. The online book is mostly identical to the fee-based print version, and the author, Keir Thomas, has written a number of books on Linux. There are seven chapters in the reference guide, with many screenshots, and information on how to move from installation to advanced steps such as securing your Ubuntu system. In the appendix, you'll find a lot of reference information and documentation for what is easily one of the most popular Linux distributions.
Linuxtopia has a huge number of online manuals available for particular Linux distros, as we covered here. There are reference guides on OpenSuse, Fedora, and many more titles. There are also reference guides available for many non-Linux open source applications.
Test Driving Linux: From Windows to Linux in 60 Seconds is a free online book that can get you started with both Linux and several open source programs. Beginners will find it approachable, and it covers everything from basic Linux commands to user interface conventions that differ between Linux and Windows.
What if you want to put Linux and Linux applications on your USB thumb drive? Here, you'll find instructions and a huge collection of useful tools for making it work.
Among educational Linux sites, my favorite remains Unix-Tutorials.com. Check out the long list of Linux topics you can dig into down the left rail of the home page, with content aggregated from around the web. These include nearly every popular Linux distro, in addition to other Unix-based titles such as Solaris.
Many Linux beginners are in need of instructional material on how to work with the command line. Commands let you do many powerful things, and they can help you execute tasks faster than the same tasks take on other platforms. FLOSS Manuals offers a very complete guide--completely free--on how to work with the command line. You can get going with it here.
Finally, beginning and intermediate Linux users should the introductory material available at Open CourseWare for Linux from College@Home. The site offers free online courses on many Linux-related topics. You can take concise courses on using Ubuntu, GnuCash (finance software for Linux), FreeMind (mind mapping software), Gentoo Linux, GIMP, and more.