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We are organizing a Linux 101 Workshop for undergrad and grad students. Can you share some ideas/topics that are must for people who are just starting with Linux.

Preconditions: No knowledge of Linux OS, philosophy and technical aspects (kernel, shell, commands)
Post conditions: A basic crash course of Linux which will give them a good start and answer some basic questions asked on it.

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3 Answers

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What are the people taking this class going to be doing with Linux?

The requirements are different for people who are going to be doing things like programming on Linux from those who are going to be using Linux for document processing, email, and games. Also, is it going to be their own private machine (so they have to worry about backups) or a shared machine of some sort (so they won't)?

For non-programmers, mainly:

  • logging in
  • passwords
  • starting programs like browsers and office suites
  • basic file organization and permissions

For programmers, you'll also need to cover:

  • shell and basic shell programming
  • more advanced file system organization and permissions

You might want to cover installation of new software and updates.

For both, you might want to cover backup strategies.

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3 things that are mainly different from windows environments, I call them the 3 P's

  • Path
  • Permissions
  • Dependencies

Start with this, and everything else will fall together

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I would say hook everyone up with a USB flash drive with a linux install that they take home, so that they can keep learning. Some important things are the basic commands, ls, cd, mv, mkdir, chmod, ps, top, man. Also go over the idea of permissions, and probably some simple OS concepts like what a kernel is, what a process is, maybe also a handout showing the 'standard' directory tree with what each is used for. I think even more important would be to introduce them to using a terminal based text editor like vi, as it is such a powerful tool and such a standard thing to have in any install. The other key part would be really to get people into using man to learn more about different commands. If it's a short weekend workshop or something I guess the biggest part is giving them the tools and guidance to keep learning. Maybe a handout with helpful websites where they can learn more as well. The best thing you can do is give them a taste of linux and the tools to find out more I think.

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code.google.com/edu/tools101/index.html may be of some use –  spowers Mar 20 '10 at 11:52
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