How does one teach Linux?

How does one teach Linux?

Post by Hiawatha B » Mon, 13 Dec 2004 12:26:02

I'm an amateur Linux user and I've been asked to teach others how to use the
OS. How does one do that? Has anybody here ever taught Linux? Are there
books that might help? Anybody?


How does one teach Linux?

Post by Bit Twiste » Mon, 13 Dec 2004 12:35:24

Which OS. there are over 195+ linuxes.

You sit down and write a lesson plan.
You teach the basics and decide how far to go.

How to use locate, read man pages, use, ~psheer/book/rute.html.gz


How does one teach Linux?

Post by Michael He » Mon, 13 Dec 2004 17:40:39

In comp.os.linux.misc Bit Twister < XXXX@XXXXX.COM >:

Yep, in addition the teachers plausibility should raise once he
gets beyond using a completely broken newsreader.;)

The "Rute User's Tutorial and Exposition" should be a distro
independent guide: ~psheer/book/

Ops, taking a closer look you posted the URL already.;)

Michael Heiming (X-PGP-Sig > GPG-Key ID: EDD27B94)
mail: echo XXXX@XXXXX.COM | perl -pe 'y/a-z/n-za-m/'
#bofh excuse 144: Too few computrons available.

How does one teach Linux?

Post by Bit Twiste » Mon, 13 Dec 2004 20:29:05

Well Hiawatha did mention s/he is an amateur Linux user. :)
Hopefully Hiawatha was posting from work. :-D
But, with a verizon ISP, I guessing not. :(

Lots of topics to pick from in the above book, that's for sure.

Hopefully Hiawatha will spend a half hour on ~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
and using

Some simple script info and a link like

Maybe provide something to get them running quicker on some apps.

Then again Hiawatha did not say what kind of class, management, sys op,
application programmer, user, ...

How does one teach Linux?

Post by mjt » Tue, 14 Dec 2004 12:07:47

... first, you get BEYOND amateur status.
-- <<< ;>>
Screw up your courage! You've screwed up everything else.

How does one teach Linux?

Post by ray » Tue, 14 Dec 2004 14:13:49

That depends a bit on what resources you will have available and on your
intended audience. I'd second the idea that you really need to learn more
about the subject. Install and use it regularly; test a bunch of different
distributions - find their strengths and weaknesses. I would refer you to,
particularly,, and (there
is a pretty good linux faq at tldp).

I have taught a few people to use linux. If you are trying to get them to
adopt linux vice MS, a good tactic seems to get them using mozilla (or
netscape) and OpenOffice on their MS systems first. When they are
comfortable with those products, it will be less of a shock for them to
start running linux in a dual boot scenario. Also be aware that there are
a few things for which linux lacks a suitable replacement - there can be
compelling reasons why Quicken is required (if your accountant expects
quicken files - I've yet to find a linux program which will export Quicken
files). I've not yet found a way for my wife to make greeting cards under
linux. And there are a few others. I advise against running MS programs on
linux using wine or crossover office, etc. If you have to use the MS
programs, run them under MS - just disconnect from the network first. It's
also cool to give out copies of some linux 'live CD' distros, like
Knoppix. You'll also find that you can order Ubuntu installation disks for

How does one teach Linux?

Post by General Sc » Sun, 19 Dec 2004 05:09:23

Hiawatha Bray is the technology columnist for the Boston Globe. He is one
of the few general interest newspaper (as opposed to tech industry
publications) writers who covers Linux topics. His articles are
interesting, well written and certainly head and shoulders above the level
that you find in most American newspapers. There are only four newspapers
in the US who attempt to do a decent job of explaining tech topics to lay
readers, The Boston Globe, The San Jose Mercury News, The NY Times and the
The Wall Street Journal. If you look in any other newspaper (The Chicago
Tribune is a particularly egregious example) you'll see some mindless Q &
A column which never deals with anything more sophisicated then how to
change the sound settings in WinXP.

Hiawatha has come to these groups on a number of occasions with questions
which is an important indicator that he is pretty well clued in for a
non-techie. We all take Usenet for granted but in the wider world Usenet
is virtually unknown. It's one of the few pieces of the Internet that date
back to it's earliest days so it's never mentioned in the general press
which is more concerned with recent things like Blogs.

What I'm saying is please be nice to Hiawatha and answer his questions as
best you can. When I pick up the Globe tommorow I'd rather read how
helpful the Linux community was instead of reading how they flamed him for
asking a perfectly reasonable question.

How does one teach Linux?

Post by Morten Juh » Sun, 19 Dec 2004 07:05:36

Den Sun, 12 Dec 2004 11:29:05 +0000. skrev Bit Twister:

That, IMO, would be the first question. If one is at an office or at a
club or something, and one only has to educate users, it is basically a
question of installing the thing and just sticking around until the users
forget to look scared. I had a teacher once teaching MS-Access who was so
fond of little Windows tricks that it made the whole thing seem complex.
As for teaching system administration, no beginner (that would be the
Oops! category) should teach this, except if it was one-box root jobs. And
even then...
Teaching people to use Linux is basically the task of teaching them to try
to figure out problems for themselves. I had mount issues with my USB
Flash pen, which I solved with a bit of help from older discussions at Imagine a Windows user discovering that the thing
didn't register correctly. What to do? Here, one does not just have
administrator rights; but root privileges. It is not called privileges
without reason.

How does one teach Linux?

Post by Bit Twiste » Sun, 19 Dec 2004 13:08:07

< nice Hiawatha background snipped>

Hmmm, "perfectly reasonable question"??
It was too broad of a question for us to give a good answer.

Spending time telling him about administration text or programming
would be a waste if his goal was to get the mom/pop up and running.

He did get some good reference material references and never did
come back to provide any indication the training goal.

How does one teach Linux?

Post by Michael He » Sun, 19 Dec 2004 17:28:13

In comp.os.linux.misc Bit Twister < XXXX@XXXXX.COM >:

Ack, after rereading the answers, they were not that bad looking
at the pretty general question he provided in his OP and he
didn't came back to specify his goals more closer, which would
perhaps allow for more helpful answers.

Don't really see that he got flamed, sure someone asking in this
ng shouldn't be highly sensitive.;)

Perhaps you could come back with a short summary from the
newspaper in question, to give us a feeling what he made out of
our answers? Would be interesting.

Michael Heiming (X-PGP-Sig > GPG-Key ID: EDD27B94)
mail: echo XXXX@XXXXX.COM | perl -pe 'y/a-z/n-za-m/'
#bofh excuse 59: failed trials, system needs redesigned

How does one teach Linux?

Post by E. Charter » Sat, 05 Feb 2005 12:09:50

yes, there were some guys from Toronto who went all over the world in
the nineties developing standards of teaching linux, as well as
producing texts and holding classes. They produced or used a text called
General Linux One (LeBlanc) which is pretty reasonable. Linux
Professional Institute - Coriolis Press.
It was sponsored by a group called CLUE but I don't know if they are
that active anymore in teaching. They still exist.