Linux Literacy Session 1: Working With Linux


version 1.2

Course Structure

  • Sessions 1, 2, 3: Getting familiar with Linux
  • Sessions 4, 6, 7: Learning how to explore and solve problems
  • Sessions 8, 9: The free software community and culture
  • Session 5: Up to you!
  • Sessions 10, 11: You teach us a topic you have explored (alone or in groups)

Ongoing Homework

  • Find one or more user group meetings that interest you, and attend them. (See for some listings)
  • Log your Linux experiences: what’s neat? what’s frustrating? what steps do you take to solve problems? what’s interesting?
  • Find topics you want to explore for Session 5
  • Find an exploration project for the end of the course
  • Use your Linux system to accomplish everyday tasks for a couple of hours a week
  • Ask questions and get help on the kwlug-help mailing list (we will subscribe you to this list)


  • We are in the learning process together
  • There are no credentials: you get out what you put in
  • Speak up and give others opportunities to speak
  • The course is cumulative, especially during the first few weeks

Terminology and Buzzwords

Here are some terminology we will use in the course. Define them in terms you understand (ie could explain to somebody else):

  • Software:
  • Operating System:
  • Linux:
  • Linux Distribution:
  • Live CD:

Complete the following:

  • The Linux Distribution we are using in this course is:
  • The version of this distribution is:
  • The codename of this distribution is:

Installing Linux

You have several different options for getting Linux working on your home computer. Here are three common options. There are more (e.g. virtualization) that you can explore if you wish.

In order to get a LiveCD or LiveUSB to boot you may need to change some computer settings in your computer’s BIOS.

Dual-Boot With Windows

The easiest way to do this is with the wubi.exe installer, which is on the LiveCD. To run this, go to “My Computer” and explore the CD drive.


  • Fairly straightforward to install
  • Easy to uninstall later (Wubi shows up as an installed program in Windows)
  • Runs on computers with 512 MiB RAM


  • You need a backup of your important data on Windows before playing around with dual-booting
  • If you have a desktop, it is less easy to transport your Linux installation elsewhere

Run from LiveCD

This means booting into the LiveCD environment and working from there.


  • Does not touch your hard drive
  • Can be run from many computers
  • Works on most computers if you can boot from CD (which is common)


  • Slower than other options
  • Won’t work unless you can boot from CD
  • Saving the state of your work (“persistence”) requires a USB key and can be tough to set up
  • Requires a fair amount of RAM (1GiB or more)

Run from USB key

This is similar to the LiveCD option, but it runs off a USB key exclusively.


  • Does not require a CD-ROM or access to your hard drive
  • In principle can be reasonably fast
  • Getting persistence to work is easier
  • Highly portable (you can use Linux from any machine that will let you boot from USB key)


  • Requires booting from USB key (which is rarer than CD-ROM)
  • In practice seems to be flakier than running from CD-ROM
  • The quality of your USB key matters a lot
  • You have to dedicate a USB key for this

Install standalone

This means installing Linux on its own hard drive or hard drive partition. To do this, boot into the LiveCD and run the “Install Ubuntu” program on the desktop.


  • Good if you have an extra computer that you can dedicate to Linux
  • Runs on computers with smaller hard drives and 512MiB RAM


  • Requires either a standalone computer, an extra hard drive on your computer, or partitioning your computer’s hard drive (which the installer will assist you with)


  1. Get our Linux distribution running on your computer well enough so that you can log into it and start the web browser. (If you are having problems with this BE SURE to seek help before the next class.)
  2. List three personal interests you have.
  3. List one way in which you might use your computer to do useful work.
  4. List two ways in which you might use a computer to further some personal interest of yours (whether it is listed above or not).
  5. Find the names of three operating systems other than Linux, Windows, and Mac OS.
  6. Explore one program that is preinstalled on your Linux system. What does it do? What were your experiences in working with it?

Creative Commons Licence
This work by KW Freeskool is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


2 responses

  1. Signed up for the class -Date time and location are a mystery to me. Can anyone help with providing guidance.