Introduction to Linux course now free, open to all

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Open education resources

Almost 25 years ago a young engineer started an operating system project "just for fun" to run on his own hardware. He opened it up to the world, and through a combination of good design and good luck, Linux was born. The Internet was the fundamental enabling technology of the large scale collaboration that produces Linux. The ability to cheaply and easily share files has created a system and community that has disrupted major industries, where Linux’ impact has been felt from super computing to mobile phones.

Higher education is facing a similarly disrupting force powered by the Internet—Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) make information available to anyone, anywhere, as long as they have a connection to the Internet.

At the Linux Foundation, our mission is to spread the use of Linux throughout the world while also doing core work to advance and protect the platform. Right now, our industry is facing a Linux talent shortage. We thought why not use the disruptive power of MOOCs to solve this problem? At the very least we can expose more people around the world to the potential that Linux brings.

So we’ve partnered with edX: the non-profit, online learning platform launched in 2012 by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to make our "Introduction to Linux" course free to anyone, anywhere in the world. This was previously a $2,400 course we offered through our Linux training program. Now anyone can access it.

The rise of the MOOC has been inspiring to watch, with more than 2 million people accessing just the edX courses (there are other MOOC providers) over the last 18 months. It is a very powerful thing to be able to give knowledge to people from diverse backgrounds in diverse regions around the globe. MOOCs offer us an important way to reach the masses with Linux learning material that can tap into an interest in technology that might have otherwise been left dormant. The result is very likely to mean more Linux professionals supporting the platform.

We’re pleased that the initial response to the "Introduction to Linux" course, which won’t be available until this summer, received more than 2,500 registrations in the first 24 hours and now has 38,000 registrations since it was announced last Thursday. If this is any indicator, Linux will be well supported for decades to come by an even more diverse community of talented contributors.


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Amanda McPherson is currently an advisor, consultant, writer and college lecturer. Most recently she was the Chief Marketing Officer of the Linux Foundation, a worldwide non-profit that advances and protects the Linux operating system and other open source software projects.


Since when has "in three mojths" meant "now?"

i like linux

Great article and an excellent initiative. More people learning Linux equates to a better workforce and understanding of technology.

This is a good start, and I hope the response they received will inspire them to generate and open up more courses for varying degrees of expertise in the future.

While this is certainly good news, let's not go overboard with enthusiasm quite yet. The sad fact is that most institutions are finding that something like 90% of all people who start a MOOC course drop out before completion. So we have a good news/bad news kind of situation. The good news is 38,000 people will be exposed to Linux in a way that they haven't before. However, the bad news is that the odds are very high that less than 3,800 of them will actually reach the point that they could take the exam for certification.

All in all, I would call it a strong hit for Linux and FLOSS in general. We just won't know whether it's a home run or a sacrifice bunt until after the course is over.

I was really excited about this, but after registering at the edX site, is a $250 minimum payment considered free?

There is a $250 charge if students elect to get an edX certification. It's totally elective, though, and not required.

I just registered at edX for this course. And must say that the elective part are very unclear. I got the impression that i could vote for having it free, but then i had to be "qualified" by someone. And the default option ask for $250 (minimum).
So i still don't know if i really get the course for free.
I think edX could have changed their information and options on this site to make it clear it is a for free Course that all that want to can participate in.
However i do think this is a great way to spread knowledge and community for Linux.

Great to see open education ect . I would like to see more of this in our public schools. Canned. Courses would give the teachers more time to teach and less time tracking test scores.

I have hope can follow this course and then i can apply it to work

We need more projects like this. Open education , open source seem to go hand and hand. This course is a great starting point. I am impressed at how many people have signed up; not to mention how many people simply have showned interterest in this area.

Its very good news for students learning linux :)

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Thanks for your post! The Linux Foundation has long offered a wide variety of training courses through its website, but those can generally cost upwards of $2,000. This introductory class, which usually costs $2,400, will be the first from the Linux Foundation to run as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). There is no limit on enrollment through edX's platform. More about linux online training at

Just a quick update: this course became most popular course on edX with over 700,000 participants.

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