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Excellent No-Charge Linux Books – Learn About Linux – For Beginners

Last Updated on August 22, 2023

Linux Books for Beginners

TuxDo you want to learn about Linux? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Not sure what Linux is? To a purist, Linux refers to an open source kernel – the program at the heart of the operating system. But it’s easiest to think of Linux as a family of free and open source software operating systems built around that kernel. More importantly, it’s a genuine contender to the Windows family of operating systems, surpassing it in many areas.

Linux differs in so many ways to Windows. You might be well versed with Windows. But if you’re keen to explore and experiment with Linux, it’s worth investing some time with a good book about the subject. There are a huge range of books to learn about Linux. With many thousands of e-book and in-print books available, the choice can be baffling. And many paperback and hardback books are expensive. Step forward no-charge e-books designed for the beginner. Naturally, there are many other ways of learning about Linux, such as reading official documentation from the developers of Linux distributions, or from projects such as the respected Linux Documentation Project.

Many no-charge e-books are, frankly, little more than spam bait, often published only to entice you to purchase a book from the same publisher. Poorly written, and with very little original content. Whereas the recommended texts below are definitely worth downloading. They’ll teach you the basics about Linux and so much more. They’re the ideal starting point for your Linux adventures. And you don’t have to divulge any personal information to get your hands on them.

You’re missing out on so much goodness if you don’t learn about the command line. OK, that’s an opinion (which as lawyers often remind me is therefore neither right nor wrong). But it’s an opinion I strongly hold. I recommend everyone embrace the command line use and shell scripting. So indulge me with the inclusion of a few dedicated texts that expound some of the possibilities of the command line.

Some of the books below are somewhat dated, if only by their date of publication. For example, Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference covers Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) and 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex), released way back in 2008. But that book is expertly written and the information is still extremely useful, relevant, and informative, with good coverage even for non-Debian based distributions.

Note: The title of this article deliberately refers to the following books as no-charge. They are free in the sense you can download them without charge. But some of them are not free in an open source context. For each book, we’ll spell out the license terms. Forewarned is forearmed. The defining characteristic of all the featured books is that they can be read without any payment, although I’m sure many of the authors would welcome a donation. Many users are attracted to Linux simply because it can be downloaded without charge, irrespective of the fact that the kernel (and a huge raft of software) is made available under an open source license.

No Charge Linux eBooksAuthor
Ultimate Linux Newbie GuideAlistair J. Ross
Ubuntu – An Absolute Beginner’s GuideCourtney Loo
Introduction to Linux - A Hands on GuideMachtelt Garrels
Ubuntu Pocket Guide and ReferenceKeir Thomas
The Easiest Linux Guide You’ll Ever ReadScott Morris
Learn Linux in 5 DaysJason Cannon / Linux Training Academy
The Linux Starter PackFuture Publishing
Test Driving Linux: From Windows to Linux in 60 SecondsDavid Brickner
Getting Started with Ubuntu 16.04The Ubuntu Manual Team
The Debian Administrator's HandbookRaphaël Hertzog, Roland Mas
LINUX: Rute User’s Tutorial and ExpositionPaul Sheer
Linux in a Windows WorldRoderick W. Smith
The Linux Command LineWilliam D. Shotts, Jnr
Put Yourself in CommandFree Software Foundation
Just Enough LinuxMalcolm Maclean

One (or more) of your favourite introductory general-purpose Linux books might not be listed above? This isn’t an exhaustive selection, but one that focuses on texts that are proven exceptionally useful. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Any good recommendations will naturally be added to the article. This article does not cover books that focus on a specific Linux software application.

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Dudu Jibladze
Dudu Jibladze
6 years ago

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5 years ago

Seems like this book is no longer free. This links to a oreilly page but not to where you can download this book. There are links to buy the book. But not to download it. Seems like is not free anymore.