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Linux essentials

Linux is a pervasive computer operating system, used on over 490 of the top 500 supercomputers, web servers, internet servers, routers, smartphones and desktop operating systems and this is not the limit of its uses. From network engineers to software developers, there is a need for Linux technical skills and understanding. In this course you will learn about the fundamentals of Linux and discover the principles of managing this operating system. The course uses an inbuilt virtualised Linux host and gives you many opportunities to practice on a real system from the comfort of your web browser.

Standalone study only

This module is available for standalone study only. Any credits from this module cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.


Module code
Study level
To enable you to make international comparisons, the information provided shows how OU levels correspond to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ).
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

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Very nice introduction to Linux. This should be part of the curriculum. I enjoyed it....
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What you will study

You will complete a short course that potentially leads to the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) Linux Essentials certification. Based on the LPI Linux Essentials objectives, during this course you will:

  • explore the evolution of Linux and popular operating systems supported by Linux (e.g. Android, Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, openSUSE, Red Hat, Mint, Scientific Linux)
  • be aware of the differences between Linux and other operating systems
  • be aware of the operating system distribution life cycle
  • be aware of storage and hardware requirements in the context of a Linux operating system
  • use and develop of Linux desktop applications, server applications, development languages and package management as well as current industry usage.
  • explore free and open source licensing
  • develop Linux desktop and command line skills
  • explore command line basics, including shell commands, command line syntax, variable, globbing and quoting
  • use help resources and what context they are utilised
  • use Linux directories and listing files – exploring hidden files and the Linux file system
  • archive files, folders and understand the compression tools in use
  • use pipes, redirection and regular expressions to search for data
  • create basic scripts to manage Linux operations
  • explore the networking requirements of a Linux ‘host’
  • explore the basic security and file permissions requirements of a Linux ‘host’
  • manage users, groups and associated file, folder and application execution permissions.

As part of the course, you will be provided with 24/7 access to a cloud based Linux Virtual machine (based on a Ubuntu distribution), enabling you to practice Linux commands from within the online content. A reliable internet connection is an essential requirement.

It is part of the globally recognised Cisco Networking academy programme and is designed and developed by NDG. The Open University having a track record of offering distance based Linux education having offered Linux as a component of our undergraduate programme since 2010. The content is entirely online and can be completed from any desktop operating system and most common web browsers.

The course features the distinctive strengths of The Open University (OU) from its years of expertise in work-based learning:

  • the convenience of accessing its clearly presented and sequenced materials, activities and support whenever suits you and wherever you have access to the dedicated website
  • the support of an expert moderator who can clarify study materials, answer questions and help you relate the course to your specific needs
  • certification based activity helping you to connect the course to international industry expectations
  • certification of completion from the Cisco Network academy for those who complete the course You can use this to demonstrate your continuing professional development (CPD) activity to your employer and/or professional body. (NB: The course does not carry academic credit points.)
  • The opportunity to complete external certification from LPI – based on the current Linux Essentials accreditation.

You will learn

After completing this course you should be able to:

  • understand the nature of FOSS, the various communities, and licenses within the Linux domain.
  • demonstrate a knowledge of open source applications in the workplace as they relate to closed source equivalents.
  • describe basic concepts of hardware, processes, programs and the components of the Linux Operating System.
  • implement the Linux command line and manage different files.
  • create and restore compressed backups and archives.
  • apply Linux based system security, users/groups and file permissions for public and private directories.
  • create and run simple scripts.

Vocational relevance

Successful completion of the course enables us to recognise your achievement of the course learning by issuing a Cisco Networking Academy – Linux Essentials certificate that you can use to document your commitment to continuing professional development in your personal portfolio, or to provide evidence to employers or professional body.

Professional recognition

Based on a set pass grade of 70% for the final assessment, a certificate of completion is available. A discount for the LPI Linux Essentials commercial certification examination is available for all students who complete this course. You will be able to book the examination at any Pearson Vue testing centre – this is not provided by The Open University.

Learner support

The course is taught entirely online and you will not have an individual tutor. You will have access to online forums that you are strongly encouraged to participate in, as they are an excellent source of support and information. These forums combine self-help from fellow students with input from expert moderators.

Outside the UK

This is a technical course that has a global perspective.

Course length

This course will require around 70 hours to complete.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations, which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Course work includes:

    No examination
    No residential school

    Entry requirements

    This course is suitable if you already have some technical experience with computing technology. This will be varied and could include experience from any of the following:

    • Computer hardware
    • programming,
    • Microsoft Operating Systems
    • Networking
    • Web development
    • Database systems 

    This course is aimed at a Linux novice, it isn’t aimed at someone with no prior experience of computing. This course is not suitable for someone who is a beginner in computing or has only gained experience by using specific computer applications.

    Course length

    This course will require around 70 hours to complete.


    Start End England fee Register
    02 Oct 2021 Dec 2021 £99.00

    Registration closes 03/09/21 (places subject to availability)

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2022.

    Ways to pay

    Credit/Debit Card – We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron.

    Sponsorship – If this course is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could ask your employer to sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. Your sponsor just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.

    The fee information provided here is valid for short courses starting in the 2021/22 academic year. Fees for short courses starting in the 2022/23 academic year or later may increase in line with the University’s strategic approach to fees.

    What's included

    All learning materials, exercises, study support and work-based activity are delivered entirely online.

    Computing requirements

    You'll need a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of 64-bit Windows 10 (note that Windows 7 is no longer supported) or macOS and broadband internet access.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile App will operate on all current, supported, versions of Android and iOS. It's not available on Kindle.

    It's also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook, however, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you'll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    If you have a disability

    The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs. If you are a new learner with the OU, make sure that you look at our website.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.