Hello and welcome to the the Complete Intro to Linux and the CLI!

Cute drawing of gentoo penguin

This is an introduction on how to use the command line and in the process you will be learning Linux too. As an engineer, I use the command line not only daily but hourly. It's a constant companion in terms of getting my work done and I wouldn't be nearly as effective as I am able to without a decent knowledge of how to use it. I decided to create this workshop to empower new users of the command line to be able become instantly effective. While I maintain everything in this workshop is entry-level beginner friendly and useful knowledge, you will find even many senior engineers don't know how to do many of these things. The command line is an ocean of possibilities and often it's difficult to know what you don't know about it (so you can know to learn it.)

Art and Design

The art on this course is adorable, isn't it? It's done by the very talented Alice Brereton who I very much suggest you commission some art from, or at least give her a follow on the socials. She did all the art you see on the front page as well as the lovely gentoo penguin above.

As you may know, the official mascot of Linux is a penguin. We decided to give this course a gentoo penguin. Gentoo penguins love to collect stones, hence all the little rock art around. There is also a distro of Linux called Gentoo that we won't be focused on today too 😄

Who Are You

This course is anyone who has ever wanted to learn the command line for any reason. You can be learning your very first programming language or you could be an industry veteran of decades; I beleive the knowledge in this course will help anyone. Honestly, it was years in the field before I actually took the time to investigate how to use the command line better. I imagine many of you are in the same boat.

A tiny bit of programming experience is helpful. If this is the first code you will ever have written there are some sections that could be challenging. But even then there's still a lot here for you.

This course will also impart a decent amount of knowledge of Linux and specifically Ubuntu. Much of what is taught here is portable to other shells and operating systems, and certainly all of the principles are. However you will find many minor and major differences. That said, rest assured most of my knowledge was earned in zsh on macOS and it transferred neatly to Linux and bash. Much of this transfers to PowerShell and Windows too.

What You Can Expect

If you go through this class, you can reasonably expect to end up in a place being comfortable with the command line. That was my goal in writing this class:

  • Those who aren't comfortable with Linux and/or the command line would end up comfortable with the command line and Linux
  • Those who are comfortable will learn a bunch of tips and tricks as well as learn additional depth on things they already knew


Find a typo or error? This course is open source! File an issue or open a pull request.


We're trying a new thing on this course! We're sticking an errata at the end so if we find anything that's amiss or wrong with the course, we'll leave a note in the errata. See here.

Who Am I

Brian speaking at a conference

My name is Brian Holt and I, as of writing, work at Microsoft as a senior program manager. I specifically manage developer experience for JavaScript developers on Azure and work on Visual Studio Code. I've also done developer relations for Microsoft and been a JavaScript engineer at LinkedIn, Netflix, Reddit, and some other smaller startups. Suffice to say, I think a lot about code, developer tools, and making devs happy.

When not working, you can find me being terrible at Overwatch, travelling the world, sampling the finest peatiest whiskies and hoppiest beers, sweating on a Peloton, or just hanging out with my wonderful wife and sassy dog. Currently I live in Seattle, Washington in the United States but I've lived in Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Milan, Torino, and a few other places too.

While I have your attention too, I'd like to call out my three favorite charities: AnnieCannons, The Last Mile, and VetsWhoCode.

Special Thanks to Frontend Masters

Frontend Masters

The people at Frontend Masters really are my family. Thanks to Marc and his whole wonderful company to their kindness and diligent work. The reason this course exists is because of the hard work they do. And because of them I get to open source this course. The course materials here are licensed such that you can share them whomever you please, whether or not they're a Frontend Masters subscriber. The videos do require you to pay but I think that's worth the trade.

I hope you all enjoy the course! This was an act of love from me and the Frontend Masters team.

-- Brian


Please catch up with me on social media! Do note I'm not the best at responding to private messages.

And if I could trouble you to give this course a star, it would mean the world to me ⭐️