Unit 6: Week 1: Configure and Use Linux OS

Unit 6: Week 1: Configure and Use Linux OS

Essential Questions

  • What do I know about the Windows OS that can help me operate and manage other OS, like Linux?

Big Ideas

The Linux OS provides a low cost option for desktops and servers with strong security features and ease of licensing. Even people unfamiliar with Linux may still quickly become adept at using it’s tools because of their experiences in other OS, especially using the command-line tools in Windows. Like Windows, different versions of Linux, called distributions or distros, often include GUI-based tools for managing disks, files, users, and applications, but in order to provide support, IT specialists should also be comfortable with common command-line options in Linux.

Connection to Student Lives

You know how sometimes when you’re introduced to something you think is totally new, at least to you, and then you find out you’ve been using something like it for a long time? That may be the case with Linux if you own or use an Android™ phone or if you have friends that have one. The Android OS is based on the Linux OS. That doesn’t mean that just because you know about Android phones that you’re all set to do everything an IT Support Specialist should know how to do in Linux, but it’s a start.

You can combine those experiences with what you know about the Windows OS, especially the command-line tools you should now be familiar with. While there are different operating systems and they each have their unique features, you will find enough similarities between what you already know and can do with Windows and the common operations you’ll learn in Linux, if you don’t know them already.

Framing Problem

How can I do the things I know how to do in other operating systems, like the Windows OS, in Linux?

Cornerstone Assessment

Students will configure disks and file systems, user accounts, and software applications in Linux using both GUI-based and command-line options.

DPI Standards

  • NCCTE.2020.II22.01.09 - Use features and tools of the Mac OS and Linux client or desktop operating systems.

A+ Standards

TOPIC 6A: Configure and Use Linux

NCCTE.2020.II22.01.09 - Use features and tools of the Mac OS and Linux client or desktop operating systems.


  • A Linux distribution is a complete Linux implementation
  • Some common Linux distributions
  • Popular GUI shells that can be sued with Linux
  • That while Linux can have a GUI with similar functionality and features to Windows or macOS, the GUI in Linux can be swapped out for a different one, unlike the other OS
  • Standard format for entering Linux commands
  • Commands, parameters, and file and directory names are all case sensitive in Linux
  • The Linux file system does not use drive letters but starts at the root, represented by /
  • How the ext file system is used to format partitions on mass storage drives
  • What a swap partition is and how it works
  • Command-line options for managing disks and file systems, such as fdisk, mkfs, mkswap, dd and others
  • Know the characteristics of different user accounts in Linux and how to manage them, including managing security settings
  • The three different rights for a Linux file system and how to set them using commands, including octal values
  • Package management tools for software must match the Linux distribution installed
  • Tools to run pre-compiled Linux applications to install or update packages
  • How to shut down or reboot a Linux PC with system commands


  • Open a terminal window to run shell commands in Linux
  • How to use the –help parameter and managing the help output with the | more parameter
  • Manage files disks and files using both a GUI and command-line options
  • Navigate the Linux file structure with command lines, such as ls, cp, mv, rm, and cd.
  • Use Linux file editors, such as vi or vim, switching between command mode and insert mode
  • Use commands to manage users in Linux
  • Set and adjust file system security using commands, including octal values
  • Use system commands ps and kill, ifconfig and iwconfig, and shutdown to appropriately reboot or shut down a PC running Linux.


Configure and Use Linux


  • Kernel
  • Distributions (distros)
  • Command-Line Interface (CLI) or Shell
  • Terminal Window



Options or switches


Pipe symbol

File System Hierarchy

  • Unified file system
  • Virtual file system

Mount point

Ext file system

Network File System (NFS)

Swap partition

Command options

  • Current working directory or home directory
  • Absolute path
  • Relative path
  • Parent directory
  • Literal and regular expressions (regex)

Command mode

Insert mode

Root users or Superuser

Primary Group

Effective Group ID


Weekly Map


ntroduction to topic: Common Maintenance Tasks and Tools

Review content resources and weekly structure with whole group

Online Pre-assessment  (available for student practice, as well)


Hands-on exploration (independently, in paris, or by stations); Document success

Small group and independent exploration of resources


Hands-on exploration (independently, in paris, or by stations); Document success

Small group and independent exploration of resources


Hands-on exploration (independently, in paris, or by stations); Document success

Small group and independent exploration of resources


Hands-on exploration (independently, in paris, or by stations); Document success

Team progress check with supervisor or sharing of progress with whole group

Online post-assessment

Lesson Ideas

Learning about and configuring components of the Linux OS, as with the macOS in the following week, may best be occurred through hands-on practice. The Official CompTIA A+ Core 1 & Core 2 Student Guide includes an activity that utilizes Virtual Machines. If accessible, this reduces the burden for needing additional devices that can support Linux.

Students should be able to manage disks, files and folders, configure users with different roles and permissions, and install and use software in a Linux environment. A task list or checklist may be helpful for guiding students through all of the relevant tasks. Consider setting up stations or having students work in pairs to complete tasks and document their work.

The order in which students explore this week’s outcomes related to Linux and next week’s exploration of macOS is not important. Depending on student familiarity with one or both OS, students may spend more time exploring and practicing with one OS than the other. If stations are used, students could reasonably work through them at their own pace over a span of two weeks.

Potential Resources

The Official CompTIA A+ Core 1 & Core 2 Instructor Guide for Exams 220-1001 and 220-1002

  • Topic 6A: Configure and Use Linux (pp. 328-340)
    • Activity 6-1: Discussing Linux Configuration and Use (pp. 341-342)
    • Activity 6-2: Configuring and Using Linux (pp. 343-350)


Professor Messer at and YouTube offers numerous free videos of various lengths for many of the topics for the CompTIA 220-1001 A+ Exam. They are easy to understand, narrated videos with visuals. If you are teaching a CompTIA course, the site notes “You’re welcome to use them as much as you’d like, provided you embed the videos with the associated YouTube link or link directly to my site. Please click the “Contact Us” link at the top of our web page and let me know how you’re using them.”

Entry Level I.T. Training from Technology Gee

  • macOS & Linux Features and Tools (Article | Video – 15:16)

Other Articles and Resources:

A Beginners Guide to Linux by Gary Newell from Lifewire

How to Get Help with a Command from the Linux Terminal: 8 Tricks for Beginners & Pros Alike by Chris Hoffman for How-to Geek

How to manage users and groups in Linux by Damon Garn for Red Hat

The Linux command line for beginners is a short sequence of tutorials from Canonical Ltd., makers of ubuntu

Managing File Permissions is a chapter from an extensive training course for Red Hat Enterprise Linux