There are many ways out there to learn and practice Linux. You can setup a VM using VirtualBox and install Linux on it and practice. If you don't like the self-learning method, you could join any Linux courses and learn from the experts. However, the best way to learn Linux is by using it for your everyday work. Reading Linux books, websites, blogs, and watching Linux tutorial videos are not just enough. You need to practice Linux everyday! I already have written how to test your BASH skills and also I have described how to run Linux on web browser here and here. Using these methods, you can test Linux commands without having to install any additional software. All you need is an Internet-connected system with a modern web browser.
Today, I stumbled upon yet another web-based tool to learn and practice Linux. Say hello to Webminal, a free online learning platform that allows you to learn about Linux, practice, play with Linux and interact with other Linux users. Just open your web browser, create a free account and start practicing! It's that simple. You don't have to install any additional applications. Using Webminal, we can practice and learn Linux/Unix commands, write BASH scripts, perform basic MySQL operations such as creating tables, learn Python basics, execute tasks with root privileges and such. It also has a feature called "Webminal Play" to watch the screencasts instead of reading docs.
What can I do with Webminal?
As of writing this, Webminal has following features:
- The user can improve their Linux skills by practicing various Linux/Unix commands including file system navigation, file management, scripting in bash/awk/sed and MySQL etc.
- Each user will get 4MB disk space. Yeah, it is just MB not GB. Let us hope that the developers will increase the size in the days to come.
- Each user can create files upto 1000. The maximum size of the files that the user can create is 1KB.
- The users can create their own group and share files between the group members.
- The users can be able to share file with fellow community member and ask them to verify or debug the issue with your script/program. I find it useful for collaborating simple group projects.
- Maximum allowed number of files a process can open is 15.
- The user can run upto 10 processes at time. This restriction is made to avoid and prevent fork bomb by malicious user/program.
- The users can't login more than once unless they are logout from their previous session.
- Each user can create upto 4 tables in MySQL.
- Each user can have only one MySQL connection and the database size is limited to less than 200KB.
- The users are allowed to execute 200 queries and 100 update queries per hour.
- Users are not allowed to view or sniff around other users' database.
As you can see, the features are limited. But, I guess it is just enough for learning and testing purpose.
And more importantly, if you violate any one of the above rules, you might be banned. So, be gentle!
Learn and practice Linux commands online for FREE Using Webminal
To use Webminal, you need to create a free account. Don't worry. It will take just 2 minutes. Go to the registration link and enter the required details and click Register button. A confirmation mail will be sent to your registered account. Click on the activation link in your mail to complete the registration.
Wait for 2 minutes before logging in to your account. And then, login to access the online Terminal where you can run Linux commands. Once you logged in, you will see a few options on the top bar. These options allows you to,
- View the login details,
- Open online Terminal to practice Linux commands,
- Play the screenscasts,
- Access Webminal forum to join with other members,
- Open online IDE editor to practice your code.
To open your online Terminal, click on "Terminal" button on the top bar. Enter your username and password which you created in the earlier step.
This is how Webminal online Terminal looks in action:
As soon as I logged in, I checked the Linux version and it is CentOS 7.3 core edition.
Webminal provides a set of sample lessons to practice if you don't know where to start. Just click on the "Available Lessons" drop-down box and choose any lesson to practice. You will see the list of commands to practice with explanation on the right pane. This is very helpful feature if you're completely newbie and nothing know about Linux.
The developers have also included some screencasts, so you can watch them and practice instead of reading the docs.
To go back to the home page, just click on the Home button on the top bar.
According to the website developers, the Webminal service has been used by more than 100000 users across the globe. They also claim that more than 6.57 Million commands were practiced till date. So, why don't you make use of such free platform?
Learning Linux isn't a rocket science. Anyone can learn Linux in couple months by using the freely available tools listed in this guide. Go and start improving your Linux skills!