Ah, Linux - the elusive, penguin-powered operating system that seems to lurk in the shadows, chuckling at the mere mortals who struggle to grasp its enigmatic ways. Fear not, brave tech adventurers! Today, we're diving headfirst into the whimsical world of Linux, leaving no command unturned.
Any serious person knows that Linux is the superior operating system. It’s not MacOS or Windows, it’s Linux. Why do I say that with such confidence? Well, all of the world’s supercomputers run on Linux. 85% of all smartphones and 23/25 of the top websites in the world (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc,.) are powered by Linux. So with that being said, it’s probably time that we start learning how to use this powerful system before it starts using us.
Learn Linux by playing games
Knowing how to work with Linux is an incredibly valuable skill set for software developers. You might not work with Linux now, but you probably will at some point in your long career as a dev... The great thing about Linux is that it’s been around for over twenty years which means there are countless high-quality resources that can teach you the system for free.
If you prefer question-and-answer-based learning, then Linux Journey is by far the best place to start—it comes highly recommended by the cybersecurity community. For me, I like to get hands-on immediately—since that’s the only way I retain information in my brain. If that sounds like you, I’m about to recommend a bunch of great Linux games that will immediately put your skills to work. And the best part is they are all free. Here are my top picks in no particular order.
OverTheWire looks like a super basic website but don’t let its looks fool you. The learning on this website is very real. There are 12 games hosted on OverTheWire— I recommend you start with Bandit which is for absolute beginners, it’ll teach you the basics so that you can go on to play other “wargames.” The challenges use techniques such as cryptography and network analysis — not everything will be super applicable if you focused on development. So maybe skip through and pick out the parts that are relevant. The site also provides a community forum for users to discuss and exchange tips so if you get stuck with a challenge, chances are you’ll find your answer there.
Next up we have Linux Survival. Similar to Bandit, it’s a really simple step-by-step game which is great if you are a beginner. You basically read a bit of text and type in the correct prompt. You go through four modules each with a short quiz. This game teaches you command-line basics so that you can read Linux programs and input commands. I would recommend this game to begin with if you don’t know anything at all about Linux.
This is where we get very flexible with the term ‘game.’ If you’re the type of person that thinks taking a test or solving a challenge is a game (which it totally could be) then Linux Shell from HackerRank is going to be right up your alley. This game/tutorial will teach you Bash commands from beginner to intermediate. There’s not a lot of hand-holding with this game so you’ve got to have some basic knowledge of Bash to even get started with the easy challenges. If you’re an absolute beginner, Google is going to be your best friend!
Let me say this, Terminus is fun. It could be the most fun game on this list. Terminus was built by MIT so you know it’s probably made by Lex Friedman. The game starts as a simple terminal window with just a few command hints. By using these commands you can survey the map and explore different magical regions of the game, including MIT. But just like in real life, you won’t get in without an admission letter or a huge library donation 😔. The is clever in the way that it’s all about helping your better visualise and explore areas of your Linux program.
This is a game to teach you the basics of using a POSIX (Linux, BSD, UNIX) terminal. Bashcrawl is a text-based adventure game designed to help users learn and improve their Bash scripting skills. Bashcrawl is a video game that runs on Unix-based operating systems. It's an ASCII art dungeon crawler, similar to the popular game Rogue, and is part of the larger genre of "roguelike" games. Players control a character as they explore randomly generated dungeons filled with monsters and treasure.
7. Command line mystery
Command Line Mystery is like this cool text-based game where you get to solve a mystery using your computer's command-line interface. It's a fun way to learn and practice command-line skills, kind of like those old-school text adventure games. You use commands to navigate through directories and mess with files to find clues and crack the case. It's a really engaging way to get better at using the command line, which can be super helpful if you're into coding, sysadmin stuff, or anything like that.