All About Linux and Linux+

by Jason W. Eckert | Apr 12, 2017

A caricature of Jason EckertLinux is all around us, but do you really know what it is? And how does it apply to IT jobs? In this blog post, author, CompTIA instructor and Linux guru Jason Eckert helps to demystify the open-source operating system so you can decide whether or not CompTIA Linux+ is right for you.

What Is Linux?

In short, Linux is an open-source, UNIX-like operating system created by Linus Torvalds that runs a plethora of different devices today. When you do your online banking or use Google, Facebook or Twitter, you’re talking to Linux servers in the cloud. In fact, nearly all supercomputers and cloud servers run Linux, as does your Android smartphone and many other devices around your home and workplace, such as firewalls and routers. Even my touch-screen refrigerator, home media center and in-car GPS run Linux.

Open source has been the key to Linux’s success. Software released under an open-source license gives other software developers access to modify the original source code that was used to create the software. This, in turn allows other software developers worldwide to quickly identify and fix bugs and security loopholes, as well as make feature improvements to the software. Consequently, open-source software evolves rapidly, and this is what transformed Linux into the world’s most flexible and powerful operating system since its conception more than 25 years ago.

Linus Torvalds and his team still develop the core operating system kernel and libraries. However, software developers worldwide develop the additional open-source libraries and software packages used with the Linux kernel. You may obtain different distributions of Linux as a result. All Linux distributions share the same kernel and libraries, yet have different software packaged with the kernel. There are hundreds of Linux distributions available – some common ones include Red Hat, Fedora, SuSE, Debian, Ubuntu and CentOS. And don’t forget Android!

It’s also important to note that Linux is functionally an open-source UNIX operating system – nearly all of the concepts, commands and files are identical between UNIX and Linux. If you use a Mac computer or iPhone, you are using a flavor of UNIX (Mac OS X and iOS are both UNIX operating systems), and many embedded systems and large servers still run UNIX today as well (e.g., BSD UNIX, Solaris UNIX, QNX). As a result, those who administer Linux systems often administer UNIX systems, and vice versa.

What Is CompTIA Linux+?

For the past two decades, employers have used certification as a skills benchmark for hiring and advancement in the IT industry. And as the need for skilled Linux administrators continues to grow, so does the need for Linux certification.

CompTIA Linux+ (Powered by LPI) tests the fundamental usage and administrative tasks that are common to nearly all Linux distributions and UNIX flavors. The two exams that you have to pass to achieve the Linux+ certification (LX0-103 and LX0-104) essentially cover the same content as the two exams that you have to pass to achieve LPIC-1 (LPI Level 1 – Linux Administrator) certification from the Linux Professional Institute (LPI). As an added bonus, after achieving CompTIA Linux+, you can apply for and obtain the LPIC-1 certification directly on the CompTIA website. However, you cannot do the reverse – in other words, you cannot pass LPIC-1 and request Linux+.

Why Should You Become Linux+ Certified?

  1. You get the industry brand recognition that comes with CompTIA. Many IT managers and human resources departments are very familiar with CompTIA certifications – they know that if the certification ends with a + symbol, it’s a good skills benchmark. And, as we discussed earlier, you also receive the LPIC-1 certification from LPI for additional brand recognition.


  2. For most jobs involving Linux and/or UNIX, CompTIA Linux+ is the only Linux certification that you will need, as it covers the general administration tasks that most organizations seek when hiring for Linux/UNIX administration positions. Advanced topic areas not tested on Linux+ often involve specialized configuration that is specific to a particular organization and Linux distribution or UNIX flavor. Those who have a working knowledge of the general administration concepts tested on CompTIA Linux+ can easily research and perform these advanced configuration tasks as necessary.


  3. CompTIA Linux+ and LPIC-1 provide a foundation for other Linux certifications. LPI offers two additional levels of certification that you can achieve after passing Linux+/LPIC-1:
  • LPIC-2 (LPI Level 2 – Linux Engineer), which tests additional system and network administration concepts.
  • LPIC-3 (LPI Level 3 – Linux Enterprise Professional), which tests one of three specific concept areas of your choice: Security, OpenLDAP/Samba, and virtualization/clustering.
Think CompTIA Linux+ is right for you? See what training materials and classes are available to get started.


  • Mark Jennys

    Wednesday, May 31, 2017

    I am Dyslexia. what allowances are there for taking the test?

  • Wednesday, May 31, 2017

    Hi, Mark! Pearson VUE administers CompTIA In-Person Exams and makes accommodations for people with disabilities. You can read more about that here: At this time, CompTIA Online Testing does not offer accommodations. Good luck!

  • Rafael Rosso, Jr

    Monday, July 24, 2017

    how much is the cost for Linux Certification

  • Thursday, July 27, 2017

    Hi, Rafael! Thanks for your comment. CompTIA Linux+ costs US$200. You can learn more about the exam here:

  • Raymond

    Sunday, October 15, 2017

    Will I need to understan Linux before taking on a cloud certification?

  • Monday, October 16, 2017

    Hi, Raymond! You don't necessarily need an understanding of Linux to get CompTIA Cloud+, but having that knowledge will help you work with cloud tools. Good luck!

  • Mike

    Wednesday, November 15, 2017

    Question: What is the Dealine, time frame of when the Linux + will be being revised. Specifically looking to buy a book now, but probably won't sit for it until 3rd/4th quarter 2018. Please advise.

  • Thursday, November 16, 2017

    Hi, Mike! We are planning to release the updated version in early 2019. We typically release a beta exam before releasing the full version, so that may be could be an option for you based on your timeline. We have not started developing the exam yet, so the new content has not been determined. Studying for the current exam will lay a solid foundation of knowledge should you choose to take the new exam. If you choose to take the new exam, you can study that new content as it becomes available. Stay tuned for more info!

  • Horace

    Monday, December 4, 2017

    Hi Jason, Although I know the Linux+ is a vendor neutral cert., is there a certain flavor a student should install to aid them while studying for this cert.? Thank in advance.

  • Jason Eckert

    Monday, December 4, 2017

    Yes, Horace - even though Linux+ is a vendor neutral certification, you should cover both major package managers (Debian/RedHat) as well as the two major system init systems (SysV & Systemd). As a result, you'll need to practice two different distributions of Linux at minimum - I recommend Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (which uses Debian/SysV) and Fedora 26 (which uses RedHat/Systemd). Hope this helps!

  • Tony

    Thursday, December 21, 2017

    Does the Linux + powered by LPI certification consist of two test? And if it does, do you receive anything when you pass the first test? Thanks.

  • Thursday, December 21, 2017

    Hi, Tony! You need to pass two tests to earn Linux+. Passing just one exam does not result in certification. You can read more here: Good luck!

  • Chris

    Monday, June 4, 2018

    Am a novice with IT terms, Do you think I can do Linux certification

  • Ubold Ndlvn

    Tuesday, June 5, 2018

    Hi, If I seat for LPIC-1 exam will i get CompTIA Linux+ certificate also?

  • Wednesday, June 6, 2018

    Hi, Chris! While there are not requirements for Linux+, it's recommended that you have the skills covered by CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Network+ as well as 12 months of Linux admin experience. To see if you have the skills needed to successfully get Linux+, download the exam objectives for A+, Network+ and Linux+. Good luck!

  • Wednesday, June 6, 2018

    Hi, Ubold! If you get CompTIA Linux+, you can apply to get LPIC-1 without taking another exam. However, in order to get CompTIA Linux+, you must take the two exams, no matter what other certifications you hold. Good luck!

  • Monika

    Thursday, June 7, 2018

    I have passed my Linux + exams, how do I request LPIC-1 now?

  • Tuesday, June 12, 2018

    Hi, Monika! Congratulations! To forward your CompTIA Linux+ exam results to the Linux Professional Institute (LPI), log into your CompTIA certification account and click on Demographics and then Settings. Click on the LPI preference dropdown to indicate that you want your test results transmitted to LPI. You can update your settings at any time. We send exam results to the LPI once daily.

  • Moses

    Monday, July 23, 2018

    hi, if i passed the 2 exams of LPIC 1, would i also have a a certification in comptia linux plus as well?

  • Monday, July 23, 2018

    Hi, Moses! Thanks for your question. If you pass LX0-003 and LX0-004 to earn CompTIA Linux+, you can apply to get LPIC-1 version 4, but you cannot get Linux+ without taking the two CompTIA exams. Good luck!

  • Jude

    Saturday, September 8, 2018

    Hi Jason, thanks for the explanations, please whats your take on installing free subscription of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for developers for practice to aid me while studying for CompTIA Linux+ certification. Thanks.

  • Janarthannan

    Tuesday, December 11, 2018

    Once I write the LX-103 and LX-104 exams successfully, when I will recieve certificate digitally and a physical certificate? I heard it will 8 weeks, is that so?

  • Tuesday, December 11, 2018

    Hi, Janarthannan! Thanks for your question. Upon passing both exams, you can log into CertMetrics (you'll receive a notification, and this information is also on your passing score report), verify your demographic information and release your certification kit for processing and mailing. At this point, you'll have immediate access to your digital certificate (PDF) under the certifications tab in CertMetrics. Delivery of the physical certificate could take up to 8 weeks, but it usually only takes 2 to 3. Good luck!

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