All About Linux and Linux+ (2019 Refresh)

by Jason W. Eckert | May 12, 2019

A caricature of Jason Eckert(This article ​was refreshed in May 2019 to reflect the new CompTIA Linux+ (XK0-004).)
Linux 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, smart thermostat 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 (or distros) of Linux as a result. All Linux distros 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 (macOS 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 AIX, QNX). As a result, those who administer Linux systems often administer UNIX systems, and vice versa.

Why Should I Get a Linux Certification?

For the past two decades, employers have used certification as a skills benchmark for hiring and advancement in the IT industry. Today, Linux certification provides an important skills benchmark for a wide range of different industries and job roles, as illustrated below. And as these industries and job roles continue to grow, so does the need for skilled Linux users, administrators and developers.

A diagram illustrating the many job roles and industries that use Linux

What Is CompTIA Linux+?

Until recently, CompTIA Linux+ comprised two exams covering the same content as the two exams for the Linux Professional Institute's (LPI) LPIC-1 (LPI Level 1 - Linux Administrator).

However, the latest version of CompTIA Linux+ (XK0-004) is no longer reciprocal with LPIC-1. Instead, it's a single exam that tests the fundamental usage and administrative tasks that are common to nearly all Linux distributions and UNIX flavors, but with an added focus on security, troubleshooting, server configuration and cloud technologies to match current industry needs.

Why Should I Get CompTIA Linux+?

  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.


  2. The added focus on security, troubleshooting, server configuration and cloud computing better aligns to the job roles that require proficiency in those areas, compared to other, similar Linux certifications on the market. 

  4. 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.
Think CompTIA Linux+ is right for you? Download the exam objectives to see what's covered. After you complete the download form, scroll to the bottom of the list to get the objectives for CompTIA Linux+ XK0-004.


  • 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!

  • Robert

    Saturday, January 5, 2019

    I have two vouchers for Linux+ exams. Can I take both the Lx0-103 & 104 on the same day or there is any compulsory time frame b/w them.

  • Monday, January 7, 2019

    Hi, Robert! Thanks for your question. You can take the exams at any time they are offered by your local testing center - no waiting necessary. Good luck!

  • John

    Friday, February 15, 2019

    I'm planning to take the Linux+ certification and also apply for the LPIC-1 certification afterwards. From checking LPI site, LPIC-1 exams are now on version 5 (101-500 and 102-500), although the version 4 exams can still be taken until July 1, 2019. So for the Linux+ exam questions/objectives, since it is currently still at version 4, will it also change to match the new LPI version 5 exams from July 1, 2019 onwards? If not, will passing the Linux+ (LX0-003 and LX0-004) after July 1 still make one eligible to get the equivalent LPIC-1 version 4 certification even if already discontinued from LPI? Thanks in advance!

  • Monday, February 18, 2019

    Hi, John! Thanks for your question. When we update Linux+ this spring, we will no longer have a reciprocal agreement with LPI. Please contact LPI to find out if you'll still be eligible to earn LPIC-1 by taking Linux+ (LX0-003 and LX0-004) after July 1. Good luck!

  • John

    Monday, March 18, 2019

    Hi, I have confirmed with LPI that I am still eligible to earn the LPIC-1 as long as I take specifically the "Powered by LPI" version of the Linux+ exams (LX0-103 and LX0-104). I just want to confirm until when will LX0-103 and 104 exams be available for taking, given that you are already updating your Linux+ exams this spring. Thanks.

  • Monday, March 18, 2019

    Hi, John! Linux+ LX0-103 and LX0-104 will retire on October 1, 2019, so you'll need to complete both exams by then in order to get both certifications. Good luck!

  • Nasak

    Monday, March 18, 2019

    Do I get Novell CLA and Novell DCTS after I get I achieve Linux+ and LPIC 1 ?

  • Tuesday, March 19, 2019

    Hi, Nasak! Thanks for your question. No, Linux+ is not affiliated with Novell CLA and DCTS. Good luck!

  • M Leachman

    Saturday, March 23, 2019

    Jason, Have you written any new UNIX/LINUX books. if so, what are the titles? Thanks. ML

  • Jason Eckert

    Monday, March 25, 2019

    Yes ML - I have! I've written the 5th edition of my "Linux+ & LPIC-1 Guide to Linux Certification" for Cengage. It should be available very soon (April 2019), and you can find it here:

  • Paul

    Wednesday, May 22, 2019

    Hi, When do Comptia end the offer that someone gets the LPIC-1 certificate when they pass Linux+ (powered by LPI)? Thanks

  • Wednesday, May 22, 2019

    Hi, Paul! You can get LPIC-1 by completing the two Linux+ exams (LX0-103/104) before October 1, 2019. The new Linux+ (XK0-004) is only one exam, but it is not reciprocal with LPIC-1.

  • deaa

    Thursday, May 23, 2019

    hello, im looking to take the two LPIC-1 exams (101&102) next week and i have a question please: do i have the chance to choose the version(v4.0 -which is available till july - or v5.0) of the exam , which i am going to take it ? and how i can do that ?

  • Thursday, May 23, 2019

    Hi, Deaa! Thanks for your question. Please contact LPI for information about the LPIC exams. And consider getting CompTIA Linux+. Learn more here: Good luck!

  • jorg

    Friday, May 24, 2019

    Hi! i have a question please, can i do both two exams Linux+ LX0-103 and LX0-104 at the same day? considering that i have to pass the LX0-103 first, in order to continue with LX0-104.

  • Thursday, May 30, 2019

    Hi, Jorg! Thanks for your question. Yes, technically you can take both exams on one day, although you do have to pass 103 before you can take 104. Good luck!

  • Nathan

    Sunday, June 2, 2019

    Hello, I was just wondering in thought. Comparison between Security+ and Linux+ . Which one do you think is better in term of interest in Security? Thank you.

  • Monday, June 3, 2019

    Hi, Nathan! Thanks for your comment. When it comes to working in cybersecurity, Linux+ and Security+ can both be beneficial. Check out this article that helps explain how the two are related, and then download the exam objectives to see which certification is right for you. Good luck!

  • Miguel

    Friday, June 14, 2019

    Hi Nathan, what study material would you recommend for the the XK0-004 exam? Thanks, Miguel

  • Crawford

    Saturday, June 15, 2019

    I had a Security + cert granted back in 2011 and missed re-certifying by 1 ce. Put re certification on the back burner to get my BS in Cyber Security. I know the Sec+ is different now. Some jobs are requiring a Security + and experience with Linux. I would like to get both, but what would give me the Linux experience I need while studying for the Linux +? Thanks.

  • Monday, June 17, 2019

    Hi, Miguel! Thanks for your question. CompTIA offers a full suite of training products for the new Linux+ exam (XK0-004), including CertMaster Learn, CertMaster Labs, CertMaster Practice and the Official Study Guide for CompTIA Linux+. Check them out in our store: (in the navigation bar, go to Training > Linux+). Good luck!

  • Monday, June 17, 2019

    Hi, Crawford! Thanks for your question. The good news is that Linux is free! You can install it on your home computer and practice working in it on your own time. For guidance, check out any number of study and practice tools, including the Official Study Guide for CompTIA Linux+ and CompTIA CertMaster Labs. Good luck!

  • Mandeep S Obbi

    Monday, July 29, 2019

    hello I am planning to give my Linux both the exams in Nov 2019. So will I able to get lpic 1 after giving revised linux +? Thank you.!

  • Monday, July 29, 2019

    Hi, Mandeep! Thanks for your question. The current Linux exams (LX0-103 & LX0-104) will expire on October 1, 2019. If you are not planning to take your exam until November, you will need to prepare for and take XK0-004. This is not reciprocal with LPIC-1. If you want to earn LPIC-1 concurrently with Linux+, you'll need to pass the two retiring Linux+ exams before October 1. Good luck!

  • Sheree

    Wednesday, August 7, 2019

    Hello, I took the (LX0-103 & LX0-104) exams in July 2018 and passed. Now that this version of the Linux+ exam will be retired in October 2019, will there be options for renewing my Linux+ cert with CEs or will I have to retake the exam when it expires? Thank you, Sheree

  • Wednesday, August 7, 2019

    Hi, Sheree! Thanks for your question. If you already passed the Linux+ exam and have a current CE certification, you do not need to take the new certification exam. You can renew your current certification in a number of ways before it expires - three years after the date you passed your second exam. If you have a good for life (GFL) certification, you do not need to renew it, and it will not expire. Learn more about continuing education and certification renewal here: Good luck!

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