Become a Unix Tutorial member!

Finally, the first enrollment period is open for the Unix Tutorial membership! I plan to have registration open for 3 weeks, after which it will be closed for a few months so that I can work with the first group of members and take all their feedback as we learn Unix basics together.

Become a lifetime Unix Tutorial member!

If you think you know enough about Unix Tutorial membership, then wait no more and proceed straight to the Unix Tutorial Sign Up page. For everyone else, there's a bit more information below.

Why I'm setting up a members area

As you've probably seen, I'm trying to encourage as many people as possible to start using Unix-like operating systems. So far, I've been doing this by sharing tips and how-to guides on various Unix challenges I've come across in my 10+ years of system administration. While this had proved to be very popular, I would like to take it all one step further by publishing a few courses on various Unix topics.

Structure makes learning much easier, and I hope to involve even more people by providing a thorough learning plan for each level of Unix learners: beginners, intermediate users and advanced users which plan to use or manage Unix professionally.

I'm set up a membership section on Unix Tutorial, because this seems to be a great way to help you grow Unix systems from scratch or just fill in some of the gaps you might have in your knowledge. Some materials with be based on the existing articles, but most of the content is going to be an easy-to-follow series of guides, interactive diagrams, exercises and tests developed in accordance with the curriculum of each course.

Unix Tutorial forums had recently been  made a part of the members-only area – they will be used by the members to discuss any course topics, share ideas and solutions. I think there are plenty of public forums available – and so it doesn't make much sense to start and maintain yet another one. Instead, I will keep the private discussion board which will allow members to ask questions and get the support they need.

Before you ask: no, it doesn't mean I will stop posting on Unix Tutorial blog – in fact, I hope membership-only discussions will make many more Unix challenges visible and this will allow me to cover them on Unix Tutorial blog pages in my usual how-to manner.

How you will benefit

These are the reasons for you to become a member of the Unix Tutorial site:

  • Structured approach to learning Unix – the Unix Foundation course is going to be an introduction to what Unix is and what are your options when learning or using it. If you're just getting started with Unix, or even if you're using it already but just want a refresher – this is going to be your chance to learn the basics and to address any gaps you have
  • Individual support – I will be actively monitoring forums to help you with Unix challenges, and on top of this there's always going to be an option to contact me through direct messages on forums. This is not planned to be a technical support hotline, so please don't rely on this for any critical issues – this being said, I'm going to do my best to address your questions within days, if not hours
  • Community of like-minded Unix users – it's much easier to interact in a smaller group of like-minded people. Those who wish to do so, will be doing introductions on forums, and this is bound to help you not only solve immediate technical issues, but to also find interesting blogs to follow, Unix users to learn from and to collaborate with, and Unix fans of all levels to share your experience with.
  • Learn anything you want about Unix – many books and websites target what their authors believe should be taught to their target group. Quite often such works prove to be quite disappointing for both authors and readers, because not all the topics are interesting or relevant enough to the needs of the audience. You've probably seen already – most of my posts on Unix Tutorial are based on the search queries from my visitors or questions asked through the Ask a Unix question form. I love this approach! It helps me to always write about the things you want to learn.I plan to use the same approach with my study courses – anyone can suggest a topic for a course, but registered members will obviously get a preference for their suggestions. If you ever wanted to learn something about Unix – shell scripting, performance tuning or re-compiling a Linux kernel – I will gladly take your ideas, research them and present as learning objectives for you and other members of Unix Tutorial.

Will Unix Tutorial membership be free?

There's still a lot of planning to be done about the membership area, but here's how I see it so far:

  1. There will ALWAYS be a number of free courses available at Unix Tutorial
    You will still have to register, but it will not cost you anything to join. Most likely the free courses will be of introductory nature – they prove to be both most popular and most beneficial to anyone learning Unix. After the initial enrollment period, I'll close the registration for a few months to polish off the few courses I have planned, to reopen membership sometime in summer or early autumn.
  2. There will be paid content as well
    I'm going to spend a lot of time developing the courses, and therefore I think some of them will be available on a paid basis only. This is most likely going to be a set of niche topics in the intermediate-advanced level of technical expertise. From my experience, such topics will only prove useful to a small group of people who are willing to take their Unix knowledge to a whole new level.
  3. There will be a  paid membership
    For those interested in constantly learning more about Unix, this will probably be the most attractive option – a small monthly fee will provide access to all the Unix courses available, including the new ones as they get published
  4. Paid technical support/solutions architecture
    I've been doing this for quite some time – so it's probably going to be one of the services available to Unix Tutorial members. If you have a technical issue which needs a solution, I can research it for you. If you have a project requirement and want me to map out a technical solution for you – I'll be able to do this as well. Depending on how much time is needed for other activities in the Unix Tutorial members area, such services may come at an additional cost.

There's nothing set in stone yet, I'm really just getting started. I have a vision of a great learning environment where we'll be able to learn and share knowledge, and this is going to be my focus. I have a full-time job, so Unix Tutorial membership will not be a chance for me to make a living off it… That being said, if there's enough people willing to learn and to pay, I'll be delighted to have an opportunity to spend more of my time helping others.

First Unix Tutorial members

In the next few months, I will work with the first wave of members, help them go through the courses and answer all the technical questions they might have, and will use this experience to further improve the courses and the way they're presented.

The initial Unix Tutorial membership is a unique offer, because it will be a life-time access to Unix Tutorial courses. I would like to offer it free of charge, but with one condition – if you become one of the lucky first members,  you should be genuinely interested in learning Unix and being an active member of the community – participating in discussions and helping others. As one of the initial members, I would like you to help me improve the members area by completing a few surveys (sent out sometime between mid-March and mid-July, I promise not to ask too much of you but it's crucial that I get your feedback).

The full-scale opening of the Unix Tutorial membership area is planned for July 2009, but is still subject to change.

Sounds interesting enough? Register now! Look forward to meeting you in the members area!