Linux is an Operating System, like Windows or Mac OS X [1]. Unlike those operating systems, Linux is open source, and completely free of charge. While you may expect something that costs no money and is developed by a team of “volunteers”[2] to be low quality, Linux is actually very good.

If you follow through this subsection, you should be at the point where you have installed Linux on your computer or a virtual machine. This is a prerequisite for a number of things in the “Hacker’s Toolbox” - or, more accurately, it makes them a lot easier.

HacSoc typically holds Linux install fests at the beginning of each year. These are excellent times to get help on this stuff! However, if you missed the install fest, you can still follow this guide. If you have questions, you can connect with people who can help in a variety of ways: Hacker Society Communication Streams. We recommend Slack!

[1]Sort of... If you want to be technical, it’s an operating system kernel. This is a distinction you’ll learn about in your Operating Systems class (EECS 338). For now, the distinction doesn’t matter too much.
[2]This is also not exactly true. While some Linux Kernel developers are unpaid volunteers, many are paid by big companies (even Microsoft and Apple) to contribute code.