We found 4 Reddit comments about UNIX for the Impatient (2nd Edition). Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.
Unix for the Impatient was mandatory when I went to uni
>I was just wondering if there would be any huge benefit to taking this class(and paying for it) as opposed to dicking around with it on my own
Here's one of my favorite books, because I'm impatient. It's called Unix for the Impatient.
Frankly I wouldn't pay too much for a class. You can install Linux for free (and if you have a Mac you already have a Unix system) and there's so much information online that the self-directed learner has many options and paths. But of course classes provide structure, and that's good too.
My school is still using this text http://www.amazon.com/UNIX-Impatient-Edition-Paul-Abrahams/dp/0201823764. It's a bit outdated in parts..
First, you need to learn cd ls. And the UNIX filesystem. Here is a PDF for the filesystem. You need to know this: http://www.pathname.com/fhs/pub/fhs-2.3.pdf
cd is a shell command, not a program. It changes your current working directory. This is what you use like Windows Explorer or OS X Finder. When you login, you will start at /home/USERNAME. To see all of the users on the system's home directories do:
Odds are there aren't many users besides you. If you login as root (not advised, especially at first). Root's home directory is /root.
Some things to learn are how a Linux system starts. Unfortunately if you are using a newer Debian 8, it uses systemd which is much a much more complex booting system than previous versions. Honestly, I would recommend installing Debian 7 and learn how it starts, then move to Debian 8. systemd is new and a bit controversial because it is not very "unixy".
The reason I mention systemd, is that it is the first "user space" process that runs when linux starts. The older mechanism is called init.
The reason that I say go with the older system is because it uses a series of shell scripts which is a text file filled with various commands to get things started. This is a good place to learn how things are done when starting out. systemd is a very big and complex system that I believe is too complicated to start with, but it's good to learn eventually.
If all this is too much at first, install a very base system. Then go to /usr/bin and read the man page for each command. To read a man page, do man COMMAND_NAME. Sometimes, you may need to do man 1 COMMAND_NAME as the /usr/bin/ commands are in section 1 of the UNIX manual. To quit viewing the page, press q. You can use the up and down arrows and space to navigate like a web page. You can also use j for down and k to go up.
I would also suggest a book. I started out with http://www.amazon.com/UNIX-Impatient-Edition-Paul-Abrahams/dp/0201823764 It's $20 or so dollars. If you don't have the money, PM me and I'll buy it for you.
Learn the shell. Bash is a good enough one. zsh is very cool as well.
Oh, it's probably worth noting that UNIX is a multi user system, where root is "God" of the system. Root can do basically anything, and the other users have less permissions to do things. I would recommend using a real user at first, to learn the differences.
Linux is really fun. It has a very steep learning curve because it is so complex and powerful, and that power is why it has been #1 is doing stuff like powering the internet, being used for wifi routers, and it is the basis of over 90% of all cellphones as well. UNIX has evolved to be basically Linux nowadays. There are some commercial UNIXes left, but Linux is good enough.
Keep posting here if
man 1 COMMAND_NAME