In the realm of operating systems for programmers, Linux reigns supreme. There are a lot of reasons to prefer it over other OS: memory management, case sensitivity, and built-in packages.

So, as a Java developer, you will likely have to make a transition from Windows to macOS to Linux. What should you know to get started and which Linux questions from Java interviews, that programmers should be ready to answer at job interviews?

What Linux Knowledge Java Developers Need

You don’t need to learn all the intricacies of Linux to feel comfortable using it for Java development. It’s enough to have a solid grip of the basics, namely:

Installing and running a JDK - There are two ways to go about it: using archive binaries and RPM packages. Both are described in Java documentation.
Useful Linux commands - To deploy Jars (the building blocks of your application) on Linux, you need to know the basic operations of the operating systems. We listed them in a table below.

Command name



Display the location of a directory


Returns the list of directory contents


Used to display file contents, copy files, etc.


Removes a file


Compares streams or files

File hierarchy - Java developers should understand how Linux directories are structured and which rights different user categories have.
I/O and Pipes - Knowing how to redirect IO streams, send and use command outputs is a prerequisite for Linux programming.
Non-GUI terminals - Terminal-based programming might feel challenging but it comes with benefits: fast loading speed, stripped-down interface, and others - so learning how to use non-GUI terminals will shape you into a better developer.

Top Linux Interview Questions from Java interviews for Developers

It’s not extremely common to see Linux-related questions at Java job interviews (you will mainly be asked Java things, so take a look at (50 most popular questions and answers for a Java interview). However, if the tech team you are applying to uses the OS, the team lead might want to check your proficiency.

Here are a few common Linux interview questions Java developers get at interviews:

#1. What types of file permissions are there in Linux?

Answer: There are three types of file permissions:

• Read - a user can list directory contents, open and read files.
• Write gives the permission to edit contents, rename, add, and remove files from a directory.
• Execute allows users to run directory files.

#2. What directory commands do you typically use?

Answer: candidates usually list the following:

Pwd to display the location of a directory.
Ls to see the list of files in a directory.
Mkdir to create a new directory.
Cd to switch between working locations.
Rm to remove directories.

#3. What is Linux Shell?

Answer: the shell is an interface developers use to execute Linux commands. It doesn’t use the kernel to run files or create programs.

#4. Name Linux content commands you use

Answer: The most common commands Java developers use are:

• Head to display the head of the file.
Tail displays the bottom of the file.
More is used to view file contents one page at a time
Less is used to view files one line at a time.
Cat is a command for concatenation.

#5. Why do developers use Linux?

Answer: Linux has a wide range of developer-facing features, compared to other operating systems.

• It’s customizable and open-source.
• It has free licensing and can be installed on many devices.
• Linux is highly secure, with granular user permissions.
• Wide range of built-in packages for developers.

#6. What are the key differences between BASH and DOS commands?

Answer: we listed the key differences between the two in a table:




No case sensitivity

/ is used as a directory separator

\ is used as a delimiter

/ is used as a delimiter

\ is used as a separator

Strict naming conventions

No naming convention


#7. Which Linux Distros Do You Use?

Best distro choices for developers are:

Ubuntu - a beginner-friendly distro, with a vast array of built-in libraries and intuitive interface.
Debian - is known for stable and reliable performance. Developers find it easy to use as well.
Arch Linux - customizable but has a steep learning curve.
Kali Linux - a security-first distro. ‘


This is not a definite list of Linux interview questions from java interviews - however, it gives Java developers a clear understanding of the OS features and commands they need to know. Before you go into job interviews, it’s a good idea to get some in-context learning: practice installing the JDK and using basic Linux commands.

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Also, check out DevOps Book You should read section.