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*nix Thread, Unix courses in Technical; Hi All, Does anyone here run at there school, for the kids, Unix courses? What I mean by Unix is ...
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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Unix courses

    Hi All,

    Does anyone here run at there school, for the kids, Unix courses?

    What I mean by Unix is basic commands and programs, such as VI, chmod, ls.

    I've seen people say, woo look at me, I have Linux on my desktops!! Well they run a safe Linux distro with a nice GUI. Well that's not really Unix\Linux, it's a rip of Microsoft Windows.

    I don't like the idea of teaching people how to use software if they don't know what it does. I mean, you say click save, do they know what it does? I mean write the data to the hard drive from the ram, and why? (Because when RAM loses power, it loses data, so you have it to the hard drive, that "remembers")

    Anyway, I was thinking about getting some guides together and having Xen Dom-U, basically each student would get a SSH root access to a 64mb box, I was hoping for it to be externally access able so you could do it from home, but what with schools internet blocking SSH traffic (apart from Capita ) I think either LEA or school level would be better, it would also solve the problem of SSH keys.


    Anyway, is anyone interested in doing such a thing? Or are you already doing something like this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    I've seen people say, woo look at me, I have Linux on my desktops!! Well they run a safe Linux distro with a nice GUI. Well that's not really Unix\Linux, it's a rip of Microsoft Windows.
    which of course is a rip of xerox, macintosh.....

    I ran an extended school class last year teaching some basic linux commands.
    The kids loved ssh ing into each others boxes - opening cdroms drives, shutting machines down to freak out their classmates.
    The way I did it was to provide the students with a network bootable distro (we run diskless thinclients). We PXE booted Puppy linux (but any pxe distro could do) if they needed to save they had to smb or usb.
    The biggest challenge I found was the mixed ability nature of an extended schools class (all yeargroups). It's very difficult getting across often difficult concepts like ports, firewalls to students who have only ever known msoffice.

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    somabc's Avatar
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    This is a really good idea, given that schools now teach IT (instead of computing) ie how to use MS Word, the most complicated part being mail merge, rather than any underlying concepts and certainly no programming languages. Many Universities recruiting for Comp Sci course now encourage students not to take IT GCSE/A-Level but instead to focus on Maths and the Physical Sciences.

    eg

    This is the advice of one Uni on their Comp Sci admissions page

    If you are taking three A-levels and are considering taking any of the Type 1 subjects below, we would strongly urge you to consider taking the harder Type 2 options as an alternative. This will considerably strengthen your application.

    Type 1 (Weak A-Level Subjects)
    Accounting
    Business Studies
    Applied Business Studies
    Applied ICT
    ICT
    Media Studies

    Type 2 (Strong A-Level Subjects)
    Economics
    Computing
    English Literature
    By the above guide someone who applies with AAA in Maths, Economics and Physics is much more likely to get admitted then someone with AAA in Accounting, Business Studies and ICT and I hope students realise this when they are choosing their courses.

    Looking at requests for help such as this one does not inspire hope -
    [thelist] A-Level computing help

    disclaimer:
    (I never studied IT or Computing at school so I might be biased)

    I think the chances of getting any LEA school to put this on the curriculum are remote though, perhaps at a private school?
    Last edited by somabc; 9th August 2008 at 02:13 PM.

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    somabc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    I've seen people say, woo look at me, I have Linux on my desktops!! Well they run a safe Linux distro with a nice GUI. Well that's not really Unix\Linux, it's a rip of Microsoft Windows.
    No! Please stop the elitism!

    Ubuntu and the like are all still Linux and they serve a useful purpose which is to enable people who are used to basic universal concepts such as icons, clicking, double clicking, drag and drop, movable windows, controls to get on with their work.

    Not everyone wants to use the CLI all the time you know.

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    ahuxham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by somabc View Post
    No! Please stop the elitism!

    Ubuntu and the like are all still Linux and they serve a useful purpose which is to enable people who are used to basic universal concepts such as icons, clicking, double clicking, drag and drop, movable windows, controls to get on with their work.

    Not everyone wants to use the CLI all the time you know.
    Agreed, why do you have to use CLI to not be a Windows copy cat. I prefer GUI, but thats my opinion, its still different, I have to say I spend around 60-75% of my time in a terminal, I just like the visual aspect most of the time.

    After all, why would Gnome, XFCE, KDE, E16/17, Fluxbox etc be written if it weren't for people wanting GUI Support.

    Servers, that are specific. Fileservers, Webservers, with a single purpose I can see the use of CLI.

    Than again... I'd like the OP to seriously think about what he said, what % of home linux users use CLI? 1-2%? at most on non-primary machines.

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Ok, I might have come across to hard on GUI, let me try and explain.

    I've had people go, I'm gonna install Linux, but they freek out when they have to use the command line. I like the idea of OpenOffice, admins are kept in there safetly blanket with Windows, but kids are learning that you don't use Microsoft Word, you use a Word processing software package, like Microsoft Word.

    I know the current curriculum says they have to teach open software, ie, choice. Which is good.

    The idea of using using a VPS would mean you don't have to worry about getting a distro to work with your hardware, the kids formatting the windows, or hacking it, or just plan nicking the usb pens. Shouldn't be too hard for the MSCE to setup either

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    You could teach all of the principals of cli bash without root access. In which case you only need a lightweight linux machine which authenticates to your directory server. just install putty on the workstations
    set the kids a challenge to 'hack' it.

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    Could set up a basic openbsd server then ask them to break in and get root access.

    They would problably be easy to get into HSBC bank

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    I personally don't think the command line per se is the biggest leap for windows gui fans, after all even beginning to intermediate users understand the concept of the windows 'shells' and various scripts that most of us have had to use over the years....

    where the real isuse is potentially would be in understanding the *nix fiesystems and directory structures. It's for me the most important aspect to teach and teach right - going from the concept of filesystems, partioning and volume management in the *nix world requires more mental effort than understanding windows c:
    directory structure.

    Many commercial unix implementations for years have used veritas volume manager for managing and resizing volumes....in the windows world the complexity of something like vxvm for unix has been hidden for years with microsoft licensing the veritas technology for use in their own built-in tools with the friendly gui.

    i think teaching *nix is a great way to understand how an OS should best present and interact with hardware components and the mapping logical OS structures onto physical hardware. And ofcourse *nix approach of everything being a file is potentially very intutitive for fresh minds.
    Last edited by torledo; 9th August 2008 at 08:51 PM.

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    I wholeheartedly agree with torledo, unix file systems can be a challenge, but actually rather intuitive compared to arbitrary letter c:

    I would like to recommend this free book:
    Unix for the Beginning Mage. it was recommended by one of our students.
    http://phorolinux.com/files/ufbm.zip
    Free eBook: Unix for the Beginning Mage — PhoroLinux

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    somabc's Avatar
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    Linux Users: Why So Serious? | LinuxHaxor.net

    Despite coming from a very rich and early history, linux OS consumer market share is less than 1%; and the community more divided than ever. What are we doing wrong?

    I think linux users as a community are not as helpful as everyone would like you to believe. We scare new linux adopters, and scoff at any suggestions that might seem “window-like”.

    So what if I don’t explicitly mention that “linux” is actually a kernel?

    I should rather call it GNU/Linux.
    We should only use open-source software.
    Propriety software are bad.
    Don’t customize your desktop manager to look like Vista or OSX. If you do, you are an idiot.
    You use Ubuntu, you must be newbie.
    X window manager is better than Y window manager, KDE looks like windows; you should rather use windows.
    Last edited by somabc; 11th August 2008 at 10:03 AM.

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by somabc View Post
    i agree with those sentiments. and i now really think there has never been an opportunity for linux to increase that takeup on the desktop. It has a natural home on embedded systems, but beyond the geekiness i believe ubuntu has been and will continue to be vital in increasing that market share overall.

    what i am a little bit disappointed about is that the makers of the netbooks haven't embraced one distro, and for that distro to be ubuntu. It may be sacriligous to say it but i think the plethora of distros and endless customizations and derivatives available is a hindrance to gaining wider acceptance....if consumers and users have problems with 7 different versions of vista - how are they supposed to deal with dozens of linux distros. Yet microsoft utilizing minwin to create these various different tailored OS is a heinous crime but confusing the linux desktop landscape for people who you should be enticing and converting from windows is somehow ok. No, it's cool.

    ubuntu has that chance to be the desktop of choice used by consumers and business users alike. How important was it for the success of windows that the machine a person uses at work is the same they use at home.

    While i know linux is not about locking in, but surely the way to gain greater accpetance is to have that familiarity....OEMs and the netbook makers should be providing gettign started to linux guides with their linux machines so that the concepts that can be taught with ubuntu can lead to more advanced knowledge where a user can progress or try out different distros and derivatives. The good thing about having one vendor as the choice of linux distro for oem's is that that vendor and the oem's can be the source of training material.

    Would firefox have been a success if there wasn't a push - deliberate or otherwise - to have it as in effect a default open source browser. IF we had a dozen different browsers without a clear leader, would it encourage companies and end users to consider alternatives to IE ? Put it this way I don't think it would have helped.

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    Quote Originally Posted by torledo View Post
    ubuntu has that chance to be the desktop of choice used by consumers and business users alike. How important was it for the success of windows that the machine a person uses at work is the same they use at home.

    The good thing about having one vendor as the choice of linux distro for oem's is that that vendor and the oem's can be the source of training material..
    The need for the same desktop at home as a work did not factor at all in Windows success in the home market. Windows success, as ever, was the timely introduction of Windows'95. Finally windows supported proper multitasking and games playing, add to this that all competition had died due mostly to bad marketing or over pricing - Amiga, ST, Acorn, Mac. Had the Amiga been better marketed and the Mac been cheaper then there may have been competition by the time Windows'95 came around.

    Between 93 and 98, 5 clear years, there was little or no true competition for Windows. It wasn't till around '98 that both Linux and MacOS started their marches towards provding some competition for Windows. And neither system even started to make a dent until earlier this decade.

    One 'lead' Linux distro would just create another M$ or Apple, is this what you are advocating? Projects like LSB are more important than one distro to rule them all IMHO.

    Besides it's now all a moot point. We now live in a world were which OS you choose to use is not important. CLI's are more and more the area of sysadmins and GUI's are something to run your web browser in.

    For most people OpenOffice/MS Word is about the only app they'd launch outside their web browser, and with cloud computing and projects like ZoHo on the horizon even the might Word will become web based.

    If you want to teach kids something about computer that they would find useful and help in their degrees/future employement then it's got to be AJAX/Web 2.0/Javascript/XHTML/etc.

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    An interesting times article about how difficult it is to get linux desktop marketshare:
    Why Microsoft and Intel tried to kill the XO $100 laptop - Times Online

    It may be sacriligous to say it but i think the plethora of distros and endless customizations and derivatives available is a hindrance to gaining wider acceptance
    It would kind of defeat the purpose of an opensource operating system if it was one size fits all - After all,l Ubuntu is the new kid on the block, and probably wouldn't have emerged if we all ran redhat

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    Its not when Linux breaks through, its when a specific Distro breaks through the mainstream. Ubuntu being shipped with alot of PC's now, thats what people are going to recognize.

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