Linux Operating System CIS126DL

NOTE: Students are required to read and comply with the information contained in this syllabus
Instructor: Phil Waclawski
AIM/Google Talk: linuxphilw (Instructors home page) Course Home Page
Unix is a Four Letter Word
UNIXhelp for users

Section: 25510 Mon, Wed 7:10-9:50pm Room BA6W
Lab Hours See Schedule
Office: BPO 26
Office Phone: 480 461-7468

*******Absolutely must get by the end of the second week of class, a 20gig or larger USB 2/3 High speed Hard Drive (not a flash drive), should be under $100***** (If you can get virtual box working on your laptop, that's Fine as well)
This is an absolute must. I don't want to be mean, but if you don't have this (or a laptop that can handle virtual box/vmware) by the second week I will withdraw you from the class. Over 3/4 of the entire course revolves around our installing Linux to a hard disk, and no, ZIP disks, or home computers will NOT substitute (Laptops can potentially, but network issues are your own problem). I'm sorry, but I am under hardware restraints and the logistical restraints of teaching this course. If you don't already have one, buy one in the next week or so. NOTE: If it is formatted with the NTFS, PLEASE log in as admin on your machine and set "everybody" permissions to "All".


NOTE: Some Linux books are available at for a monthly subscription fee.

The Suggested Books: Linux Essentials 2012 by Roderick W. Smith. Pub by Sybex.
UNIX And Linux System Administration Handbook, Fourth edition (or later) by Evi Nemeth, Prentice Hall
UNIX in a Nutshell. pub by O'reilly.
Linux in a Nutshell, 3rd ed pub by O'reilly.
The Linux Journal

Rough Schedule (expect some modifications)
Week of: Topic Reading/etc
M: Jan 16 Holiday no Class
W: Jan 18 Intro to UNIX/Linux
The Linux Command Line
Methods of Communicating
How to find answers
SSH/Putty SSH Help For connecting to
M: Jan 23 File and Directory Structure
File Manipulation and Maintenance (vi etc.)
Printing for users
W: Jan 25 File Permissions
Moving, copying, deleting files and directories, also linking
Disk Space Management(User)
  Piping and redirection
Job Control/Multitasking
Prep for online/email EXAM 1
M: Jan 30 Basic Installation, basic Network Configuration, Installation Issues (esp. Hardware) BE READY TO DO INSTALL TODAY!!
W: Feb 1 Managing Users and Groups Chapter
M: Feb 6 Printing, cron, tar/rpm/yum
Using Yum/Apt repositories
HD and File System management
W: Feb 8 Xwindows/Desktop Environments
M: Feb 13 Basic Network Configuration Exam 2 Handed Out
W: Feb 15 Security  
M: Feb 20 Holiday no CLass
W: Feb 22 Upgrading Software, Kernel Recompiles  
M: Feb 27 Monitoring performance, logs. Process management. Exam 2 Due
W: March 1 Bash Shell Scripting Exam 3 Handed Out
M: March 8 Continue Shell Scripting Portsentry SystemD file>
Newuser script
W: March 10 Additional Shell Scripting, Grading Script cont. Exam 3 Due, Last Day, Everything Due, Especially Grading Script Results

MCCD Official Course Competencies for CIS126DL

  1. Understand the history and nature of Open Source software (I)
  2. Demonstrate ability to install a variety of Linux distributions. (II)
  3. Compare and contrast variety of Linux distributions (II)
  4. Navigate the Linux file system hierarchy (II)
  5. Create, manage, and delete user accounts, groups and permissions. (II)
  6. Demonstrate basic Linux shell commands including file and directory commands, archiving and compression. (III)
  7. Use the Visual Editor (Vi) to edit and create text documents. (III)
  8. Configure printers for use on a workstation or network. (IV)
  9. Understand X Window system architecture. (IV)
  10. Use graphic utility to configure graphic display. (IV)
  11. Research shell commands using the -help option and Manual (Man) pages. (V)
  12. Install applications using Red Hat Package Manager (RPMs) and compression utilities such as Tape Archive (tar) and gzip. (V)
  13. Use network-based applications such as browsers, telnet, file transfer protocol (FTP) and email. (V)
  14. Demonstrate knowledge of a variety of GNU Object Model Environment (GNOME) and K Desktop Environment (KDE) applications. (V)
  15. Troubleshoot problems related to operating system installation and configuration. (VI)

Canvas Course Page
We will be using Canvas for class discussions, some assignments, and of course posting your grades. You will need to have a MEID, and use that and your password to access canvas. Announcements and additional assignments will be posted there as well. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to check canvas regularly!

NOTE: Schedule and Assignments are Subject to Change
      We only have 8 weeks to complete the material, so we will be moving at a brisk pace. I can change the above schedule and assignments as I feel is needed, in all cases ample warning will be given in class. We may end up a bit ahead of schedule, depending on the semester and the class as well. If you fail to attend class and miss those notices, it's your fault. Always make sure to check with fellow students or the instructor when you get back for any changes to the schedule

Open Lab Requirements
      The official lab policies are on canvas. As stated in the schedule, you are required to spend at least 2 additional hours in the open lab per class period. There will be outside of class assignments and you will need to find time to do them. Expect to spend several hours a week on this course outside of class. I will be available during my lab hours for help, and possibly other times by arrangement.

      I grade on a straight scale based on percentage of total points. If you attend the classes, do the work, spend time every week in the open lab, you should do well in this course.
90%    A
80%    B
70%    C
60%    D
Below 60% is an F

NO INCOMPLETES will be given for this class

      There will be at least one "email" exam, and 2-3 "take to lab" exams, where you will be given a week to finish them. They will be 100-200 pts each. The Final exam will be as stated in the schedule above during finals week, and will be 100pts. All exams (except #1) will need your Linux setup running.

Projects and Assignments
      There will be numerous small projects. Often you will be sending me the results as email attachments. Approximately 300pts of your grade will be based in the small projects and 50pts for discussions.

**Important Course Policies**
      I assume everyone in class is a mature, professional person. While I feel confident no one will do any of the following, there are a few class policies to lay out.

      First, you CAN do a LOT of damage to our equipment in this course. During installation be extremely sure of my directions. Anyone who wipes the hard drives on the machines will probably be withdrawn from class.

      Additionally, you will be given information about IP addresses for the network part of this course. Anyone using this information to compromise MCC's networks (or enabling someone else to do so) will be dealt with by the college, and the legal authorities will also be notified.

      I am continuing to build this class as we go. If you do not make attendance in class (and open lab) a priority, you will not do well in this course. I can't stress this enough. You knew when this class met when you signed up for it, so you have no excuse short of illness, death in the family etc. Please do everything you can to attend all classes.

Enrollment of District/College/Department Employees and their friends and relatives

      Are you a district employee, relative of a district employee or otherwise have a personal relationship with the instructor, instructors college etc? Please let the instructor know immediately so he can inform the district of any potential "enrollement irregularities".

Withdrawing From Class
      Up until the student withdrawal date, you can withdraw yourself from the class or ask me. AFTER THAT date, you will be assigned the grade you earned unless there are special circumstances that justify a W.

Class Fee Refund Policy
Please see the college handbook for refund policies and dates. Note that there is usually a VERY short period of time where you can drop and get any refund, let alone a full refund. It's your responsibility to keep track of these dates. For the summer they are just short of non-existent.

Change In Class Refund Policy

      Beginning Spring 2008, students will be charged tuition and fees when dropped from classes after the 100% refund period (whether through the purge process for non-payment or instructor removal for failure to attend).

Requesting your final Grade Early
      In accordance with FERPA (Federal education records privacy act) I can only give out grades to the student who earned them. So, if you want to request your grade by email (because you just will die if you have to wait for it to arrive by snail mail ;), it MUST be done via the campus email system ( Requests from any other email will be ignored.

Plagiarism and Cheating
      Check the college catalog for official school policies. Again, I don't expect this to be a problem, but if it does become a problem, I'll push for the most severe punishment the administration allows. Remember, using more than 4 words in a row without quoting (and including a source) is plagiarism.

Cell Phones, Pagers
      These have become a horrendous problem of late. ALL cell phones should be turned off during class time. You will get at most one warning. After that, I may consider either taking points away, or if it continues, withdrawing you from the class. You can live for a couple of hours without your phones (Just 3-4 years ago, hardly anyone had these blasted things, and yet civilization didn't collapse, so you can live without it for an hour or two). There may be periodic breaks for you to go outside and call if you need to do so. Pagers should be put on vibrate, but only if they are quiet when they buzz. Note, anyone actually ANSWERING the phone in class will be asked to leave immediately, and not to come back that day, or possibly ever.

Laptops in Class

      You are welcome to use your laptop in class. You may not be able to plug it in where you want to, and may have to sit at the edges of class if you need power. You must NOT unplug the classroom computers, nor unplug the ethernet cables to use for your laptop. Too many people are disconnecting our machines and making things difficult for the other classes.

Disciplinary Standards
      Students who violated the disciplinary standards of MCC (page 26 of the 2000-2001 college catalog) will be removed from class, and if appropriate, withdrawn. Misconduct for which students are subject to disciplinary action falls into the general areas of:

  1. Cheating on an examination, laboratory work, written work (plagiarism); falsifying, forging or altering college records.
  2. Actions or verbal statements which threaten the personal safety of any faculty, staff, students, or others lawfully assembled on the campus, or any conduct which is harmful, obstructive, disruptive to, or interferes with the educational process or institutional functions.
  3. Violation of Arizona statutes, and/or college regulations and policies.

General Standards Governing Use of Maricopa County Community College District Computer Resources Handbook:
      Maricopa's computing resources specifically prohibits: "Transmitting, storing or receiving data, or otherwise using computer resources in a manner that would constitute a violation of state or federal law, including (but not limited to) obscenity, defamation, threats, harassment and theft.

Violations of ANY provisions of the Standards, which are detailed in the Handbook, could result in immediate termination of a user's access to Maricopa's computing resources, as well as appropriate disciplinary or legal action.

Sexual Harassment Policy for Employees and Students
      The policy of the Maricopa Community Colleges is provide an educational, employment, and business environment free of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal and/or physical conduct or communications constituting sexual harassment as defined and otherwise prohibited by local, state and federal law.

Sexual harassment by and between employees, students, employees and students, and campus visitors and students or employees is prohibited by this policy.

Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employees, sanctions up to and including suspension or expulsion for students, and appropriate sanctions against campus visitors.

This policy is subject to constitutionally protected speech rights and principles of academic freedom. Questions about this policy may be directed to the Maricopa Community Colleges Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action (EEO/AA) Office.

Information for Students with Disabilities:

If you have a documented disability, including a learning disability, and would like to discuss possible accommodations, please contact the MCC Disabilities Resources and Services (DRS) office at 480-461-7447 or email

To ensure equal access, all required course materials provided in web links are expected to meet AA Standard of Compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. All internal and external course links should be evaluated by the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool. Course materials are expected to be in compliance, or an alternative option provided upon the students request. Students with disabilities must have an equally effective and equivalent educational opportunity as those students without disabilities. Students experiencing difficulty accessing course materials because of a disability are expected to contact the course instructor so that a solution can be found that provides all students equal access to course materials and technology.

MCC Early Alert Program (EARS)

Mesa Community College is committed to the success of all our students. Numerous campus support services are available throughout your academic journey to assist you in achieving your educational goals. MCC has adopted an Early Alert Referral System (EARS) as part of a student success initiative to aid students in their educational pursuits. Faculty and Staff participate by alerting and referring students to campus services for added support. Students may receive a follow up call from various campus services as a result of being referred to EARS. Students are encouraged to participate, but these services are optional. Early Alert Web Page with Campus Resource Information can be located at:

Murphy's Law of Computers
      Things go wrong and will. :) I have put in a great number of hours every semester working on this course. I will continue to put a great number of hours into the course (outside my scheduled hours). I want this to be a fun course, and a very useful one. However, I can't guarantee that everything will work, or that we will be able to do everything. I will do my utmost to test out material and assignments thoroughly before they are passed out, but we are setting up and configuring a very powerful and complex set of software, and things will be altered, edited, added and deleted from the above schedule. Changes will be put on the web pages as time permits, but they will be announced in class. Therefore, attendance is crucial.