CIS 191A (Fall 2008) Section 58079

Calendar   Grades

UNIX/Linux Installation & Configuration (CIS 191A)

  • 8 weeks (9/2 to 10/21)
  • Tuesdays - 5:30PM to 9:50PM - Aptos Main Campus - Room 2501
  • Open Lab - 4 hr 20 min per week to be arranged - CTC or CIS Lab
  • Units: 2, prerequisites: CIS 90 or equivalent
  • Required Textbook (available at College Bookstore):
  • Required Supplies (available online or at local electronics stores):

Course Description (from Cabrillo Schedule of Classes)

Teaches the installation and configuration of the Linux operating system on a personal computer for use as a workstation or server.

Student Learner Outcomes

Students will get very comfortable installing, configuring and troubleshooting Linux. Specifically they will:

  • Understand the overall Linux architecture
  • Understand UNIX/Linux file systems
  • Understand system startup and shutdown
  • Be able to configure kernel load parameters, etc/inittab, runlevels and services
  • Be able to use new UNIX/Linux commands to navigate, configure and inventory systems
  • Create and manipulate virtual machines (using VMware Server)
  • Perform Linux installations/upgrades on virtual/physical computers
  • Install more complex custom multi-OS installations (dual/triple boots)
  • Install different distributions of Linux
  • Partition and re-partition drives
  • Understand how to configure and troubleshoot boot loaders
  • Create, mount, unmount files systems
  • Troubleshoot installation, booting and rooting problems
  • Understand Linux package managers and how to install software
  • Configure X windows and networking
  • Build a custom Linux distribution and bootable media

A day in the life

Students will arrive into a classroom full of computers. Seating is open and not assigned, however students will tend to glue themselves to a particular seat or area after only a few classes go by. There should be enough computers for everyone. Students are welcome to bring their own laptops if they wish.

Classes will always start right on time. There will be a very short quiz at the beginning of most classes as a way of making this actually happen. As long as a student attended the previous class or kept up with the forum they will know what the questions (and even the answers) will be. However, if class is missed, or the student arrives late, there are no opportunities for makeup’s. Of course, if a student really wants or needs the points there is always extra credit. Following the quiz there will be some time allocated to taking questions on the previous week's lesson material or lab assignment before moving on.

Next will be lecture on new material. This lecture format will use the whiteboard, PowerPoint’s and live demonstrations. Periodic breaks will happen usually around the start of each hour. In general during class, the computers will be on so students can Google information and do exercises based on the new lecture material. The last part of the class will cover the upcoming lab assignment.

Lab Assignments

This course includes both lecture and labs. The day and times of the lecture portion are shown above and in the Cabrillo Schedule. The lab assignments comprise the arranged portion of the course also shown in the Cabrillo Schedule. The labs are designed to continue the learning process and provide students with practical hands-on experience. Each lab involves using a live Linux system. The CIS Lab (room 2504 on main campus) and the CTC (building 1400) have equipment for doing lab assignments and these two facilities are available to all CIS students. The Opus server, available remotely over the Internet, is another Linux resource for CIS Linux students. Typically labs will be submitted electronically using the Opus server. Expect each weekly lab assignment to take an average of 4 hr 20 min to complete. As you would expect, some labs will require less time while others will require more. Please plan accordingly.

Late work will not be accepted

Please complete all assignments on time as they will not be accepted if they are late. This will help both the student and instructor keep the class moving and avoid log jams at the end of the term. All assignments are due by midnight (Pacific Time) of the due date shown in the Course Calendar. If an assignment is not complete by the deadline it is better to make an incomplete submittal for partial credit than no submittal at all. There is always extra credit work for students needing extra points.

Contacting the Instructor

Instructor contact information and office hours are shown on Cabrillo Salsa page. The phone number listed there is really only voice mail. As voice mail isn't always picked up right away, email or the forum is faster and preferred. For personal matters use office hours or email. Please include the name of the class in your email subject lines to get past spam filters. For everything else use the forum and everyone can benefit from the public questions and answers.

Help Forum

There is an electronic Help Forum for this class. This forum is intended to be a place where students can share information, ask questions, and get answers. The forum is especially intended to be a resource for completing lab assignments. It offers a way to ask questions about an obstacle or some less-than-meaningful error message, and to share solutions to those problems. Everyone should be courteous and respectful on the forum. Off-topic, rude or otherwise inappropriate posts will be removed. Joining the forum requires member registration with a real first and last name. Fake or anonymous screen names will not be allowed to register. Avatars that are photographs of the forum member are a great way for everyone to get to know each other.

Web Site

All the important course information is on This includes links to the forums, resources, lab assignments, flash-cards, lecture slides, grades, and the course calendar. Note that this material may change. If you print something like a lab assignment, please check the web site before submitting your work to make sure you have the latest version. The flash-cards are an optional tool students can use to drill important Linux knowledge into their brains.

Classroom Etiquette

It is important to have an effective, distraction-free classroom environment for learning. To minimize distractions all cell-phones should be turned off or at least silenced. Never carry on conversations during the lecture as this is probably the most annoying distraction possible to those sitting nearby. Computers can be turned on for viewing lecture slides locally, Google-ing related technical information, and doing classroom exercises. A student's full attention is desired so the computers should not be used during lecture for email or anything that would distract from the material being taught. Please plan on coming to all classes. If class will be missed let the instructor know ahead of time. It is the student's responsibility to get any missed material or information from other classmates (the forum is a good way to do this). Please note that missing more that two classes or being disruptive is grounds for being dropped from the class by the instructor.

Grading Policy

Grading will be based on quizzes/tests, lab assignments, participation on the help forum, and a final project. Your grade in the class should not be a surprise. Visit Grades to see how grades are determined and monitor your progress. Please notify the instructor if any mistakes are found.

There is always extra credit for those who need extra points. The Grades web page can be monitored to decide if any extra credit work is needed.

Students who just want to learn and not mess around with grades, can always take the class as pass/no pass. Indicate this on the Student Survey provided in the first class. You can change your mind later by contacting the instructor.

Special learning needs

Students with disabilities, including "invisible" disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning, and psychological disabilities, are encouraged to explain their needs and appropriate accommodations to the instructor during office hours. Please bring a verification of your disability from the Learning Skills or DSP&S offices and a counselor or specialist's recommendations for accommodating your needs. Students needing *accommodations* should contact the instructor ASAP. As required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), accommodations are provided to insure equal opportunity for students with verified disabilities. If you need assistance with an accommodation, please contact Disabled Student services, Room 810, 479-6379, or Learning Skills Program Room 1073, 479-6220 to make arrangements as soon as possible.

Missing Classes and Drops

It is the student's responsibility to officially withdraw from classes. If you miss more than two classes, the instructor may drop you from the course enrollment unless prior arrangements have been made and agreed to.