CS41 - Linux Workstation Administration

David Morgan



I am enthusiastic about linux. Because you chose to join this course you must be too. Good to have you here. It should be fun.

Course Particulars


CS 50, C Programming (ability to read and follow C programs)

Required textbooks

A Practical Guide to Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Seventh Edition, Mark Sobell, Prentice Hall, 2014, ISBN: 978-0-13-347743-6 

Course description

This course introduces the Linux operating system to students as users, programmers, and administrators. Students import a Fedora linux virtual machine in VirtualBox. Use of fundamental commands, their graphical interface counterparts, editors, and programming tools are emphasized. Students learn to write shell script programs; read, compile, and execute a series of demonstration C programs; and install applications using the open source software distribution model. Central disciplines of local administration are covered, such as user account management, backup, task scheduling, logging, and local system security.


Grades for the course are determined as a weighted average over a series of homework assignments and tests. In past semesters there have usually been 2 tests (including final) and about 10 assignments. While there might be variation this is representative. The tests have accounted for somewhat less and the assignments collectively somewhat more than 50% of the final course grade.

Averages are mathematically quite sensitive to missing terms. There can be a full-grade swing, everything else equal, between a zero- and a hundred-point score on a single assignment. Avoid zero-point scores by doing every assignment and gaining points for it (omitting results in zero). While a score of 50 may be considered poor, it is very good in terms of numerically sustaining an average relative to just skipping the assignment.

Grading Scale:

A 90 -100%
B 80 - 89
C 70 - 79
D 60 - 69
F Below 60%

Canvas - a learning management system, will be employed in the course. You can log in to Canvas with your SMC student credentials at www.smc.edu/canvas.

Academic dishonesty - The SMC Honor statement, signed by each student upon enrollment, reads: "In the pursuit of the high ideals and rigorous standards of academic life, I commit myself to respect and uphold the Santa Monica College Honor Code, Code of Academic Conduct, and Student Conduct Code. I will conduct myself honorably as a responsible member of the SMC community in all endeavors I pursue."

Please be extremely careful that you do not engage in any behavior that could even be construed as cheating. Violations could result in failing grades, reports to the Campus Disciplinarian, and subsequent academic disciplinary action. Examples of behaviors that are not permitted include but are not limited to: copying another student's homework, inappropriate language or physicality in the classroom, and inappropriate behaviors during an exam (talking with another student, looking at or copying from another student's paper, using a disallowed PDA or calculator, using disallowed notes, leaving the room without prior permission, removing exam materials from the classroom). Honest and ethical students are protected in this class.esults in automatic zero on the affected work and automatic issue of an Academic Dishonesty Report Form. The Form enters your record along with regular grades to indicate your dishonesty. I am exerting an honest effort to contribute to your education for your benefit. If you intend to repay it with deception drop the class.

Title IX

Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Students who have experienced some form of sexual misconduct or discrimination are encouraged to talk to someone about their experience, so they can get the support they need. 
To learn more about support available for students, please see https://www.smc.edu/student-support/sexual-violence-response-prevention/learn-about-title-ix/index.php. You can also call Lisa Winter, Compliance Administrator Title IX Coordinator, at 310-434-4225.


A grade of "Incomplete" may only be granted at the very end of the term, when 90% of the course work has been satisfactorily completed by the student, but an unforeseen event or illness prevents the student from completing the coursework. "Incomplete" grade situations are extremely rare, and are entirely at the discretion of the instructor.


Emergency Preparedness

The safety of students at SMC is a priority. Please note that emergency procedures are posted in every classroom. For more information please see:: https://www.smc.edu/administration/emergency-preparedness/index.php.

Please take the time to familiarize yourself with these procedures today, when knowledge of what to do can be the most effective.

Makeup work - Assignments: not accepted after due date. Makeup tests: will not be given. Test grades will not be dropped. If the final exam is missed you will not pass the course.

Drop policy - Students are responsible for maintaining their own enrollment status. Several date deadlines apply:

Last Day to Withdraw to Receive a Refund: JUN 25, 2022
Last Day to Withdraw to Avoid a "W": JUN 29, 2022
Last Day to Withdraw to Guarantee a "W": JUL 29, 2022
Last Day to Request for Pass/No Pass Grade: AUG 12, 2022

Leaving yourself officially enrolled without submitting the required work results in an F. I may drop students for inactivity.

Office hours - we will conduct office hours using Zoom, non-mandatory. 

To reach me outside class: 

Student learning outcomes - write and run shell script programs; install and administer Linux on a local workstation.

Students with disabilities - I am happy to make academic adjustments for students with documented disabilities. Please contact the Center for Students with Disabilities if this applies to you. The Center for Students with Disabilities is located in Room 101 of the Admission/Student Services Complex, next to Admissions. For more information, call (310) 434-4265 or (310) 434-4273.

Semester dates and calendar -


Student codes of conduct -



College's Frequently Asked Questions page.


Worthy books

Linux Administration Handbook, Evi Nemeth, Trent H. Hein, Garth Snyder, Ben Whaley, Dan Mackin
Prentice Hall, 5th edition, 2018

Linux Bible, Christopher Negus, Wiley, 10th edition, 2020

Understanding Unix/Linux Programming: A Guide To Theory and Practice, Bruce Molay, Prentice Hall, 2003

Beginning Linux Programming, Neil Matthew and Richard Stones, Wiley, 4th edition, 2008

UNIX Shells by Example, Ellie Quigley, Prentice Hall, Paperback, September 2005