Course pages 2011–12
No. of lectures: 10
Operating Systems provides a useful foundation for this course.
This non-examinable course provides students with basic Unix/Linux experience some important practical skills in using the Unix shell as an efficient working environment. It also introduces some popular software-engineering tools for working in teams, as well as formatting and data-analysis tools for preparing dissertations and scientific publications. These skills are essential not only for future practical CST projects, but for participating effectively in most real-world software projects.
- Unix concepts. Brief review of Unix history and design philosophy, documentation, terminals, inter-process communication mechanisms and conventions, shell, command-line arguments, environment variables, file descriptors.
- Shell basics. Program invocation, redirecting standard I/O, pipes, file-system navigation, argument expansion, quoting, job control, signals, process groups, variables, locale.
- Shell script programming and configuration. Efficient command entry with history and alias functions. Scripts, plain-text file formats, control structures, functions. Customizing user environments. Basics of X Window System configuration. Some notes on PWF Linux.
- Common tools. Overview of common text, shell, and network utilities and their most frequently used options, including sed, grep, chmod, find, ssh, rsync, packaging and compression tools.
- Revision control systems. diff, patch, RCS, Subversion, git.
- Software development tools. C compiler, linker and debugger, makefiles.
- Perl. Introduction to a powerful scripting and text manipulation language. [2 lectures]
- LATEX. Typesetting basics, introduction to the most popular tool for scientific document formatting.
- Number crunching and data visualization. Use of MATLAB on PWF machines.
At the end of the course students should
- be confident in performing routine user tasks on a POSIX system, understand command-line user-interface conventions and know how to find more detailed documentation;
- appreciate how a range of simple tools can be combined with little effort in pipes and scripts to perform a large variety of tasks;
- be familiar with the most common tools, file formats and configuration practices;
- be able to understand, write, and maintain shell scripts and makefiles;
- appreciate how using revision control systems and fully automated build processes help to maintain reproducibility and audit trails during software development;
- know enough about basic development tools to be able to install and modify C source code;
- have gained experience in using Perl, LATEX and MATLAB.
* Lamport, L. (1994). LATEX - a documentation preparation system user’s guide and reference manual. Addison-Wesley (2nd ed.).
Robbins, A. (2005). Unix in a nutshell. O’Reilly (4th ed.).
Schwartz, R.L., Foy, B.D. & Phoenix, T. (2011). Learning Perl. O’Reilly (6th ed.).