Computer Laboratory > Teaching > Course material 2008–09 > Unix Tools


Unix Tools

Principal lecturer: Dr Markus Kuhn
Taken by: Part IB

This non-examinable 10-h lecture course takes you onto a quick tour through a few important and highly useful Unix development tools including the shell, make, Perl and LaTeX on 2008 October 9 – November 11, 10:00–11:00 in Lecture Theatre 1 of the William Gates Building.

Study Materials

All in PDF for easy printing:

Related links

Most of the tools discussed in the course can be explored and used on the PWF Linux installation in the Computer Laboratory’s Teaching Lab, which is currently a customized version of openSUSE Linux 10.3. However, due to home directories residing on a Novell server, PWF Linux has a few quirks and restrictions compared to a typical Unix or Linux system. Problems with PWF Linux should be reported to [but feel free to cc to me (mgk25) as well].

Installing Unix/Linux on your own PC

I like to encourage students who own a PC and are interested in Unix to try out one of the various excellent freely or cheaply available Unix-like operating systems: Linux (Debian, Mandriva, Novell/SUSE, RedHat/Fedora, Gentoo, Knoppix, Ubuntu), NetBSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD. In particular, the Computing Service’s Unix Support runs an FTP and NFS server with all the files and updates for the latest SUSE, Fedora, Debian, and Ubuntu Linux distributions.

The following steps outline briefly, how to install SUSE Linux on your PC. (The instructions and links are for openSUSE Linux 10.3, which is what the PWF uses, but should work similarly for future releases):

First make sure you have space for a generous new harddisk partition. While a minimal system can be installed in as little as 500 MB, partition sizes of 1–4 GB are recommended for a full-featured system. If your entire harddisk is already used by another operating system, you may want to reduce the size of an existing partition first. This can be done without reformatting, using tools such as PartitionMagic or GNU Parted.

Then there are three options for getting the software onto your PC:

Directly from the network: If your PC is connected to the Cambridge University Data Network:

  • Prepare the openSUSE 10.3 installation boot CD by burning the image openSUSE-10.3-GM-i386-mini.iso. This can be done using any CD writing application, on a Linux machine for example with with xcdroast, k3b, or the good old cdrecord.
  • After having booted that, load the necessary kernel module for your Ethernet card, set your IP address, and then configure as the “installation source medium” the Computing Service server that stores the remaining installation files:
    • protocol: NFS
    • server name:
    • directory: linux/opensuse/i386/10.3/repo/oss
      (addons: linux/opensuse/i386/10.3/repo/non-oss)
  • To perform online updates after the initial installation is complete, add in YaST the Installation Source
    • protocol: HTTP
    • server name:
    • directory: pub/linux/suse/update/10.3
    to fetch automatic updates also from a local Computing Service server.
  • More information can be found on the openSUSE download and documentation pages.

Using the Computing Service as an installation source will not create network traffic outside Cambridge, for which your college would otherwise be charged. If you are not on the University network, use another server.

From self-made CDs/DVD: Alternatively, you can burn yourself the the full five CDs or the single DVD from the ISO images provided by the Computing Service. There is also a Installing Novell SUSE Linux in Cambridge page there.

From bought CDs/DVD: Finally, boxed sets of these CDs with printed manuals are available in various computer stores in town (PCWorld, Maplin, etc.).