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Exercises to Learn the ``Linux Way''

Here is a list of several every-day activities that you should be able to do. Pretty much all of them can be accomplished by either a GUI or the command-line interface. For help with the command-line commands, you will probably want to rely on the man or info commands. I don't care which method you use, but you should be able to do and explain all of the following:

  1. If you haven't already done so, CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD using the yppasswd command. Refer to these guidelines for creating a good password.
  2. On the Physics Department network, your Windows and Linux passwords, although initially the same, are changed separately. You should also *soon* find a departmental Windows machine and change your password there, too.
  3. It is helpful if you download the file ../InitFilesToGet/InitShellAndEmacs.tar.gz and unpack it in your home directory. Follow the directions in the README file. These files will (i) make sure you have a relatively friendly, functional `shell environment' (see the next paragraph) and (ii) do the same for a text editor you may end up using this afternoon and later in the course.
  4. List the files in your home directory. Click on the ``Home'' icon, or the file cabinet in Gnome. Or try out the ls command in a terminal window. Or try running konqueror, which is KDE's file manager. There's probably not much there right now. Set the option to view your ``hidden'' files and folders. How many do you see?
  5. Create a sub-directory to store some of your field session files. If you use the command-line, you will want the mkdir command. Remember that Unix is case sensitive, and that goes for filenames and directory names, too.
  6. Rename the directory to something different. If you use the command line, you'll use the mv command. You can rename it back to the original name, if you'd like.
  7. Make a sub-directory of your Field Session directory, called something like ``MathematicaExamples''.
  8. Copy the file /Net/voodoo/home/truskell/FieldSession/MathematicaExamples.tgz into this new directory.
  9. See if you can figure out how to unpack these files. Note the difference in size between the packed up single file, and all the files unpacked.
  10. Figure out how to create a packed file.
  11. Explore the available applications (15 minutes max)
    1. How many applications can you find that will read pdf files?
    2. How many web browsers did you find?
    3. How many text editors are there?
  12. Check your quota. How much disk space are you using right now? How much disk space do you have left? You may need to use man to figure out how to read the numbers given to you.
  13. ssh into slate and imagine and check out your quotas there. Your password should be the same as your email password. Don't forget to log out when you're done.
  14. Try connecting to and viewing your campus-wide Windows home directory, using the process described in the online documentation, by entering smb://adit\username@hornet in a file browser and following the prompts.

  15. Using one of the text editors you found above, create a simple text file and save it in the director you just created. Make sure its name ends in .txt for ``text.''
  16. View this simple text file. From the command-line, try less, cat, or more. You will probably need to cd into your new directory. You might not notice much difference between these commands with a really small file. You'll view a larger file later.
  17. What are the permissions on the directory and file you just created (ls -l).
  18. To which group do you belong (groups)? Can you change to another group (chgrp)?
  19. If you remove all of the execute permissions on your directory, can you still view the file (chmod)?
  20. What if you remove both read and execute permissions on the directory, but the file still has read permissions? Can you still see it then?
  21. Experiment with the above variations with a friend. See if you can make the file readable only by you. Only by your friend. By neither of you. Can you successfully make a file write-able without making it readable by the same person?
  22. Can you view the file found in my home directory, with the path truskell/FieldSession01/LUG/UnixIntro.txt? What are its permissions? Who owns it? What group does it belong to?
  23. Copy this file to your new directory. (cp).
  24. Are there different permissions/ownerships on the file in my directory compared to the one you copied into your space? What are they? Can you figure out why?
  25. View this simple text file. From the command-line, try less, cat, or more. You will probably need to cd into your new directory.
  26. You should always be thinking about file permissions. Do you really want other people to read your files? How about writing over them?
  27. Figure out which lines in the file UnixIntro.txt contain the word ``Unix.'' (capitalized). How often does it appear non-capitalized (grep).
  28. Determine what programs are running, as well as how much memory and cpu time they are using (top).

Here are some activities to help you adjust to, and modify, the ``look and feel'' of your desktop.

  1. Spend 15 minutes exploring KDE and/or Gnome. In your explorations, remember to try all three mouse buttons when the cursor is over various parts of windows and desktops. Although Windows has only recently begun taking advantage of three mouse buttons, the Unix world has been using them for nearly 35 years. For some of you the middle scroll button may not work, or you may not have a middle mouse button at all. In this case, simply pressing both buttons at once in a ``chord'' will produce the same effect as pressing a single middle mouse button.

  2. Make some configuration changes to alter the ``look and feel'' of your desktop: Change the background image, Create another panel.
  3. Place a CPU monitor on a panel. Add an icon to the panel that launches a terminal window if one isn't already there. Find the OpenOffice quickstart icon and try it out. Add an icon for Mathematica, Mozilla Firefox, and the ``command line''.
  4. If there isn't already one present, you may want to place a file browser icon on one of the panels. If you can find it, let me know.
  5. Investigate `multiple desktops'--you could keep one set of tasks running on one desktop, others in a completely different ones. They can even have very different backgrounds and color schemes.

next up previous
Next: About this document ... Up: Introduction to Physics Department Previous: Security: users, groups, &
David Wood 2007-06-25