On Fri, Jan 28, 2000 at 02:56:50PM +0000, David Neary mentioned:
> I hate to disagree with Kate,
Yeah, 'cos I'm likely to get medieval on your ass.
> but I think this deserves a substantial
> amount of time. Considering that most people doing courses like this want
> to end up either programming or as sysadmins, and the major problems that
> Unix sysadmins have to handle are configuring and managing Samba server,
> Netware servers, printer configuration over a network and so on. People
> working as sysadmins will be in an environment where there will be servers
> interfacing transparently with several MS clients.
Indeed. However, without knowing TCP/IP, knowledge of Samba & NFS
configuration files are of dubious advantage. It's much better to explain
to someone how networking works, then say "NFS is a file-sharing mechanism
based on RPC, these are usually what config files are called, checkout
this example /etc/exports file, NEXT!".
Maybe do a bit more on Samba, but not much more. There are hundreds of
applications that ship with Linux. There is no point spending a more than
seconds on a few of the major applications, and the rest of the time on
the operating system itself - binutils, shelltools, etc, how Linux works,
the idea behind GNU - arm people so that they can work it all out by
relying on one of Linux's strongest points "The principle of least
astonishment" - the fact that if you wonder "How could this be done",
after a while with Linux, you can guess what the answer is.
> I think the suggestion to go over basic firewalling is a good one, and i'd
> also go over the basics of setting up sendmail.
Why ? Many linux boxes don't use sendmail at all. Big installations often
use Qmail or Postfix itself. Again, it's more valuable to know how SMTP
works, than how sendmail works. "Sendmail is an MTA. It can be configured
with a nasty /etc/mail/sendmail.cf, or by an M4 configuration file, that
I'd recommend. NEXT!".
> There's an argument that
> it's better to give people the tools by which they can discover that stuff
> on their own, but I think there's the scope to do both...start with the
> tools, and then (as a physical exercise, perhaps?) go through the most
> common configuration tasks that have to be done with a Linux server.
If anyone gave me an exam on the apps that ship with Linux, I'd hunt them
down like the dogs they were, and ram all CDs of apps & source that ship
with SuSE these days where the sun don't shine. One after the other, to
reinforce my point.
When I did "Operating systems architechture", we focused on Unix as a
modern operating system. We learned about virtual memory, processes,
shared memory. Good, learnable stuff. Going further, and learning about
operating systems by focusing on Linux is a nice *practical* idea, but you
learn nothing by looking at applications in depth.
Perhaps, having labs like "Setup a Samba server, and then mount a
filesystem from the person at the linux box next to you" would be good.
But a course shouldn't focus on applications, unless it's an applications
course. Do remember, that ~5% or less of people in a college computer
course are going to use actual application knowledge. In fact, by the time
they get into the real world, said application could have been replaced by
Teach people principles in lectures, application of theory in labs, and
tell them where to get a book/website on the rest. I wonder would "Go to
freshmeat.net for info on specific packages, and rufus.w3.org for RPMs of
everything you want" have a place on a college course ?
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