Summary: suggestions for Unix admin course

Summary: suggestions for Unix admin course

Post by jon.. » Tue, 18 Feb 1992 22:02:30


Sorry for the delay but the local network was down over the week-end.  I
received a number of replies (see the list of contributors at end) for which
you have my thanks.  Here's the summary.

THINGS FOR STUDENTS TO LEARN. (in no particular order)

Where the docs are - no need to memorise every command and its switch,
                   - have a good idea about everything and know where to find
                     the details      
Shell scripting - automate everything you can
                - don't reinvent the wheel
                - do as little C programming as possible
Networking/communications - in this era of connectivity know how to set them up
                            and fix problems
                          - problems with mail a big part
Responsibility - having root privilege doesn't give you the right to peep at
                 user files
               - be 115% sure of everything you do when root
               - only use root when absolutely necessary
Keep the user productive - provide a congenial/productive environment
                         - you'll only hear from a user when they complain
                         - it's not your job to "teach Joe User Unix", but
                           set up methods for them to teach themselves
Backups - set up a regular schedule, automated if possible
        - a full backup at least once a week and incremental daily
        - keep separate copies of root and swap partitions on another disk
Log book - keep a log book of all changes/additions to the system
Installing/Upgrading OSes and utilities
Dealing with Faculty users as well as student users.  In other words users
who really think they know what they are talking about.


Patience, dedication, curiosity, responsibility, creativity, experience,
professionalism and *retentiveness.

        "Good judgement comes from experience.
         Experience comes from bad judgement."


A couple of people commented on the fact that this is a good way of getting
cheap, reliable system administrators for on-campus machines.  At the moment
our campus doesn't have that many machines but plans are in motion and it is
likely this subject will become a second (sophomore?) year subject.

It has also been noted that this subject has great potential for being
tremendous fun.  

The plan is to have them set up a Unix box with a couple of local terminals and
then connect to the local machine.  While doing this the students will have to
decide upon and setup administrative practices (i.e. help desk, log book
system, backups, quotas etc).

Once they've done that I come along and do all the * things I can think of
and have them handle the errors and recover.  Then we open the system up to
the campus nasties and give them brownie points for cracking the system.

If there is sufficient interest I'll post updates as the subject develops.


Thanks again.


Department of Maths & Computing       |   did not totally create
University of Central Queensland      |   yourself."
Rockhampton, Australia.               |  -- Ken Thompson.


1. suggestions for Unix admin course


I have been asked to set up a special topic subject for third year
undergrad students to provide an introduction to systems administration.

The method I plan to use is to have them set up and run a system with three or
four terminals.  Then have them hand out accounts to selected people and
manage the system.  

The following is a preliminary list of topics I will want to cover
        Advanced Unix (they can't manage it unless they know how it works)
        User assistance (some of the accounts will be given to Unix novices)
        System maintenance, (performance tweaking, software updates/porting)

I'd like to know what you didn't know when you started, and would have like to?
What qualities and experience are needed to become a good systems
administrator?  What topics should be covered (the above is by no means
exhaustive)?   How do you rate the relative importance of the various topics?

Any suggestions will be welcome.

I will summarise and post all e-mail responses I receive.

Thanks in advance.


Department of Maths & Computing       |   did not totally create
University of Central Queensland      |   yourself."
Rockhampton, Australia.               |  -- Ken Thompson.

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