I hate to flog the dead horse, but if you make it more
them to use they will be better off then just a "you need to do it"
We just don't have time. Theres so much we want to teach them to let
them use the labs effectively for coding (things like make, cvs, ssh,
bash scripting, perl/python/ruby scripting, how X11 works....) that we
can't fit more stuff into our schedule.
In particular, by the time we're giving the tutorials, they are expected
to be using the labs to do their first assignments.
We've made a conscious decision to teach them the bare minimum to get
any use out of the labs so we can cover a very broad set of topics.
They're 2nd year Computer Science Students, so they are expected to be
able to "deal" with situations such as learning another programming
language quickly and without direction. They're expected to be able to
learn to use Linux by themselves and without help. We're just trying to
make their lives more productive by showing them the tricks you need to
know to be productive *as a programmer* in the university computer labs.
This specifically means that we're not covering:
* System administration -- TSG manage all the computers, users don't
* "User applications" -- If you need a replacement for word/power
point/excel, you're expected to be able to figure out what that "Open
Office" icon on your desktop means without our help.
* Advanced tools -- This is meant to get users up to speed with doing
programming under Linux. Things like "make", "cvs", "how X11
are all very important topics to using Linux effectively, but they are
too advanced to fit into the time allocated. And, (IMHO) these are more
important to our end users then an introduction to how to use OpenOffice.
* Programming *for* Linux -- we don't cover things like the unix
syscalls, and only very briefly cover the unix process model (just
enough so that the users know how to kill errant processes without
rebooting the machine). We for instance don't cover what fork(2) or
exec(2) is, or what the various unix signals mean or how to catch them.
After all, no one likes too leave their comfort zone,
and if they must
it would be better for them to do so in a manor that would be easy for
them to understand, and if that means exposing them too the side of
Linux that is not part of the course needs, will it really hurt?
I'd love to do this, but we just don't have the time.
One problem I encounter with linux is the
"server" impression of linux.
Not many people really seem to be aware that linux can be a desktop
platform, and as a result fun to use. If you can impose this on the
students it would be a good start, in my opinion.
Well, students have to use this as their "Desktop" at uni, coz well,
thats all they have access to :) The labs this year (I believe) are
running a very recent version of Gentoo which means they should get a
reasonably up to date KDE or GNOME desktop (depending on what they want)
with reasonably up to date applications. They should be in an
environment where they can learn to use Linux as a desktop operating
system without much work.
Also if the students are using it at home then it will
be better for
them in a work situation as well.
Now, that's something I'd like to see. We've "reserved" the March
Meeting topic slot for an Installfest/Introduction to Linux, hopefully
capturing the students and getting them to join the LUG. We're hoping
to give out Knoppix CD's to interested users so they can try Linux at
home before they come to the LUG meeting. Perhaps "Customised" so that
they bring the people interested in Linux to the LUG.
I think an installfest is long over due... be sure to sing out for help....
The committee has specifically been holding off having an installfest
until all the uni students are back at uni so we have a good "user base"
to advertise to. Especially since the Computer Science University
Students have to run Linux at uni, they're practically a captive audience.