GNU/Linux & Free Software Philosophy
Fall 2015
Newton Free Library, Newton, MA

Course Description: GNU/Linux for Teens

Introduction to a user and programmer's perspective of the GNU/Linux operating system. Covers the UNIX shell, creating a document, networking, email and encryption, operating system components (memory management, the file system, devices, the kernel), etc. The class will address the free software philosophy, privacy and data security concerns, and ways to protect personal data and other sensitive information. Assignments will include programming which takes advantages of the operating system features.


Must get a working GNU/Linux system available on a laptop. Recommended version is Debian. One option is to bring a class compatible laptop to a GNU Linux Install fest and get assistance installing a copy of the operating system on the machine which you will be using for the course. If the cost of the laptop is prohibitive, ask via email and we will find you a laptop.

Table 1: Options for access to Debian Operating System (OS)
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Locations and Times of GNU/Linux Installfests

Please pick one of the three solutions from Table 1 and get a working copy of Debian Linux on the laptop you will be using for class well before the course starts. If you find you are having trouble installing Linux, which is not unusual, try getting help at a local installfest. The dates for local Boston installfests can be found at

Course Objectives:

The course will teach students Operating System fundamentals. By the end of the course, the students will understand and be able to describe the following operating systems concepts:

  1. Input/Output
  2. File System / Memory Management / Kernel
  3. The Shell
  4. Write, compile, execute program

Project & Exercises:

There are no exams, quizzes or grades. Exercises and project evaluations will be posted on a web page. There will be


This is a free class with no exams, but missing a lecture may make follow-up lectures more difficult.

Please email notification of any class conflicts due to sports, school activities, etc. before class. I will try to post all lecture notes, project and exercise assignments on the class web site.

Students with documented disabilities must see the instructor as soon as possible.

Tentative Schedule:

Current tentative schedule:

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