Linux Accounts for Computer Science Students


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Copyright © 2004 Herbert J. Bernstein and other parties. All rights reserved.

Linux Accounts

Most people who use computers, use Microsoft Windows ® (MS Windows), which has many software development tools, some of which have license fees and some of which are free. A very important free set of tools is Visual Studio 2010 Express.

However, it can be very difficult to do development for environments other than the most current of MS Windows using Visual Studio. The gold standard for modern multi-platform software development is the tool set Linux, the most popular version of Unix (see the Wikipedia article on Linux). There are even free Linux-like environments you may use under MS Windows, such as MINGW (Minimalist GNU for Windows).

To summarize, for most students, the Dowling laboratory computers running MS Windows are sufficient. However, for serious work in Computer Science, MS Windows is often not appropriate, and working in a Unix environment is necessary. In such cases, your instructor will arrange an account on a Linux machine. You will be given the name of the computer, your user name and your initial password in class. Your dowling intranet user name will not work for this purpose.

The computer you will use is a shared resource, and some of the work you do will be publicly available on the web. If you abuse your Linux account in such a way that you interfere with use of the machine by other people, violate their privacy, or post inappropriate materail on the web, your account will be terminated, you will be permanently barred from use of the system and you will not be able to complete necessary work for the course.

You may access your account from any other computer on the internet, provided it has software for access allowing use of VNC via SSH: vnc.html. The Dowling lab computers have the necessary software (putty, ssh32 and vncviewer). For text-only use, putty or ssh32 are sufficient.

A great deal of information on the use of Linux is available on line. Some of the documentation is available at:

As you develop software you will need a place to keep it. While the computers at Dowling College are suitable for use during the term of a course, it is a good idea to save your efforts somewhere "off-site", but readily accessible. There are very important resources for long-term accessible storage of information on the web. For these courses, we will use two of them:

All students are expected to register for both resources and to place copies of all software developed for the course onto one, the other, or, preferably, both.

Prepared by Herbert J. Bernstein

1 September 2011