Linux and Open Source


Units: 6


This course covers the Linux operating system, its related applications, and the Open Source Software (OSS) model. Emphasis is on how Linux is different from other systems.

Note example syllabus may be from online or on-campus Mini. Topics and general structure are the same, quiz and participation grading vary between online or on-campus.


Learning Outcomes

The focus of the course is two-fold. One component is developing hands-on technical experience with installing, configuring, and administering Linux systems and Open Source applications. This will be done partly through in-class lectures, but the hands-on lab work will generally be done by the students outside of class time.

The other component of the course is to developing an understanding of how Linux & Open Source fit into enterprise IT environments, their strengths and weaknesses, and the economic, social, political, and legal forces acting on them. This will be covered primarily through classroom lectures & Canvas discussions.


Skills and knowledge students will gain in this course:

  • Install Red Hat and Debian based Linux distributions;

  • Maintain operating system updates;

  • Install and configure useful application software (LAMP stack apps, SAMBA, and others);

  • Interoperate between Linux and Windows;

  • Understanding of each of the following:

    • Basics of Linux security;

    • Major issues involved in Open Source licensing;

    • Basics of Linux scripting and be able to write a simple script;

    • Pros & cons of Linux & be able to decide where it makes sense to use it or not;

  • A sufficient knowledge framework of Linux upon which they can build if desired.

Prerequisites Description

No pre-requisite courses.

An Intel/AMD-based computer with a 64-bit CPU and hardware virtualization, on which to run the Lab exercises.

M1/M2-based Macs are not supported for this class. There are no workarounds, and Heinz does not provide any physical or virtual systems that can be used for this class. Students who register and have only an M1/M2 Mac will have to drop the course or acquire an Intel/AMD-based computer to use. Most Macs sold since early 2021 have this incompatible chip. You can check yours via Apple menu -> About This Mac, then look at the Chip/Processor line.

 A minimum of 4GB RAM is required, 4GB+ is preferred. You will need at least 30-40GB of free disk space. 

Use of LibreOffice/OpenOffice Writer and Impress for class documents and presentations, in both your host and guest OS's.

Use of VirtualBox to run Linux virtual machines.