• Office Hours:
    • Mon:   9:00 - 9:50
    • Mon:   3:00 - 3:50
    • Tues:   8:50 - 9:20 (Hirt M207)
    • Tues:   12:00 - 12:50
    • Thur:   8:00 - 9:20 (Hirt M207)
    • Thur:   12:00 - 12:50
Instr: Dr. Roger Griffiths
Office: Old Main 305
Email: griffiths.roger@gmail.com   (don't use my Mercyhurst email - it is not reliable)
Phone:   824-2123
Location:   Main Computer Lab
Class Time:   Monday, Wednesday, Friday;   11:00 - 12:20
Web: http://math.mercyhurst.edu/~griff/courses/mis180/
My Schedule: http://math.mercyhurst.edu/~griff/courses/schedule.php
Texts: 1)   A Guide to UNIX Using Linux, (4th Edition), by Michael Palmer
2)   Linux Desk Reference (2nd Ed.) by Scott Hawkins

Our primary goal is to learn the fundamentals of computer operating systems whilst working predominately with the GNU/Linux operating system. The power, stability, and flexibility of Linux/UNIX has contributed to its popularity in mission-critical business and networking applications. In particular, we will learn to configure, use efficiently, and to a lesser extent administer Linux desktops and servers. Specific topic coverage includes: the essence of Linux; exploring the Linux file system and file security; Linux editors; Linux file processing; advanced file processing; introduction to shell script programming; advanced shell programming(?); exploring Linux utilities; and brief look at webserver administration and programming applications in Linux (C or C++). Finally, we wish to expose both beginners and experienced Linux users to new and useful methods and opportunities for utilizing Linux.
A number of assignments will be made during the term. Some will be as in class exercises, others will be assigned as homework with a specific due date. Assignments must be turned in on time, late assignments will be penalized. You will also make a presentation on a particular Linux program/package (your choice).
Percent % Letter Grade
94 to 100 A  
90 to 93 B+
84 to 89 B  
78 to 83 C+
70 to 77 C  
65 to 69 D+
60 to 64 D  
Below 60 F  
There will be homework assignments (including a presentation), a closed-book in class midterm exam (100pt) and a final exam (200pt cumulative).
Course grades will be calculated as follows:
In class exams:   50%
Assignments:     50%
Your overall performance in the course is measured by the total number of points you accumulate relative to the maximum points possible. These are the only points possible in this class, there is no extra credit or 'make up' for poor examination grades. Your letter grade in this course will be based on the distribution at right.
Course Policies:
You are responsible for all that is announced or covered in class even if you are absent.
A prerequisite for additional help outside the classroom is regular class attendance.
If you do have to miss class, you will want to have a classmate get you up to speed on what you missed before coming to the next class.
Since you will be sitting in front of a computer every day in class, there is a strong temptation to 'play' during class - my suggestion: "Don't give in to that temptation" - more on this topic in class.
Email is great for simple communications, but more complex issues must be handled in person.
Don't use email as an excuse to avoid personal contact.
Due to the overwhelming amount of email I receive, any requests that involve more than a yes or no response may not get addressed, please come see me in that case.

Special Notes:


Bad Habits You Must Eliminate from Your Daily Routine

You are the sum of your habits. When you allow bad habits to take over, they dramatically impede your path to success. The challenge is bad habits are insidious, creeping up on you slowly until you don’t even notice the damage they’re causing.
READ MORE > > > (by Dr. Travis Bradberry)

Quit Saying 'I'm Just Not a Math Person'

It started with a fairly simple problem. The class of elementary education majors were looking at energy and efficiency. This course is specifically designed to help these students get a basic understanding of the nature of science > > > READ MORE > > > (Quit Saying 'I'm Just Not a Math Person')

you deserve free software Free software is simply software that respects our freedom — our freedom to learn and understand the software we are using. Free software is designed to free the user from restrictions put in place by proprietary software, and so using free software lets you join a global community of people who are making the political and ethical assertion of our rights to learn and to share what we learn with others.

What is all this "open-source"/"Free software"?

Software - Open Source

    (Free Software generally under the terms of the Free Software Foundation's GNU General Public License)
  • What is Linux - An introduction to Linux from Opensource.com
  • LibreOffice Logo - LibreOffice is the free power-packed Open Source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and Linux, that gives you six feature-rich applications for all your document production and data processing needs: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute (and much better than that expensive virus you are probably currently using).
  • GIMP - Free - GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.
  • The R Project for Statistical Computing - R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics.
  • XPPAUT a tool for numerically solving differential, difference, or delay equations
  • Maxima - a sophisticated computer algebra system
  • Octave is a high-level language, primarily intended for numerical computations (similar to Matlab).
  • Iode - free, but you will need Octave (see link below) or Matlab to use (phase plane utility).
  • SAGE: Open Source Mathematics Software - Creating a viable free open source alternative to Magma, Maple, Mathematica, and Matlab

Linux/GNOME users:

The problems with GNOME 3 are not as bad everyone is saying. Sure GNOME 3 itself is ...hmmm, well as Linux daddy Linus Torvalds says "GNOME 3 is an unholy mess", but the Xfce graphical desktop environment is a decent replacement for GNOME 2, so problem largely solved.

Patent Absurdity

A new documentary film "Patent Absurdity" is set to expose how the judicial activism that led to the patenting of software has broken the US patent system's promise of promoting the progress of science and useful arts. This has ramifications for students, in the harm being done to software developers and the wider economy.

i am a total geek

Geek Notes

Last modified: 23 Jan 16
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