In this course we will be using computers running the Linux operating system with a graphical user interface based on X Windows. The project itself consists of a number of tasks which will help familiarize you with the computers.
We assume in the following that you have never logged into this type of computer. Fortunately, our graphical user interface is intuitive. Therefore, rather than explaining how to do each task in gory detail, we will simply give you the tasks together with some optional explanations you can refer to if you find the tasks obscure or otherwise difficult. However, we encourage you to try to figure out how to do the tasks on your own. When that doesn't work, don't be shy: ask!
There is a printer in the small room adjoining the classroom/lab.
Its name is
mcslab, so if you need to select a printer to
print to, that is the one you should use when in the third-floor Olin
Your computer account (username and password) for these computers is the same as for normal campus computers, email, etc. It does not matter which workstation you log into; you will have access to all your files on all computers, since they are stored on a central file server.
You'll use a web browser to access information such as the web page for this course.
You will see a bar across the bottom of the screen, which is your toolbar. On the left side there is a button with a white 'f' on a blue background. . This is the "Fedora menu", similar to the "start menu" on Microsoft Windows operating systems. (Fedora is the name of the version of the Linux operating system we use in the lab.) Click on this menu to bring up a list of sub-menus. At the top of the list you will find an item titled "Firefox Web Browser". (If this item is not present, click on the "Internet" sub-menu to access the Firefox icon.) Click on the Firefox icon to start Firefox. You may need to wait for several seconds before the program starts.
Locate the Gustavus Adolphus College homepage by
in the Location box and pressing Enter. Since you may want Firefox to
remember this address for next time, select "Bookmark This Page" under
the Bookmarks menu. Next time you want to find the Gustavus homepage,
select "Gustavus Adolphus College" under the Bookmark menu.
The course homepage (which you should also bookmark) is located at:
The campus computers (including these Linux workstations) share a tree-structured file system. This means that the files on the computers are located in directories (also known as folders), which may themselves include files and subdirectories, which may contain files and other subdirectories, ....
Following are some tasks which will help you learn how to view and manipulate the directory structure using the windowing system on the Linux computers.
There are many ways to open a file browser to your home directory. The easiest is to click on the picture of a house and folder: . You can access this icon for your home directory by clicking on the Fedora menu in the lower left corner of your screen. You will see the home directory icon near the bottom of the list that will pop up. Click on the icon to view the contents of your home directory. You may have to wait several seconds for the directory window to open.
Rather than storing all the files you create directly in your home directory, it is much better to organize the files in subdirectories. For example, you can create a subdirectory called "MCS-177" for this course by clicking on the Edit menu, then selecting Create New, and then clicking on Folder from the sub-menu. You will then be asked to give the new directory a name, which should be MCS-177.
Click on Using DrScheme to program in Scheme for some tasks that will help you learn how to run Scheme in the DrScheme programming environment.
A panel will pop up asking whether you really want to quit. (If you modified the definition window more recently than you saved it, you'll be asked about it as well.) You can then logout.
To logout click on the logout icon near the right-hand side of the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. (It can also be accessed through the Fedora menu) The logout icon looks like this: .
One problem you will encounter is how to make yourself aware of all of the applications available to you. This is a rather daunting task, and one which we will not directly address in this course. Instead, we suggest that you make use of the main source of useful computer arcana and trivia we have found, namely your fellow computer users. We are always learning new things from our students. So don't be shy!