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 top of the screen, which is your toolbar. On the left side there is a button with a multicolored image with arrows: . This is the main menu, similar to the "start menu" on Microsoft Windows operating systems. Click on this menu to bring up a list of sub-menus. Select the "Internet" sub-menu to access Firefox. Click on the Firefox command to start Firefox. (A quicker option exists for running Firefox, but not many other programs. You can just click the web browser icon on the toolbar at the top of the screen.) You may need to wait for several seconds before the program starts.
Locate the course 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.
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.
Click on the picture of a house and folder on the desktop: . If you don't have that option, you can access your home directory through the Places menu. 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 File menu, then selecting Create Folder. You can then 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, use the Log Out command within the System menu.
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!