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Re: Show me some good newbie intros to GNU/Linux

On 22 Feb 2002, Alan Davis wrote:

> I am trying to write this myself.  I have found nothing that explains
> GNU/Linux adequately to my students.  I teach Biology at a public high
> school on the island of Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands, a
> commonwealth of the United States.  Many of my students have never used
> computers before.  The highest level computer course at our school is
> computer literacy, which I think is an introduction to M$ Works (call
> that literacy?).
> I have a four machine GNU/Linux (Debian) net in my classroom, for
> student use.  Many students have gotten to know the basics---which
> consists of how to start up Galeon or Netscape, even how to log on as
> "students".  (I set up one account, so far, for most students, and leave
> the machine logged on to that account.  Comments?)

If you create separate accounts then they can customise the account (I'd
recommend you use KDE but you probably are already). If they can customise
the account they are more likely to feel the computer "belongs" to them in
some way and are more likely to take an interest in it. Of course, this
will greatly increase your security problems, like bad passwords etc. If
you decide to go this route you might want to buy a good book on Linux
Security like "Hacking Linux Exposed".

> This is a demonstration/proof of concept project.  This is a Biology
> class; I don't have the free reign to spend two weeks on computer
> basics.  I have the students read Sterling's Brief History of the
> Internet, give them a few pointers of web searching, show them galeon,
> and let them search.  Some students do quite well.
> But I CANNOT FIND any single good introduction to GNU/Linux that is
> geared to this leverl.  Here is a typical opening paragraph:
>    Linux is a POSIX compliant, UNIX-like operating system, with a kernel
> written by a Finnish graduate student, and etc., etc., etc.
> Con someone point me to some documents that actually attempt to explain
> what the differences are, from Windoze and the Mac (the two computers
> with which students are obviously acquainted)?

I don't know if these are elementary enough for your students, but...

1)  http://rute.sourceforge.net

Notes: This book is a general tutorial and reference. I have not used it a
great deal myself, but it seems pretty good. Maybe too advanced for
your audience, but a great reference.

Also available in print as Linux: Rute User's Tutorial and Exposition
(With CD-ROM) by Paul Sheer, ISBN: 0130333514, Price on Amazon $27.99

2) http://www.dsl.org/cookbook/

Notes: This book is a guide for getting common and basic tasks done in
Linux/Unix. Very useful, and probably suitable for high school
students. Note this is also available as the Debian package

Also available in print as The Linux Cookbook: Tips and Techniques for
Everyday Use by Michael Stutz, ISBN: ISBN: 1886411484, Price on Amazon

3) Also possibly http://newbiedoc.sourceforge.net/

2) and 3) are rather Debian oriented, though. But since you have
Debian installed, this may not be such a bad thing.

Good luck getting your students acquainted with Debian. It is quite
ambitious of you. I've had some experience with students of that age, and
it is not easy.

                                    Sincerely, Faheem Mitha.

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