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CIT 174 - Linux System Administration

Revised: December 19, 2005
Credits: 3
Instructor: Ed Nickel
Office: HTC 133
Phone: 753-2241 (office with voice mail)
Class Web Page:
Textbook: Click on Setting Up LAMP, by Rosebrock and Filson, ISBN 0-7821-4337-7 for the prices, click here for some discounters/used book dealers, or pay full price at the college bookstore.

Click here for my home page,
when for office hours.


Course description: CIT 174 - Linux System Administration covers the concepts required for Linux server system administration and common networking services configuration, operation, and management. This course has no formal prerequisite, however, CIT 173 or a basic understanding of either the UNIX or Linux workstation environment is highly recommended.

There are many Linux distributions with relatively minor differences and we will use the Fedora Core 2 distribution, which is based on Red Hat the most commonly used Linux server distribution in the United States. This class assumes that students have a basic understanding of how to use Linux or UNIX workstations and builds on those basics by adding an understanding of system administration and networking service fundamentals. We will cover basic security concepts and server maintenance for both LAN and web services like DNS, DHCP, etc. However, this course will emphasize web server operations with in depth coverage of Apache, MySQL, and PHP server installation and operations. Time and resources will be provided in class for many hands on exercises but you may need additional time each week to do homework assignments and to practice topics covered in class. Due to the specialized and potentially destructive nature of the lab exercises required for this class only the computers in HTC 139 lab are available to do homework for this class. If you have the necessary hardware and software, doing your assignments at home is acceptable.

In addition to the required text for this class, A Practical Guide to Red Hat® Linux®: Fedora™ Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, (2nd edition) by Mark G. Sobell, is an excellent and very useful, but optional reference book which can be purchased from various bookstores and online sources.

I can be reached at the phone number listed above or you can make an appointment to see me during office hours or at other times. Office hours are posted on my office door and on my web site. The schedule of reading assignments, homework and tests is found below. Additional assignments may be given verbally or as handouts in class.


The primary objective for this class is to provide students with a working knowledge of the Linux server environment, both on the web and in a LAN. To this end, essential Linux server operations will be covered from installation through configuration and manitenance. The more important topics to be covered in this class include:


The successful student in this class will be able to:

  1. plan and install a complete Linux server;
  2. manage a Linux server for both the web and LAN environments;
  3. administer a Linux server from the command line shell and using remote GUI based tools;
  4. implement some of the more commonly used network services, like DNS, email, etc.;
  5. implement LAN services, like Samba, DHCP, etc.;
  6. create and manage a web server based on the Apache software;
  7. create and manage a SQL server based on the MySQL software;
  8. create and manage a dynamic Internet or intranet server based on PHP;
  9. facilitate secure server operations within a networked computer environment.
Student Outcome Assessment
Assessment Method Learner Outcomes
Class Discussion 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Hands On Exercises 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Exams 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

This is a letter grade class an A=90-100%, B=80-89%, C=70-79%, D=60-69%, F=59% or less or W=Official Withdrawal if done before the withdrawal deadline. There is no curve in this grading scale. Your grade will be based 20% on class participation and discussion, 40% on your assignments, and 40% on exam results. All assignments are due by the beginning of the next class. The instructor must agree in advance to any excused absences unless there are strong extenuating circumstances. Two (2) unexcused absences result in a failing grade. The code of conduct stated in The Rules and Disciplinary Procedures for Members of the University Community will be enforced.

COURSE SCHEDULE: You should be prepared to discuss each week's topics at the beginning of each class. We will have significant hands on experiences and lab sessions during most weeks.

Topics, readings, and exercises by week:

  1. Network planning & initial server installation; Chapters 1-2
  2. Workstation/server relationships: installing an FC3 workstation; handouts
  3. Linux basics and file system & workstation relationships; Chapter 3
  4. Linux administration; Chapter 4
  5. Network connectivity: DNS, DHCP, FTP, etc.; Chapter 5
  6. Security; Chapter 6
  7. E-mail; Chapter 7
  8. Mid-term Exam
  9. LAN operations: ACLs, Samba, NFS, LDAP, etc.; handouts
  10. HTTP with Apache: installation & configuration; Chapter 8
  11. Databases with MySQL: installation & configuration; Chapter 9
  12. Dynamic web server with PHP: installation & configuration; Chapter 10
  13. Testing the complete LAMP server; Chapter 11
  14. Performance monitoring, troubleshooting, Webmin; & more, handouts
  15. Back-up, restoration, upgrades, & maintenance; handouts
  16. Final Exam

Click here for my home page,
when for office hours.