Welcome to the Linux System Administration DeCal!

This course will cover the basics of setting up and administering a production-quality Linux server environment. By the end of this course, we expect you to:

The course will be taught in two sections: a “Beginner” section for students with minimal background in GNU/Linux or system administration, and an “Advanced” section for students with more experience.

While we expect many students will have a CS background, the only real prerequisite is a desire to learn about new and unfamiliar technologies, which is a critical skill for sysadmins. The Beginner section has been designed to introduce new users to Linux, and the Advanced section has been designed to give more experienced users a taste of what Linux is capable of.

Beginner Track Calendar

Week Date Lecture Title Lecturer Lab Lab Due Date
0 Tue. 09/03 Infosession -
0 Thu. 09/05 Infosession -
1 Tue. 09/10 History of UNIX, intro to shell, FOSS -
2 Tue. 09/17 Core Shell -
3 Tue. 09/24 Shell Scripting -
4 Tue. 10/01 Compiling, Distros, and Packaging -
5 Tue. 10/08 Networking 101 -
6 Tue. 10/15 Processes -
7 Tue. 10/22 Services -
8 Tue. 10/29 Security Fundamentals -
9 Tue. 11/05 Version Control and Backups -
10 Tue. 11/12 Cloud, Containers, and Config Management -

Advanced Track Calendar

Week Date Lecture Title Lecturer Lab Lab Due Date
0 Tue. 09/03 Infosession -
0 Thu. 09/05 Infosession -
1 Thu. 09/12 Advanced Introduction to UNIX -
2 Thu. 09/19 DIY Linux Pre-Install -
3 Fri. 09/27 Thanksgiving break, no lecture
4 Thu. 10/03 Linux Post-Install -
5 Thu. 10/10 Networking 102 -
6 Thu. 10/17 Processes and Services -
7 Thu. 10/24 Developing at Scale -
8 Thu. 10/31 Networked Services -
9 Thu. 11/07 Advanced Security -
10 Thu. 11/14 Config Management -


Lectures are scheduled for Tuesdays for the Beginner section and Thursdays for the Advanced section, from 8 to 9pm the OCF Lab, located at 171 MLK (MLK basement down the hall from the student store). Attendance is mandatory, with two allowed unexcused absences. Some other conflicts, such as exams, may be excused if you provide prior notice. Please only come to the lab on the day corresponding to the section you are in.

The primary assignment in this course will be weekly lab work. Labs are designed to be be significantly hands-on. You will be working on real systems, configuring, and fixing things, setting up services, and so on.

Lecture will double as office hours for students to come in and ask questions about the lab work. This is a 2 unit DeCal.

Course Staff

Picture of Stefan Kuklinsky

Stefan Kuklinsky Head Facilitator

sophomore studying computer science

Picture of Christopher Cooper

Christopher Cooper Head Facilitator

sentient table learning to tame computers

Picture of Bernard Zhao

Bernard Zhao Head Facilitator

They tryna be cray

Picture of Andy Lo

Andy Lo Facilitator

reincarnation of wittl here to bring balance to the universe

Picture of Tony Lian

Tony Lian Facilitator

This person has existed and hopefully is existing in the world.

Picture of Ja (Thanakul) Wattanawong

Ja (Thanakul) Wattanawong Facilitator

ah, yes. enslaved silicon