Why Teach Unix?

Australian Computer Society
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Australasian Conference on Computer Science Education, 2007, 29 (5), pp. 19 - 26
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This paper examines computing academics' conceptions of the Unix operating system, and the purpose of teaching Unix. Interview transcripts from nine academics were analysed phenomenographically. A small number of qualitatively different conceptions of Unix were identified, within two broad categories. The first broad category manifested a technical approach to Unix. Within this broad category, the conceptions of Unix were, from the least to most sophisticated ! (1) Unix as a set of unrelated commands; (2) Unix as a command line interface superior to GUIs; and (3) Unix as a problem solving tool. The second broad category was a non technical conception of Unix, in which Unix was seen as a resource that is cheap, secure and robust. With regard to teaching Unix, two broad categories of reasons were identified ! practical and pedagogical. These results for teachers are broadly consistent with an earlier phenomenographic study of student conceptions of Unix.
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