Linux Technologies
USF BSIT Specialization Tracks [ L0 | L1 | L2 | L3 ]
Latest News
Job Opportunities

Focus School Software LLC has also a job opening for a full time junior Linux System Administrator. Visit this link for more details.

- Alessio
Available Courses

The Introduction to Linux elective is available for BSIT and BS Cyber Security students during summer 2018.

- Alessio
Available Courses

USF CSE department is offering our Linux intro during Summer 2018. Do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions.

- Alessio
Opportunities for Students

The Computer Science & Engineering Technology Services team is hiring for summer & fall 2016!

If you are looking for a part time job, generally around 20 hours a week, giving you the opportunity to work with our department helpdesk team, please send your resume and cover letter to me.

Besides help desk tasks, we also tend to work with our students to find specific workorders that will play to their strengths and allow them to gain experience with things that are a bit more involved. Make sure to mention in your letter the kind of things that interest you in system administration!

- Alessio
Interesting Links

This first links were posted on one of our L0 discussion forums by students;

The other link is an Example of Linux Job Posting. I think it is interesting, at least for those of you who are considering working as Linux system administrators, to see examples of such job postings. Please note the requirements to know about Perl; yes, programming / scripting is very much relevant to system administration! :)

- Alessio
Ready to start Fall 2015

The previously announced new version of our L0 - user-level intro to Linux will roll out this semester. Other offerings in the Linux technology track are on hiatus for this semester due to the need to assign our resources to teaching BS IT cores first. However, get in touch with the track coordinator, BSIT program director or Department chair if you need a specific Linux electives in the upcoming semesters. Feedback on your needs will help us assign resources so as to ensure you get the electives you want when you need them.

- Alessio
New version of L0 for Fall 2015

A new version of our L0 - user-level intro to Linux is being developed. The new site will provide information about how the material fits with the CompTIA / LPI Linux+ certification. It will also provide more Discussion Forums to help you learn about open source & Linux via low-pressure assignments every week. Last but not least, it will re-introduce Bash scripting as a conclusion of our introduction. More improvements are in the works, keep an eye on the website as they are pushed online.

- Alessio
Fall 2015 Student Group

As some of you already know, we are working on setting up a general-purpose Information Technology Student Organization in Fall 2015.

In addition, I would like to see if there are students who would be interested in either a separate group altogether, or a "working subgroup" of the above general IT student organization, which would focus on;

  • Linux & Open Source technologies
  • System administration / web administration
  • Apps development under Linux, including Android
  • Meeting other students interested in getting a Linux certification & working together
  • ...
If this seems along your lines, drop me a line so I add you to a contact list. As we get ready to start in Fall, I will reach out to you. Let me know whether your interest is in being a member or leading the group.

- Alessio
Fall 2015 Schedule

Our User-Level Intro to Linux will be offered in Fall 2015 at USF under either the special topic number COP3931, or the newly approved COP3353.

Similarly, the Android mobile development offering will also be available either under special topic number COP3931 or the newly approved COP4666.

Keep an eye out for both numbers when looking through OASIS as we are going to switch to the new ones as soon as they are added to the USF course inventory.

- Alessio
Linux to the Stars!

International Space Station opts to switch to Debian Linux. I thought some of you might get a kick out of this; read more here

- Alessio
New Offering numbers for Fall 2015

Last semester, the various offerings of the Linux track have been reviewed by the undergraduate council and assigned permanent prefix and numbers which should be used by Fall 2015.

As we get closer to this semester, the number numbers will be posted on this site so that you know what to look for in OASIS.

Oh, and also Happy New Year! Make one of your resolution to explore Linux at home :)

- Alessio
New Android offering Available!

Dr. Abdel Ejnioui joined our Linux Technology team and will be offering his course on Mobile Development for IT. The course focusses on Android and requires some previous Java knowledge easily acquired via the BSIT core offerings.

With this offering, we are starting to extend our Linux Technology tracks beyond their original focus on servers and desktops. As we widen our approach to Linux technologies at large, we welcome your feedback on the kind of offerings you would like to see as a student, or as a company planning on hiring our graduates. Do not hesitate to get in touch to share your thoughts

In the meantime, if you are a student looking to specialize in a Linux technology we are not yet teaching regularly, you may want to also get in touch to discuss possibilities of leveraging an IT Senior Project or an independent study to explore a specific topic with one of our faculty.

- Alessio
Fall 2014 Student Projects Started!

We have a new tab showing student projects related to the Linux track. As is mentioned there, do not hesitate to get in touch with me to discuss potential projects but make sure you do so during the semester preceding the semester you want to work on your project. E.g. if you want to work with us in Fall, get in touch during summer.

Good projects, which focus on the students interests and provide something they will be able to show future employers, take some time to prepare. This is why we need to be able to discuss back and forth by email or even meet while designing. All projects will be reviewed by the supervising faculty and the track coordinator to ensure we have quality.

We look forward to more projects!

- Alessio
Watch this - Linux on the desktop

Interesting Q&A with Linus Torvalds where he addresses a question which pops up on our discussion forums almost every semester in the User-Level intro to Linux offering; why isn't Linux more successful on desktops? [ YouTube Video ]

The link has been added to our "links" tab. If you have similar media tidbits you want to share with other students in the Linux Technologies track, just drop me an email.

- Alessio
IT Senior Projects Opportunities

We have had, over the last month, a few students inquire about IT Senior Projects involving Linux. It is great to see students interested in working on this platform for their capstone experience!

If you are interested, simply take a look at our teaching team in the about tab and feel free to get in touch with any of us to discuss possibilities.

Make sure that you do so as early as possible though. Both the letter of intents and the project form itself need to be written, signed, reviewed and accepted before the start of the semester.

- Alessio
Job Opportunity - USF

The USF Department of Computer Science & Engineering has an opening for a system administrator position which I thought might be of interest to some of you.

Linux skills are definitively sought from applicants to this position. You will find the job description by going to the USF HR website & looking for job 4618.

- Alessio
USENIX Conferences & Journals

USENIX is supporting a new peer reviewed journal which might be of interest to those of you with not only a taste for system administration but also an interest in teaching or learning.

If you are in this lot, keep an eye on the Journal of Education in System Administation - JESA along with the Summit for Educators in System Administration - SESA.

If you are only interested in system administration itself, remember the Large Installation System Administration Conference - LISA

- Alessio
Tentative 2014-2015 schedule

While last minute re-scheduling does occur on a fairly consistent basis, we try to plan one year ahead the schedule of offerings in the USF BSIT program. The following is information to help you plan which Linux Technology offerings you might want to take during the 2014-2015 Academic Year.

Fall 2014

Spring 2015

Summer 2015

Keep in mind that the above is purely tentative at this point. Email me and work with your academic advisor to ensure of the availability of a specific offering you plan on taking.

- Alessio
New Offering in Track #2

For this first "LT-news" entry, I wanted to announce that Colin Arnold joined our team and will be developing our Linux Development Tools offering in Fall 2014.

This offering will supplement our User-Level Intro to Linux for students who are interested in Linux technologies but not necessarily in becoming Linux sysadmins.

Stay tuned for announcements about its availability & email me if you have questions.

- Alessio

Welcome to the website for the Linux Technologies Tracks offered by the USF Department of Computer Science & Engineering BS in Information Technology program.

The objective of the Linux Technologies specialization tracks is to support the teaching of Linux & open source technologies at large. In addition to making educational material freely available, this also entails education research meant to identify & address the learning barriers encountered by students in this field.

USF Linux Technologies tracks are made of BSIT electives. Most of them do not require pre-requisites and are therefore open to students not enrolled in the BSIT who need to learn about Linux. Each of our three tracks targets Linux skills and knowledge specific to given professional goals e.g.;

  • Working as an "advanced user" on Linux systems
  • Working as a developer on the Linux platform
  • Working as a Linux System Administrator
  • ...

At this point, you might be asking yourself why you should develop Linux skills as an IT professional & which of our tracks is best for you. Head over to our FAQ tab & Let us address these questions.

Feel free to send us feedback about your experiences with the material herein, whether it is as a student, independent learner, or instructor.

The USF BSIT Linux Technologies specialization track is actually a pool of offerings from which students may opt for a subset which best serves their professional goals. So far, the USF Linux Technologies specialization track is an umbrella for 3 sub-tracks serving different interests in Linux

Track #1 - Linux for IT professionals

Given the omnipresence of Linux in the data center, high performance clusters, web servers and even mobile devices, it is unwise for an IT professional to be totally unknowledgable about the Linux platform. While not everyone wants to become a full-fledged Linux system administrator, many IT professionals may therefore benefit from knowing a bit more than the basics. If this is your goal, we recommend you take the following offerings.

L0 - User-Level Introduction to Linux [website]
This introduction to Linux, unlike many, focuses on the user-level perspective. As such, it is suitable for students both interested in system administration but also those interested in developing the skills necessary to work efficiently on Linux as developers, web masters, DB administrators, security officers. It is also idea for students who just want to become proficient on the Linux platform in preparation for upper-level offerings which will require them to work on Linux
L1 - Linux Development Tools [website]
You will need the above intro to Linux before to take this offering. Its purpose is to prepare developers who want to be able to operate in a Linux environment or who plan to rely on open source development tools. The topics studied include;
  • Bash & Python scripting
  • Source revision control systems; e.g. git svn, bzr
  • Automated application building tools
  • Software packaging for Linux; e.g. deb, rpm, repositories
Developed & taught by Colin Arnold.

Track #2 - Linux for System Administrators

The following offerings may be taken in series to provide the foundations for students interested in working as Linux system administrators.

Please note that, based on your previous experience with Linux, you might want to jump directly into the 2nd or 3rd offering of this track.

The various offerings in this track are suitable to prepare students to entry level certifications such as COMPTIA Linux+ or LPI.

L0 - User-Level Introduction to Linux [website]
This introduction is pre-requisite to any serious work in a Linux system administration specialization track. It may be skipped if you have already solid Linux experience.
L2 - Linux Workstations Administration [website]
The second offering in this specialisation track focuses on learning to use tools & technologies aimed at facilitating the administration of Linux workstations. The skills taught in this offering are relevant to future Linux system administrators but also to developers or IT professional. It is relevant if you plan to work on Linux platforms & want to get a better mastery of your work environment.
L3 - Linux Networks Administration [website]
The third offering extends on L2 by focussing on tools & technologies aimed at the administration of entire networks of Linux servers & workstations.

Track #3 - Android Development

The impact of Linux, via the Android platform, on the mobile device market rivals its impact on data centers. This track is devoted to anything related to Android technologies and is meant for IT majors who want to supplement their BSIT courses to prepare for working on this platform.

A1 - Android Mobile Development
Developed & taught by Abdel Ejnoui. Focus on mobile applications development with Android. Requires previous knowledge of Java.

We are always looking for students in dealing with Linux projects. These might be focused on system administration, Linux application development, scripting, Android, Web development... You will find below a list with projects dating back to before the USF Linux Technology track. These should give you an idea of what we are doing now, but also the topics we've been exploring to date.

Make sure that you get in touch with the track coordinator at least one semester before you plan to take your project. We will work by email to define the scope and find a faculty from our teaching team to supervise you.

Linux System Administration Projects

The following projects share a focus on Linux technologies from the perspective of system administration.

Year Student Supervisor Title Project
2018 Himank Vats Alessio Encapsulating the EvoParsons server in a Docker Container NSF IUSE EvoTutoring
2016 James Cherven Alessio Building & Automating ZFS storage, backup, & recovery services in Linux USF CSE Technology Services
2016 Dominick Rapacioli Alessio Investigating Ubuntu Cloud Suitability for Educational Applications USF CSE Technology Services
2016 Aaron Boshers Alessio NREC Backup Project USF NREC
2014 John Leis Colin Arnold Creating a new Perl shell
2014 Nicholas Jordan Matt McDermott Raspberry PLC
2011 Matt McDermott Alessio CLUE Virtual Appliance NSF CLUE
2008 Jarrod Chastain Alessio CLUE Virtual Appliance for Peer Programming NSF CLUE
2007 Alex Kranh Alessio Developing a VMWare Educational Virtual Appliance NSF CLUE
2006 Janet Offray Alessio Linux System Administration Laboratories
2005 Mithun Sawant Alessio Oracle Management on Fedora C4
2005 Clark Godwin Alessio Linux Kernel Modules Development
2005 Eric Murray Alessio Debian Packaging for the Warewulf Project NSF SOFTICE
2005 Steve Lambropoulos Alessio Remote Storage Technologies (AOE, iSCSI)
2005 Nestor Rentas Alessio Linux Stealth Intrusion Detection & Logging
2005 Andrew Wong Alessio Open SSI Clustering on Classroom PCs NSF SOFTICE
2004 Gary Cohen Alessio Debian Linux Installation of a Private LAN

Linux Web Development Projects

We also have projects focused on Linux web development technologies such as LAMP & MEAN stacks.

Year Student Supervisor Title Project
2015 Terrence Hughes Alessio Web-based student project manager in AngularJS sourceforge.net
2015 Charles Kittredge Alessio Web-based student project manager in PHP sourceforge.net
2014 Stephen Kozakoff Alessio NED - Eclipse & Netbeans Plugins NSF CLUE
2014 Nghiem Tran Alessio NED - Novice Error Detection Web App NSF CLUE
2013 Adam Feller Alessio NED - Novice Error Detection Web App NSF CLUE
2012 Joshua Maun Alessio Surveying Undergrads Study Habits & Initiatives SUSHI
2011 Duong, Aubertin,
Ennaime, Metzer
Alessio Surveying Undergrads Study Habits & Initiatives SUSHI
2007 Cecil Thornhill Alessio Independent Study: Rapid Web Prototyping with Ruby

We are committed to develop educational material based on sound education theories or frameworks. To this end, we conduct research to continuously and rigorously identify the learning barriers encountered by our students & develop effective pedagogies to address them.

While the computing education research community has had significant successes in programming pedagogy, very little literature exists on teaching Linux technologies or system admnistration.

Our ongoing efforts are meant to improve our understanding of what makes these topics hard for students & how interventions which were successful in other offerings might be adapted. The following papers summarize our findings, feel free to visit the CEReAL research group website for more information about our other projects.

Peer reviewed Journals

  • A. Gaspar, W. Armitage, N. Boyer, C. Bennett, G. Johnson
    A Preliminary Validation of Linux System Administration Learning Outcomes Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, Volume 28, Issue 2, 179-187, 2012 [PDF] [ACM Digital Library]
  • G. Johnson, A. Gaspar, N. Boyer, C. Bennett, W. Armitage
    Applying the Revised Bloom Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain to Linux System Administration Assignments. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, Volume 28, Issue 2, 238-247, 2012 [PDF] [ACM Digital Library]
  • A. Gaspar, W. Armitage, N. Boyer
    Design of a distance education, 2+2 years articulated, IT curriculum in Linux System Administration, The Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, Vol. 23 issue 2, pp. 104-111, CCSC Publisher (Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges, USA), 2007 [PDF] [ACM Digital Library]

Peer reviewed Conferences

  • A. Gaspar, S. Langevin, N. Boyer, C. Bennett.
    Student Perspective on an Online Asynchronous Introduction to Linux based on User-First Pedagogy. In Proceedings of the 14th annual ACM SIGITE conference on Information technology education (SIGITE '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 23-28. DOI=10.1145/2512276.2512296 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2512276.2512296 [PDF] [ACM Digital Library]
  • G. Johnson, W. Armitage, A. Gaspar, N. Boyer, C. Bennett
    Multi-perspectives Survey of the Relevance of the Revised Bloom Taxonomy to an Introduction to Linux Course. In Proceedings of the 13th annual conference on Information technology education (SIGITE '12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 105-110. DOI=10.1145/2380552.2380584 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2380552.2380584 [PDF] [ACM Digital Library]
  • A. Gaspar, W. Armitage, N. Boyer, G. Johnson, C. Bennett
    Designing Linux System Administration Learning Outcomes - Educational, Industry & Student Perspectives. CCSC Rocky Mountain Conference 2012, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver, CO. October 12-13, 2012 [PDF]


  • C. Bennett, A. Gaspar, G. Johnson, N. Boyer, W. Armitage
    LINKS - Designing an online, applied, Linux articulated program, USF Polytechnic Scholarship Day, 9th April 2012, Lakeland Fl.
  • G. Johnson, A. Gaspar, N. Boyer, W. Armitage, C. Bennett
    LINKS - Applying the Revised Bloom Taxonomy to System Administration, USF Polytechnic Scholarship Day, 9th April 2012, Lakeland Fl.

This page attempts to address frequently asked questions from both prospective students & those already enrolled in one of our offerings. If some of your questions are still left unanswered drop me a line.

FAQ - Why should I develop Linux skills?

Linux is a major "player" in the data center, for web professionals, for security experts, in the world of mobile computing, and is even making forrays into the desktop world! Being Linux-illiterate is therefore a dangerous proposition for any IT professional.

The following links might provide you with the facts you need;

FAQ - Which Track is best for me?

The USF LT track allows BSIT students, and others, to take a cohesive series of electives allowing them to develop the Linux skills which will best serve their professional goals. Students are allowed to pick from our pool of offerings as they see fit, but also encouraged to consider the tracks we have already prepared for them. These tracks ensure that you have all the pre-requisites for more advanced Linux work and that you develop your new skills along a rational and coherent path.

While we obviously target students who are interested in becoming Linux system administrator, we have also offerings serving different interests in the broad spectrum of Linux technologies. So far we cover anything from end-users, to application developer working on the Linux platform, to web administrator or web developer interacting with Linux web hosting solutions.

FAQ - Are you only focussed on Linux desktops / servers?

No, we see ourselves as the Linux Technologies Hub for the USF Information Technology program. As such, we aim at preparing our students to work with all sorts of Linux technologies. Historically, we started with the system administration aspects. This is why you will find more offerings focused on these aspects at the moment.

However, our offerings are extending regularly and you will see that we are also providing courses for Android and plan on pushing on Linux Web Technologies aspects very soon.

In the meantime, if you are interested in exploring these topics with our team, we are open to setup specific IT Senior Projects or Independent Studies to help you do so. Get in touch with us to discuss specifics.

FAQ - Where do I get certified?

Certifications are always a good thing to get in Information Technology. We made sure to integrate in our tracks topics relevant to industry and therefore certifications.

While USF does not grant certifications, there are opportunities for our students to get their certification exams sponsored by USF. Make sure to contact your instructor early in the semester to mention your interest in benefitting from this opportunity.

The following are links to some of the certifications you might be interested in pursuing while finishing your BSIT degree.

CompTIA's Linux+ powered by LPI

These two certifications used to be separate but have now pretty much merged together. They are good entry-level certifications which are relevant not only to system administrators but also to any IT professional who needs to demonstrate a good familiarity with Linux technologies in general.

Find more information on the CompTIA website.

Our User-Level intro to Linux roughly covers the first exam of this certification. You might be able to tackle it after taking Linux workstation admin alone or with Linux networks admin, depending on the support or preparation you want in parallel with your own certification-focused studying.

Red Hat Certifications

Red Hat Certified System Administrator & Red Hat Certified Engineer are very well recognized certifications in Information Technology. The hands-on components of the examination distinguish them alone from entry-level certifications.

Find more information on the Red Hat website.

You will most likely need to take at least the 3 first offerings of our system administration track in order to be prepared for this certification. Please note that, at this time, we are relying mostly on Ubuntu / Debian in our offerings. Therefore, you will have to specifically prepare for Red Hat certifications which are focussed on Red Hat Enterprise Linux instead. However, being knowledgeable in another distribution will allow you to leverage analogies between the two versions of Linux.

FAQ - How do I help spread the word?

We have a neat flyer we wouldn't mind seeing being spread around :)

This track started with the NSF DUE ATE award #0802551 in partnership with Polk State College Computer Network Engineering Technology Department.

This grant allowed us to develop online modules meant to be used at both institutions while articulating an easy transitions for students with an AS degree from PSC into the USF Information Technology program where they would further pursue their interest in Linux Technologies.

This page provides information about the faculty who contributed to the original grant, along with those who joined us since then to teach it to our students

Teaching Team

These are the faculty who are regularly teaching the various offerings listed in the previous tabs. Do not hesitate to get in touch with them individually with any questions about the offerings they are teaching. If you have questions about a specific track or when a given offering will be taught, get in touch with the track coordinator.

Alessio Gaspar

Previous Teaching Team

The following have taught in this Linux track at some point.

Colin Arnold
Abdel Ejnioui
Matt McDermott
Mitch Heirlholzer

NSF DUE ATE grant Team

The following team members have worked on this grant. Most are members of the CEReAL group.

Cliff Bennett
  • NSF DUE ATE 0802551 PSC award's Principal Investigator
  • Project Manager
Alessio Gaspar
  • NSF DUE ATE 0802551 USF subaward's Principal Investigator
  • Led design of USF/PSC modules pedagogies of instruction & content
  • Led research efforts
  • Authored USF's Linux-1 pedagogical assets
  • Established USF Linux Technologies specialization track
Naomi Boyer
  • Co-investigator - Polk State College
  • Education research specialist
  • Contributed to research effort
Gregory Johnson
  • OPS - Polk State College
  • Instructional technologist
  • Contributed to Research effort
Joe Stanaback
  • OPS - University of South Florida
  • Linux System Administrator
  • Convertion of the material for all Linux offerings to a web format
Brian Hartpence
  • co-investigator; Polk State College
  • Linux / System Administration specialist
  • Linux instructor
  • Contributed to labs designs & pedagogy
  • Lead for system administration of grant equipment
Dave Armitage
  • co-investigator - USF Information Technology Faculty
  • Contributed to research effort
  • "Advanced Topics in Linux sysadmin" Syllabus designer


This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under award number DUE ATE 0802551. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.