Computer Science (COMP) 325

Unix Operating System - Principles and Administration (Revision 2)

COMP 315 Course website

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online with eTextbook)

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: COMP 268 or equivalent

Precluded courses: COMP 325 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for COMP 315 or COMP 374.

Faculty: Faculty of Science and Technology

Centre: School of Computing and Information Systems

COMP 325 is not available for challenge.

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**Note: Students who are concerned about not meeting the prerequisites for this course are encouraged to contact the course coordinator before registering


This course concentrates on the aspects of UNIX that are most needed by a program developer or UNIX programmer: the theory of the UNIX operating system as it informs the system administration. Students are required to install any UNIX /Linux of their choice on their personal computers.

Learning Outcomes

  • Install a Linux Operating System on a partition on your computer, or on a dedicated hardware.
  • Learn thoroughly the process of booting and shutting down.
  • Review UNIX Operating System concepts.
  • Practice using utilities, such as, awk, yacc, pine, elm, and others.
  • Learn Unix file system and security from administrator's point of view.
  • Learn to backup the file systems using different utilities.
  • Practice the use of regular expressions.
  • Learn to write Unix shell scripts.
  • Review Unix GUI basics.
  • Learn the privileges of the super user.
  • Learn Unix daemons and user processes and how to control them.
  • Manage user accounts.
  • Install and activate external devices, such as printers and disks.
  • Plan and activate periodic processes.
  • Learn how to read Unix uptime history and resolve problems.
  • Learn about Unix drivers and kernel properties.
  • Learn to install and manage networks using Unix system.
  • Manage user electronic mail system.


Part I: User's View

  • Unit 1: UNIX Shell
  • Unit 2: File Security
  • Unit 3: Basic Shell Programming

Part II: System Administrator's View

  • Unit 1: Processes
  • Unit 2: The Network Models
  • Unit 3: Useful utilities and Files
  • Unit 4: File System Backup


To receive credit for COMP 325, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least ā€œDā€ (50 percent), an average grade of 50 percent on all Assignments, and at least 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Assignment 1 General UNIX Utilities Assignment 2 Programming Activities Assignment 3 System Administration Final Total
15% 15% 15% 55% 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators that can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Sarwar, S. M., Koretsky, R., & Sarwar, S. A. (2005). Unix: The Textbook (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Addison Wesley.

A print version of the eText can be purchased from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided in the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Special Instructional Features

COMP 325 is offered through Moodle, a Learning Management System that can be accessed through the Web and Athabasca Landing, a web-based social networking environment. COMP 325 can be completed at the student's home, using a dedicated system or disk partition. COMP 325 is an elective course in all undergraduate programs offered by the School of Computing and Information Systems.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, December 6, 2013.

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Updated May 10 2016 by Student & Academic Services