Computer Science (COMP) 325

Unix Operating System - Principles and Administration (Revision 2)

COMP 325

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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.


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

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to

  • install a Linux operating system on a partition on a computer or dedicated hardware.
  • explain Unix operating system concepts.
  • detail the process of booting and shutting down.
  • use utilities such as awk, yacc, pine, elm and others.
  • write Unix shell scripts and use complex regular expressions.
  • carry out administrator duties such as backing up the file systems, managing accounts, controlling processes, specifying security, managing networks and more.


To receive credit for COMP 325, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least D (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:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 General UNIX Utilities 15%
Assignment 2 Programming Activities 15%
Assignment 3 System Administration 15%
Final 55%
Total 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 who 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 may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on 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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