[SASAG] Training Information

Ken Meyer kmeyer at blarg.net
Wed Jan 2 14:03:58 PST 2008

Adam --

Here is a slice from a recent post of mine made to the GSLUG list pursuant
to a similar question, though the query was from a retired person wishing to
migrate from Windows.  I am dumping the entire subject, including the
tuition waiver for those 60 and over, for what it may be worth to someone,
although it is unlikely that it all refers to you and your situation.  Also,
if you are already a Senior IT person, you may find many of these classes to
be pretty boringly elementary for you.  Perhaps the Red Hat training would
be more your speed.  These are wham-bam, one week typical courses and I see
that they are offered in Seattle as well as other places around the country:


There are other programs in the southern end of the Puget Sound region, such
as at Green River Community College, and I think also at the CC's in the
Tacoma area.

Here's the dump:

OK, there are some full academic course opportunities for more methodically
and comprehensively learning Linux available to you in the community college
system, and it can be pretty darn cheap if you are 60 or more years old.

North Seattle Community College has had a strong program in Linux and
associated subjects like TCP/IP networking.  The Linux instructor, D. C.
Shoemaker, retired last summer, but he is apparently coming back to teach
individual classes.  He will be teaching IT 138, the first course in the
Linux series, this upcoming Winter Quarter, which begins on January 2nd.
Here is the course description from the online catalog.  As you can see, it
is taught Monday and Wednesdays from 6 to 8 PM.  It says UNIX, but that is
for bureaucratic reasons because the higher education system is run by the
best educated morons that money can buy.  This class, and every other one I
know of in the Puget Sound area that is called "UNIX <something or other>",
is actually taught using Linux:



Describes the organization of Unix-based hardware components, the Unix
operating system software, and the tools the Unix host administrator uses to
control access, tune the system and account for system resources used.
Covers multi-user, multi-tasking, time-sharing networked communications,
network schedulers, security, remote access, performance monitoring, host
initialization, suspension and termination, the physical environment.

Prerequisites: IT 100, EET 131 or instructor's permission.

5630  IT138 01N  5  TB1543B  MW 6:00 PM-8:30 PM   SHOEMAKER  [decode these
hieroglyphics via the website]

Now, understand that this course is intended as a part of a curriculum that
will qualify one to be a systems administrator, not a desktop distribution,
M$ Office-equivalent user.  This course is not going to show you fancy
features of KDE or Gnome or their component applications.  It isn't even
going to talk about update packages or installing a driver for your wireless
or video adapter.  But maybe someone else in the class has done it.  You
will not see a graphical user interface -- ever -- in these classes.  This
has benefits, and the idea is that you are going to see something of the
guts of Linux (well, not the kernel).  It is a hands-on class in a computer
lab.  Everyone logs in as a terminal to futz around in their own home
directory structure on D. C.'s server.  The installation process doesn't
appear until later courses.

D. C. has used an old version of Slackware as the teaching tool, which is a
distro you may well not even have heard of, but it is simple and
straightforward.  The danger of getting lost in exotic details is less, and
you never have to see it again when you leave the class, if you don't want
to.  He has been doing this for a long, long time, and his classes are
meticulously organized; but he really isn't very clued-in on current
developments.  Well, in fact, he tends to distain them.  Fortunately, the
shell is the shell is the shell, etc., so there is a lot of good information
to be had regardless -- just keep it in perspective.

In the past, the Linux sequence at North has consisted of three courses.
The second has dealt with such things as setting-up an Apache web server and
an introduction to Perl and other scripting languages.  The third, which has
been offered less often, deals with installations.  I don't know what the
plan for the program will be henceforward.  It probably depends a lot on the
enrollment response.  In the community college system, there is a lot of
attrition in student interest, so it may be necessary to offer the first
course twice to fill a second course, and the second course twice to fill a
third, etc.


I think that Shoreline C. C. sometimes has a class that covers Linux, but I
don't see it in the Winter Quarter catalog.


Edmonds Community College has given classes in UNIX/LINUX for a long, long
time as well:


CIS 271: LINUX +

Provides hands on training in installation, configuration, operation,
management, basic networking, security and troubleshooting in the Linux
operating system. Maps to and provides prep in CompTIA's Linux+
Certification Exam.

Prerequisite: CMPSC 132 with a GPA of at least 2.5 or equivalent experience.

A5   MCWILLIAMS G   SNH 105  Sa  8:30 AM-3:00 PM

Hybrid course (includes both online & classroom instruction)
Review the Blackboard Login Instructions to access this class.

Instructor email: grant.mcwilliams at edcc.edu

An additional fee of $53.65 is collected for this class.

Meets 01/12/08 - 03/15/08.
The last day to register for this class is 01/22/08.

As you can see, this is a Saturday class that is quite concentrated.  I
don't know as much about this class, but Grant McWilliams has been teaching
Linux for some time.  This class is apparently really nuts-and-bolts
oriented and is focused on passing a computer tech certification.

The so-called Computer Science department also has a set of classes that
appear to be oriented to be more like North's.


First of a two-quarter survey of Linux/UNIX operations. Topics include
general operating system functions/principles, Bourne/Bash shells, basic
commands for common system operations, Linux installation/setup.

Prerequisite: Some computer experience highly recommended.

AA5 SNH 105  MTWTh  10:30 AM-11:20 AM

Enrollment in the following lab is required.

AL0 SNH 105  F  10:30 AM-12:10 PM

An additional fee of $12.45 per credit is collected for this class.


Second of a two-quarter survey of Linux/UNIX operations. Topics include
general operating system functions/principles, advanced commands,
introduction to regular expressions and scripting.

Prerequisite: CMPSC 132 with a 2.5 or higher GPA or instructor's permission.

SA5 SNH 105  MW 6:00 PM-7:40 PM

Enrollment in the following lab is required.

SL0 SNH 105 MW 7:45  PM-8:35PM

An additional fee of $12.45 per credit is collected for this class.

I note that there is no instructor listed for either of these classes, which
is something of a warning sign.  All of the full-time instructors I knew up
there have apparently retired.  So, they are probably out looking for
someone from industry to teach the classes, and this can be a mixed
blessing.  You can get people who have a lot of practical, up-to-date
experience with the latest distros, but with very little understanding of
how to impart the knowledge in the classroom.  Ask a lot of questions.
Full-time instructors, by contrast, tend to have the diametrically opposite
characteristics -- shielded from the real world but adept at presenting what
they do know.

Edmonds has also been focusing on courses in computer security, if that's of

But the syllabi cited here seems good.  Note that these classes start the
week of January 7th, not the 2nd, showing again how the bureaucracy doesn't
work in the state higher ed system.


Now I see that Cascadia also has a course listed:


BIT 127  Linux Client/Server Basics

This course is designed to provide a basic foundation in Linux Operating
System for individuals who are planning on entering systems/network, web,
and/or database administration. This course provides the necessary
background in basic Linux commands, concepts and techniques for entry level
into the small business workplace.

Prerequisite(s): Completion of BIT 101 with a grade of 2.0 or higher
or evidence of work at or above that level.

ITEM 1280  Sec01    Jackson, G.  5CR   5:45 pm-7:50 pm   TTh   CC2-180
This class has an additional fee of $21.50.

This course appears to be more superficial than the NSCC and EdCC courses,
but might be worth checking-out as a less challenging opportunity for a
jump-start to your own learning.  Cascadia is also pretty easy to reach,
except the traffic at rush hour can be ugly.


There may be other venues within range from the Seattle/Shoreline area (I
live just south of the Shoreline border) that offer similar classes, such as
Everett CC, Lake Washington Tech College, Seattle Central CC, South Seattle
CC, Bellevue CC (maybe), but they are harder to get to from Seattle,
depending on the time of day.  Note that Linux classes could be listed under
"Information Technology", "Business Information Technology", "Computer
Science", or the "Amusements for Geeks Department" for all I know.


Now, how do you take these classes, he asks rhetorically.  If you  haven't
been fortunate enough to retire at a tender age and are 60 or over, you can
take these classes for a tuition of five bucks ($5) apiece, with space
available and instructor permission.  If you have been able to retire early,
you can probably afford the full freight going rate for the classes :-)  By
the way, this so-called "senior waiver" benefit applies to all state-run
higher ed classes.  I have not taken any courses at the UW, but know of
people who have.   You'll usually find a description of the waiver program
in the "fine print" in the institutions' catalogs.  They don't go out of
their way to publicize the program, to say the least.

But, just like the fraud of $30 car license tabs, and just like for all the
other students, the "waveree" gets slammed with lab fees and others, so the
tuition is not really the real cost.   You can probably count on a total of
$75 to $100 for a quarter's registration.  You are allowed to register for
two courses per quarter under this program, and the second would not double
the total cost.  While you are at it, why not also just grab a class in
music appreciation or geography or something.

Parking is, or used to be, free at Edmonds, but a pass for the quarter is
pretty pricey at North.  Both North's and Edmonds' campuses are really easy
to get to from Shoreline and are served quite well by buses.

The process to enroll under the "senior waiver" is: you go to class on the
first day or later and tell the instructor your intentions.  Your window for
actually registering doesn't start until the second week of class, to allow
time for students paying full freight to have priority, but I have never had
trouble registering as a senior for any of these classes. Of course, when
there are a finite number of computers or pianos or whatever in the
classroom, that does create a practical limit on class size.

You have to get the instructor's signature on the registration, but I don't
think that you will ever be challenged for prerequisites.  You can audit the
courses; and you can elect not take any exams, or just take the tests for
your own edification.

Note again that your registration window will be only during the second week
of class.


There may also be other Linux courses offered by Community Colleges in the
category of "Continuing Education" or "Business Technology Center" or
something of the sort.  Beware of these.  The senior waiver doesn't apply to
C/E classes.  They are also usually much more brief, concentrated, wham-bam
types of classes; and the cost runs two to three times the full freight cost
of "regular school" classes. The regular school classes are subsidized by
the state, but the C/E classes are "self-sustaining", at least that's the

The Linux+ course that Grant McWilliams teaches at Edmonds used to be a C/E
class taught in the Third Place Books building in LFP, but it appears that
it has now been assimilated by the regular school and is taught on the main
campus -- but I would email Grant and check to be sure.

One more thing: these catalog listings are made "on spec", and a class that
doesn't get a minimum enrollment may be cancelled right up to day one.  The
website listings that I provided include live "command buttons" that will
bring up the status of enrollment in the class (servers are down at night),
but you still don't know what the threshold for making a class go will be.
It's usually around 10 students; but sometimes, if an instructor is going to
be paid for X number of classes anyway, they will run them with very small
enrollments. Of course, since the status windows show the number of
positions remaining open in the class, you also have to know what a full
class would be to determine the number of enrollees.  Usually around 26
would be a decent guess for the assumed max number per class (but then
overloads are often allowed if the instructor will accept them).

There has also been at least one program offered commercial training outfit
in the area, but I don't know if it's still a going concern.


My recommendation would be to go to the class at North and then check-out
the one at Edmonds as well, in order to learn the details of the syllabus
and the vibes of the instructors before you commit.  that will also keep
your options open in case any of the courses are cancelled at the last

If you are intending to participate under the senior waiver, you have a
perfect excuse to spend the first week of class or more sitting-in without
formally signing-up.  But remember, the enrollment window closes at the end
of the second week of a class's meetings.  The really annoying fact that
North (and the rest of the Seattle Community College District's campuses)
start some quarters out of sync with the other CCs in the area makes this
process a little more challenging and tightens up the time for the decision


Finally, you say that you have trouble learning from books.  My learning
style also favors a jump-start from a class, and I can then go to books for
specific information when I understand the lexicon and have some context in
place.  There are lots of books on Linux, but many of them are daunting and
serve best as reference manuals that you just don't even attempt to read
from cover to cover like a novel.  Trying to do that could lead to a real
aversion to that M/O.  So, you have to pick the correct book to get an
overview of the subject at your own level of comfort.  Some books come with
a CD or DVD of a distro included, and the book walks you through installing
and using it.

For instance:




You might also browse the following site, and sign up for their notices of
specials (usually materials that are a bit superceded but not obsolete):


GSLUG people can provide other suggestions and recommendations, I am


Ken Meyer

-----Original Message-----

From: members-bounces at lists.sasag.org
[mailto:members-bounces at lists.sasag.org]
On Behalf Of Adam Morehead
Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2008 12:29 PM
To: members at lists.sasag.org

Subject: [SASAG] Training Information

Hello List!

    I have been tasked to take some training soon. I am looking for
information from anyone who has information on linux basic admin classes and
mac training (like the MacOS 101 Mac OS X Support essentials classes,
however it must be in this state.

Any Info For me out there?

Adam Morehead
Senior Computer Specialist
APL-UW Distributed Computing Services

Mailbox 355640
Henderson Hall, Room 401
Campus phone: 543-1377
am at apl.washington.edu

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