[NSWI177] Distance teaching etc. for NSWI177 course

Vojtech Horky horky at d3s.mff.cuni.cz
Wed Mar 11 10:05:55 CET 2020

Dear all,

as you probably already know, standard teaching has been suspended for 
an indefinite period of time because of COVID-19 threat [1].

[1] https://mff.cuni.cz/coronavirus

We are now looking at the options for distance teaching (we should 
realistically assume that standard teaching will not be resumed soon) 
and how to continue with the course. Because we are quite happy with how 
you were preparing for the labs using the before-class, we will probably 
continue in this direction.

However, not everything we wanted to talk about in the labs is actually 
present in the exercises. We need some time to expand the exercises to 
make them more self-contained and ready for self-study. We expect to 
start putting extended exercises on the web sometime next week (we will 
inform you via this mailing-list).

Meanwhile, I would recommend you to install GNU/Linux on your computer. 
There are basically three options: (1) dual-boot, (2) install on a USB 
disk or (3) install it in a virtual environment (such as VirtualBox [2]).

[2] https://www.virtualbox.org/

(1) is the most advanced (as you need to resize disk partition with your 
existing OS - but do not worry, it can be done either in the existing OS 
or directly from the installer) but also gives you the best results 
(performance, ease of use, ...).

(2) is a perfect option for beginners as you do not need to touch your 
hard-drive at all.

(3) is the safest option but it has the downside that the virtualized 
system is always a bit slower and the extra layer can be annoying.

Our recommendation for the distribution to use is Fedora [3]. Select the 
workstation edition. If you prefer other desktop environment than GNOME, 
you may want to download some of the spins [4] (obviously, you can 
install the right environment from any edition: the spin only have it as 
a default).

[3] https://getfedora.org/
[4] https://spins.fedoraproject.org/

You can also connect remotely to the machines in the Rotunda lab and 
also in both rooms SU1 and SU2 using SSH. The machines are available as

- u-pl{1-30}.ms.mff.cuni.cz (Rotunda)
- u1-{1-14}.ms.mff.cuni.cz (SU1)
- u2-{1-25}.ms.mff.cuni.cz (SU2)

Connect to a random one to prevent overload ;-). One way to connect from 
Windows to a remote Linux machine is to use PuTTY [5].

[5] https://putty.org/

It is difficult to predict how the self-study and remote teaching will 
affect such hands-on course as this one. Things that could be explained 
by practical demonstration during the labs may be difficult to explain 
over e-mail. Thus we are ready to relax the grading requirements to 
reflect all these circumstances. But we encourage you to work on the 
exercises and the tasks as they are announced and not postpone it 

Final notes: do not forget to activate your GitLab account if you have 
not done already (see notes on the course website). Please, use this 
mailing list for any questions regarding organization of the course or 
any of the exercises or tasks. Also, do not be afraid to answer 
questions of your colleagues if you already struggled with the same 
problem and solved it. We only ask you not to post here complete 
solutions of the graded tasks.

Best regards,
- Vojtech Horky

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