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Old 09-18-2013, 07:18 PM   #1
beancounterx
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Linux use in college and work


Hello all,
I have a question that may be off topic, but bear with me. I'm a middle aged guy in college as an undergrad in Computer Science. I'm learning linux through Slackware, but am appalled to learn there is little actual linux use or enthusiasm at my school or the other colleges in my state (Mississippi, BIG SURPRISE!!).
I figured some of you hard core Slackers are probabley in IT in the work force or academia and can explain what is the amount of linux use out there?
I understand that only a few programming languages, like JAVA or C++ can be part of a CS program and you have to learn other things on your own, but It seems I can go take tech classes at a community college and learn more languages and linux? I'm confused.
College is the only place in America were you have to go into debt for years and can't learn what you want to learn!!
 
Old 09-18-2013, 07:33 PM   #2
mattallmill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beancounterx View Post
Hello all,
I have a question that may be off topic, but bear with me. I'm a middle aged guy in college as an undergrad in Computer Science. I'm learning linux through Slackware, but am appalled to learn there is little actual linux use or enthusiasm at my school or the other colleges in my state (Mississippi, BIG SURPRISE!!).
I figured some of you hard core Slackers are probabley in IT in the work force or academia and can explain what is the amount of linux use out there?
I understand that only a few programming languages, like JAVA or C++ can be part of a CS program and you have to learn other things on your own, but It seems I can go take tech classes at a community college and learn more languages and linux? I'm confused.
College is the only place in America were you have to go into debt for years and can't learn what you want to learn!!
First of all, welcome to the club. I'm also middle-aged (41) and attending as an undergraduate in Computer Science at K-State. I'm finding that the colleges find out from the workforce what languages are most popular and teach that. I'm learning Java ATM, and learned Python last semester. I like Python a lot better, as Java makes things unnecessarily complicated, IMO. The only class where you can learn linux is Introduction to Unix. My experience is that you will have to learn these languages that the workplace wants, whether you like the language or not. Java isn't my cup of tea, but if it helps me get a job one day, then so be it.

As for Slackware, I'm discovering the same thing you are; there's not a whole lot of enthusiasm for Linux or anything Unix on campus. It seems most students use whatever OS came with their computers (although a few students are downgrading (or is it upgrading?) from Windows 8 to 7. A couple of students are using Ubuntu, but I'm not finding anyone else who is using Slackware here. That's alright, though. I kind of like being the geek stud on campus.

So hang in there, buddy. Your situation may be unique where you are, but you are by no means the only one in America in that same situation.

Regards,

Matt
 
Old 09-18-2013, 07:37 PM   #3
hemp4fuel
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Im an old guy that graduated a few years ago from a school that pretty much used windows exclusively, but the main programming language we worked with was java, so I was able to get by with Slackware and a windows vm. The things I learned that have helped me the most in learning to be proficient at programming didn't matter what operating system was used. These were classes such as logic, discrete math, and data structures.

Now that I graduated I found a job working with .net and windows, but at least I get the joy of coming home to a Slackware machine at night.

I hope that having a few years of experience under my belt will allow me to find another job in the near future that I can actually use my preferred operating system as my programming environment. I have been learning python and javascript in my spare time to increase my chances of finding a job I will be happier in, although I enjoy making code work in any language.

I wish you luck with your education, and hopefully the fundamental skills they offer will be useful to you no matter what OS you choose.
 
Old 09-18-2013, 07:44 PM   #4
dugan
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There are many Linux fans among the faculty of BCIT's CST program.
 
Old 09-18-2013, 07:52 PM   #5
beancounterx
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Thanks for the reply Matt. I'm glad I'm not as crazy as I thought. It's strange because I used to work in government and we used Unix and friends I've kept in touch with in the military, all say the D.O.D. and their contractors all use Linux and the open source languages associated with it.
You would think there would be more interest. Buddies in engineering have classes using linux, python, etc. But not Computer Science.
Oh well, such is life!

Thanks,

Wally
 
Old 09-18-2013, 08:06 PM   #6
beancounterx
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Thanks for the replies hemp and dugan. We should start an old guys forum.
 
Old 09-18-2013, 08:46 PM   #7
TracyTiger
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Old Guys Forum

Quote:
Originally Posted by beancounterx View Post
We should start an old guys forum.
A recent poll shows you're half way to an old guys forum just by joining this Slackware forum.
 
Old 09-18-2013, 09:13 PM   #8
mattallmill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beancounterx View Post
Thanks for the reply Matt. I'm glad I'm not as crazy as I thought. It's strange because I used to work in government and we used Unix and friends I've kept in touch with in the military, all say the D.O.D. and their contractors all use Linux and the open source languages associated with it.
You would think there would be more interest. Buddies in engineering have classes using linux, python, etc. But not Computer Science.
Oh well, such is life!

Thanks,

Wally
Just goes to show that life sometimes takes some strange twists and turns, and is not at all like we expect it to be at times. If my 4 decades of experience have taught me anything, it's to expect the unexpected, because that's usually what you'll get.

Regards,

Matt
 
Old 09-18-2013, 09:36 PM   #9
flokofcgulls
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Well here's a topic that hits close to home!

I am also a middle-aged Slackware user in the undergraduate computer science program at East Carolina. I've been tinkering with Linux off and on for several years, but after seeing the implementation of Windows 8 I decided to buckle down and learn enough to switch over permanently. Slackware ended up being the distro that captured my heart by staying true to the Unix philosophies and giving insightful comments at every login. While it ended up taking a whole summer to learn, it was well worth the effort.

I have also noticed that my classmates have little to no interest in Slackware, or Linux in general. Most are using Windows 7/8, but I see a lot of Mac's running OSX as well. I have tried to share the joy and benefits of being the master of our machines with them, but it just doesn't seem to be important to this generation.

I'm currently taking Intro to Data Structures, and our professor has given us the luxury of developing in any environment that we wish for the course. I'm using EMACS as my development environment, and g++ to compile my assignments, while everyone else seems to have chosen Visual Studio. It's always interesting to hear their observations, with my favorite so far being "is THAT what it looks like?!"

I think a lot of the aversion of Slackware, or any Linux-based system, to the younger crowd is a combination of peer pressure, media influence, and unfamiliarity. Young people want to use what all their friends are using, which is the flavor-of-the-month that company XYZ is advertising everywhere, and working at the command line is portrayed as archaic or inefficient. They are growing up in a world where opening your device and poking around is almost taboo, which really stifles creativity and experimentation. When we were growing up there were no graphical interfaces other than clever use of ASCII, and opening your computer was just a normal part of owning one. How times have changed...

It's great to hear that others are helping to bring a Slackware presence into the world of academics and computer science. Be sure to wear your Slackware t-shirts to class!
 
Old 09-18-2013, 10:02 PM   #10
mattallmill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flokofcgulls View Post
Well here's a topic that hits close to home!

I am also a middle-aged Slackware user in the undergraduate computer science program at East Carolina. I've been tinkering with Linux off and on for several years, but after seeing the implementation of Windows 8 I decided to buckle down and learn enough to switch over permanently. Slackware ended up being the distro that captured my heart by staying true to the Unix philosophies and giving insightful comments at every login. While it ended up taking a whole summer to learn, it was well worth the effort.

I have also noticed that my classmates have little to no interest in Slackware, or Linux in general. Most are using Windows 7/8, but I see a lot of Mac's running OSX as well. I have tried to share the joy and benefits of being the master of our machines with them, but it just doesn't seem to be important to this generation.

I'm currently taking Intro to Data Structures, and our professor has given us the luxury of developing in any environment that we wish for the course. I'm using EMACS as my development environment, and g++ to compile my assignments, while everyone else seems to have chosen Visual Studio. It's always interesting to hear their observations, with my favorite so far being "is THAT what it looks like?!"

I think a lot of the aversion of Slackware, or any Linux-based system, to the younger crowd is a combination of peer pressure, media influence, and unfamiliarity. Young people want to use what all their friends are using, which is the flavor-of-the-month that company XYZ is advertising everywhere, and working at the command line is portrayed as archaic or inefficient. They are growing up in a world where opening your device and poking around is almost taboo, which really stifles creativity and experimentation. When we were growing up there were no graphical interfaces other than clever use of ASCII, and opening your computer was just a normal part of owning one. How times have changed...

It's great to hear that others are helping to bring a Slackware presence into the world of academics and computer science. Be sure to wear your Slackware t-shirts to class!
What you've said really resonates with me. I started with computers that had nothing but the command line: TRS-80 Model I/III, Apple IIe, Commodore 64. Typing commands to make the computer do what you want seems as natural to me as breathing. What a shame that has gone by the wayside. It's being dismissed by a generation that got their degrees in computer science from Point & Click University, it seems.

While I will agree that a GUI has its place in today's computing, one would be remiss in dismissing the CLI outright, as some tasks are better (and more efficiently) done on the command line. I believe a balance exists between the GUI and CLI, and finding that balance is something that we all have to find out for ourselves.

I learned to type on a manual typewriter. I seriously doubt that many young people have even *seen* a typewriter, let alone used one. So using my fingers in interaction with a computer is quite natural to me. I don't think, however, that many others who didn't grow up using the computers of the 80's and early 90's can fully appreciate the power of the CLI unless they are brave and try using it on a regular basis. They really will find out that judicious use of the command line will save a lot of time if one knows the proper commands to do relatively simple tasks that would take much longer with the GUI.

As for the T-shirts: I have yet to order one, but after seeing your post, I might just do that. It sounds like a mighty interesting idea!

Who knew there were so many of us old guys in college studying computer science and using Slackware? There are more of us than one would have thought....


Regards,

Matt
 
Old 09-18-2013, 10:10 PM   #11
jefro
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There are many arguments for Windows and AD and even Mac. Both may have application that can't be replicated on windows.

Not for profits don't pay much for their software so they aren't as inclined to change.
 
Old 09-18-2013, 11:12 PM   #12
beancounterx
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Today CompSci, Tomorrow, School of Engineering and Technology. Well, it's on the way to ruling the world, right?

Or as Mark Twain said “It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.” I always thought that was a Bear Bryant quote. Good thing I'm back in college.

Wally
 
Old 09-19-2013, 01:39 AM   #13
Holering
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beancounterx View Post
I'm confused.
College is the only place in America were you have to go into debt for years and can't learn what you want to learn!!
Haha that's how it is it seems. I'm almost done with my courses (about two weeks left) in computer science but I've learned what I wanted to; my only gripe is, I feel I need more practice with math and writing (only had a GED before College). All I can say is that most stuff (practically all) I've learned so far with Linux, programming, electrical, and technology in general, has been from the Internet (besides what I've learned from college). I feel bad because my parents wanted me to graduate from college and I honestly think I should've attended a non-online college (have only done online); online college doesn't give you social practice and thicker skin (it does give you electronic communication practice however).

Think you may want to dig online for knowledge and do your own projects (rebuilding broken electronics, programming, etc) while following your passion. There's many guide's available to follow as well (there's plenty of scripting and programming examples here on the forums); and many others have started projects that you may want to join. It really depends on the kind of person you are I think; mostly if you're an outgoing team player type with physical contact, private self-motivated type, and/or someone who solely wants to keep contact electronically.

Best of Luck!

Regards

Last edited by Holering; 09-19-2013 at 01:41 AM.
 
Old 09-19-2013, 05:51 AM   #14
commandlinegamer
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Twenty-six years ago, I started uni and at that time the computer science department had a couple of VAX-11/780s running Unix (SysVR4 IIRC), a fair number of Sun Workstations and various rooms of terminals (VT100/220 or similar). In addition there were maybe a handful of IBM-PCs.

We learned Unix and as far as teaching went, the primary language in use was Pascal, while the hackers used C.

A few years later, when I bought my own PC, I wanted to emulate what I'd had back at uni. And I found what I needed with the book "Using Linux" which came with a Slackware disc (3.6
I think).

So the groundwork was laid back in 87-89, but really, for the last 15 years, it's been self-taught.
 
Old 09-19-2013, 06:33 AM   #15
JWJones
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I'm lucky to live near a university that has a very healthy Linux community, and huge involvement in OSS: Oregon State University. OSU Open Source Labs (OSUOSL) is a major force in the Linux world:

http://osuosl.org/
 
  


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