ITIC:Setting up your environment

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Revision as of 11:20, 24 June 2019 by Rikard (Talk | contribs) (Second choice - Mac OS: Some instructions and link to our page on Ports and Homebrew)

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Setting up your environment


Since this course material is aimed at courses introducing computers and information technology, and is quite focused around working in the terminal (in your shell/command line interpreter), you need to install some software which allows you to have a common environment with your course peers and teachers.

The basic requirement for this course is thus a terminal running a shell, and we have chosen Bash as the shell.

It is in this shell (command line interpreter) you will do most of the work such as exercises, workshops and assignments in the course material.

You also need a web browser and an editor (for editing plain text files) in order to complete the course material.

You cannot follow this course material if you have a Chrome Book with Chrome OS. You need Windows, Mac OS X or GNU/Linux (or Unix).

First choice - Ubuntu running on Virtual Box

This is the ideal setup for following this course material. Note: If you run GNU/Linux (e.g. Ubuntu or some other distribution) you are fine and set to go! Just make sure you are running Bash in one of your terminals.

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution. We recommend installing Ubuntu on a virtual machine using Oracle Virtual Box (which is free software), so that you can keep your native OS and start a virtual machine whenever you want to run Ubuntu during class. Your computer's OS will be the "host" OS and Ubuntu will then be "guest" OS in the tutorials and manuals below.

More about setting up Virtual Box here:

The main reason for installing Ubuntu for this course material, is to give our students a uniform computer environments, in particular for the parts involving working in the terminal with the Bash shell (a shell is a command interpreter) and a range of commands/programs meant to be run from a terminal. However, as a bonus, you will probably learn a lot about computers and operating systems from installing Ubuntu from scratch. Knowing about virtualization is also good, and this is why we recommend this setup.

Second choice - Mac OS

If you cannot get Virtual Box up and running Ubuntu on your Mac, you will be fine with your Mac terminal. But make sure you install the latest version of Bash, ports and Homebrew. Instructions for Mac OS is available here.

This is not optimal but will work well enough for you to do the exercises, workshops and assignments. It is good if you work with a friend who is able to install Virtual Box, so that you will learn from that experience even if you couldn't get it to work yourself.

Second choice - Windows

If you cannot get Virtual Box up and running Ubuntu on your Windows operating system, you can install Cygwin. Cygwin comes with a package manager for installing "Bash programs" and also a terminal emulator running Bash. This is not optimal but will work well enough for you to do the exercises, workshops and assignments.

We have instructions for installing Cygwing here:


Download Virtual Box

  • Link here

Further reading

  • Reading tips here

Where to go next

  • Navigation here