COP 4342 Unix Tools
(Fall 2014)

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce students to a variety of Unix based commands, utilities and languages such as shell scripts, Perl, Python, debuggers, editors, and others such as the ones used for network monitoring. The utilities are available to assist users, researchers, programmers and system administrators who operate in a Unix/Linux environment. Given the time constraints, students will not be expected to achieve complete mastery of these tools. Rather, the students will be introduced to their function and utility with the expectation that students, now having knowledge of same, will further advance their skills when the need for a specific tool arises.

Course Objective:

  1. Be able to develop simple Unix shell programs to solve general problems
  2. Be able to develop Perl programs to perform simple data analysis and other simple programming tasks
  3. Be able to develop Python programs to solve simple programming problems
  4. Be familiar with other Unix tools such as sed, awk, and expect, etc.
  5. Be able to use network monitoring tools such as ping, traceroute, netstat, tcpdump, etc
  6. Be able to use Unix programming utilities such as editors, debuggers, make, CVS, etc
  7. Be able to use Unix/Linux based digital forensic tools (if time permits)


All students in this class are expected to have a working knowledge of UNIX from the user standpoint, and have successfully completed at least one programming classes. This course is designed to expand the student's understanding of the Unix environment beyond that point, covering topics not (or lightly) covered in other Computer Science courses.

Talk with the instructor if you have any concerns.


Workload and Grading:

  1. Homework assignments: 55% (including both written assignments and programming assignments)
  2. Midterm exam: 20%
  3. Final exam: 25%

Final letter grades

A [90-100]
A- [87-90)
B+ [84-87)
B [81-84)
B- [78-81)
C+ [75-78)
C [72-75)
C- [70-72)
D [60-70)
F <60

Course Policies:

Attendance Policy:

The university requires attendance in all classes, and it is also important to your learning. The attendance record may be provided to deans who request it. If your grade is just a little below the cutoff for a higher grade, your attendance will be one of the factors that we consider, in deciding whether to "bump" you up to the higher grade. Missing three or fewer lectures will be considered good attendance. In rare cases, such as medical needs or jury duty, absences may be excused with appropriate documentation. You should let me know in advance, when possible, and submit the documentation I seek. You should make up for any materials missed due to absences.

NOTE: recitation attendance is required. Both announced and unannounced quizzes will be given during recitations.

Missed exam Policy:

A missed exam will be recorded as a grade of zero. We will follow the university rules regarding missed final exams (see, for all the exams, including the final exam.

Late Assignment Policy:

In order to enable us to provide timely solutions to assignments, we have the following policy regarding submission of late assignments.

Incomplete Grade (Grade of 'I') Policy:

The grade of 'I' will be assigned only under the following exceptional circumstances:

The Florida State University Academic Honor Policy outlines the University
's expectations for the integrity of students' academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process.  Students are responsible for reading the Academic Honor Policy and for living up to their pledge to . . . be honest and truthful and . . . [to] strive for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University.  (Florida State University Academic Honor Policy, found at


Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should:
(1) register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center; and
(2) bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type.  This should be done during the first week of class.

This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request.

For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact the:

Student Disability Resource Center
874 Traditions Way
108 Student Services Building
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4167
(850) 644-9566 (voice)
(850) 644-8504 (TDD)
(850) 644-7164

Academic Integrity:

Remember that the goal of programming assignments and homework is to enhance your analysis, reasoning, and programming skills. Indulging in academic dishonesty defeats this purpose apart from being unfair to other students. In case you have any questions about whether an act of collaboration may be construed as academic dishonesty, please clarify the issue with the instructor before you collaborate.

All students should follow FSU Academic Honor Code. You might be assigned a grade of 'F', if you are found to have indulged in academic dishonesty.

Syllabus Changes

This syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advance notice.