CSC 295.03 2013S Roots of Professional Practice: A Philosophy of Unix

Front Door

This handout is also available in PDF.


Welcome to the Spring 2013 session of Grinnell College's CSC 295.03, a special topics course entitled Roots of Professional Practice - A Philosophy of Unix. In this course, we will explore the approaches that professionals take when developing software in the Unix environment. But we will also delve more deeply into the underlying Unix philosophy that guides this practice.

There will be very little lecture in the class. The focus will be on collaborative exploration of problems and their solutions. Each class, I expect to suggest a problem and an approach and to have the class discuss and experiment with alternatives.

The Web site for the course is You can find all sorts of interesting things on the course web, and I'd encourage you to look there.

This is an experimental course. Among other things, this means that I expect to be updating the syllabus as the semester goes on.


Meets: Tuesdays, 1:15-2:05 p.m., Science 3819.

Instructor: Samuel A. Rebelsky, Science 3824. 269-4410 (office). 236-7445 (home).
Office hours: Wed 10:00-11:50, Thu 2:15-3:05, Fri 10:00-10:50.
I tend to follow an open door policy: Feel free to stop by when my door is open or to make an appointment for another time. I have children, so please do not call my house before 7 a.m. or after 10 p.m.


This course is offered for one credit and is graded as S/D/F. All students who take the course are expected to

Textbooks and Other Readings

You are not required to get these books. They are simply recommendations. More recommendations will follow

Mike Gancarz. 1994. The Unix Philosophy. Digital Press.

Eric S. Raymond. 2003. The Art of Unix Programming. Addison-Wesley.

Samuel A. Rebelsky. 2013. The Glimmer Guide to C and *nix. An e-book in progress, available at



Monday, 24 September 2012 [Samuel A. Rebelsky]

  • Created. Based on various course front doors I've created in the past.


Disclaimer: I usually create these pages on the fly, which means that I rarely proofread them and they may contain bad grammar and incorrect details. It also means that I tend to update them regularly (see the history for more details). Feel free to contact me with any suggestions for changes.

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