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Ask Slashdot: Linux Support In Universities? 432

Posted by timothy
from the but-which-version-of-windows-is-that dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I study Computer Science at a university in Melbourne, Australia. I recently went to a 'Directions of IT' seminar run by our central IT department, where students were invited to discuss issues with the senior management of IT. During discussion about proposed changes to our campus-wide wireless network, I asked if the new system would support Macs, Linux and other Operating Systems. Several of the managers laughed at this question, and one exclaimed 'Linux!' as if it was the punchline to a joke. The head of IT at least treated my question seriously, but I didn't get a concrete answer. So, I would like to ask Slashdot: Does your university/college provide support for Linux/BSD/etc users to connect to the on-campus wireless? How does IT support Linux users generally? Have IT staff ever ridiculed you for asking questions about Linux?"
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Ask Slashdot: Linux Support In Universities?

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday June 10, 2011 @09:30AM (#36399392)

    Does your university require some sort of special software to access its wireless network or something? My university has hotspots just like any wireless service. You can connect to it with whatever OS or device you like. They don't support Linux directly, but they certainly don't block it from the network.

    • by Anrego (830717) *

      That was mostly my experience as well.

      They won't go out of their way to help you set it up or anything, but they don't actively support it either. Same as the ISP you are probably using. You can use Linux at home, but if you call their support line because you can't get a connection, well, good luck with that (even if it's an obvious line/hardware issue being reported by the modem itself)!

      • but if you call their support line because you can't get a connection, well, good luck with that

        Protip: keep a VM around with an old copy of XP installed. I just use my Mac, but if all you have is Linux, then a VM will give them all the appearance they want or need.

    • We had MAC address filtering, but nothing that would stop a Linux or Mac system (or indeed a phone or any other device you register the MAC for) from connecting.

    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday June 10, 2011 @09:50AM (#36399684) Homepage Journal

      The question that I have is what was meant by support. WiFi is usually platform independent so it should work for most devices. Do mean can you call them up and ask for help connecting? Probably not. Heck that is a support headache now for Windows. You have to deal with XP, Vista, and Windows7 plus manufactures often seem to want to add their own Wifi utility that you may have never seen before. On OS/X it just seems to work. Frankly on Linux if you have a good distro with on a system with a supported wifi chipset it also just seems to work.
      But if you say you support every platform at a University you will get some pain in the rear that will be running Contiki on an old 386 notebook trying to log on to the network asking for help.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday June 10, 2011 @10:01AM (#36399860) Journal
      One reasonably common sticking point that I've run into a few times on university networks comes up because of a hole in the set of options provided by "standard" 802.11a/b/g/n security mechanisms:

      You can run the network fully open; but then everybody's packets are in the clear(unless encrypted by whatever protocol/program they are using). You can run WEP/WPA-PSK; but that pretty much sucks for anything larger than a home network(half your users won't know the shared key, the other half will make it public knowledge in about two seconds). WPA-enterprise, with radius, works well enough architecturally; but configuration is kind of a pain in the ass for university-type situations where most devices aren't configured by the IT overlords.

      So, you get situations where the APs are run fully open; but the only thing visible is a VPN appliance of some flavor(usually rhymes with "nabisco"). Campus IT will provide a pre-rolled custom installer for windows, and sometimes OSX, that installs the (unbelievably sucky) Cisco VPN client, pre-populated with everything but your username and password, and away you go. Linux users can go whistle as far as IT is concerned; but there is usually a campus-specific FAQ written up by some benevolent CS grad student at the institution telling you what your vpnc config file needs to look like, and IT doesn't care if you do manage to connect by those unofficial means.

      Some schools, thankfully ones that I've never dealt with, demand some sort of(usually windows-specific) "client health monitoring" or "clean access" software be installed. That is a bigger issue. If you are lucky, they only demand it of windows clients and look the other way at macs, xboxes, and other miscellanious stuff, and you can get away with just connecting a linux box. If unlucky, "other" is treated as a pariah category...
      • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Friday June 10, 2011 @10:24AM (#36400248) Homepage

        Seems to me (and I'll grant you I might be entirely to logical for all this University network overlord stuff), that a "public wifi" system in this day and age that won't work with iOS, Android, Kindles, B&N Android, PS3s and X-boxes (assuming it covers the dorms), and MacOS at the very least is pretty much pointless. Once you support all of that, you pretty much support all open standards anyway, so adding Linux into the mix shouldn't be an issue. There was a time (not so very long ago) when supporting Windows was enough to cover 95% or more of your users. These days I'd be surprised if Windows covered even 50%. Between all the non-PC devices that use wifi now and the popularity of Macs on university campuses, I can't see why you'd even bother to maintain a Windows only wifi system.

        • I can't speak for the lost and the damned who require "clean access agents" and such horrors(even if you are running a windows box, the demand that you run some invasive crapware with AV-level security privileges on your personal machine seems a bit much...); but the ones who do the open wifi-to-Cisco VPN fall into the annoying intermediate category: They aren't fully broken, so it is hard to muster support for the demand that $X00,000 dollars worth of gear be torn out; but, because they are based on techno
          • I suppose I can see where a university might have a legacy system setup as you describe. The proliferation of non-PC wifi devices is a fairly recent development as is the proliferation of 64bit Windows. Macs have been popular on University campuses for while, but from the sounds of things you had at least moderate Mac support. I wouldn't have done it that way, mainly becasue I was a CS grad student and know how many of us used Linux either full time or dual boot; but I can see where it seemed like a leas

            • Yeah, I hardly mean to defend the system(I was just a student there, not even work-studying with IT, much less in charge of it); but that was my best-effort guess about why they operated as they did.

              My other university experience was more positive: The first time a new MAC showed up on the network, wired or wireless, it'd captive-portal you to an SSLed sign-in page where you could use your ID and password to authorize the device, and after that nothing more needed to be done. The only time that annoyed m
        • by skids (119237)

          When last I looked, Kindles don't support WPA-enterprise yet, unless you jailbreak them, so we "don't support them" here, but we prefer to think of it as "Amazon doesn't support sane WiFi". WPA-enterprise is the only reasonable solution for securing large networks other than VPN, and VPN is even more of a headache for end users than WPA-enterprise is.

          Things are improving -- newer M$ and MAC OSes are making it easier to configure WPA-enterprise and figuring out ways to bridge the "Can't tell what kind of EA

    • This seems to be the key point to me. Those in charge of the network will presume that if you use Linux, you will be able to figure it out for yourself.

      Not ideal but probably true.

    • by tixxit (1107127)

      I've seen a University network that required a program that ensures you have anti-virus, firewall, etc. programs installed just to access the network. The software was Windows only and it didn't last long (I'm guessing once the faculty started getting Macs, it became a much bigger problem).

      To the submitter, I think your University is nuts. Mine had campus-wide wifi 8 years ago and never did it require anything more than to log-on w/ your web browser. I think it is terrible that you were mocked by University

    • by bcrowell (177657)

      My university has hotspots just like any wireless service. You can connect to it with whatever OS or device you like. They don't support Linux directly, but they certainly don't block it from the network.

      Ditto at the school where I teach. People these days (including administrators) expect to be able to connect to wifi with all kinds of handheld devices, including Android. IT does claim authority over who's allowed to connect what device to an ethernet socket, but in reality they are reasonably flexible with employees who want to do that. They provide cables sticking out of the lecturer's podium specifically so that a professor can hook up a laptop to the wired network and the classroom's projector, so it w

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 10, 2011 @09:31AM (#36399396)

    How does IT support Linux users generally?

    Not in university, but I would assume it’s still the same old “if you use something other than windows or maybe mac, you are free to do so however you are on your own to figure it out and resolve any issues!” attitude. Which really I think is fair. At least now Novel is mostly dead so you don’t need to deal with that shit ;p

    I guess the question here would be, what specifically about the network do you need to support Linux. Basic connectivity should usually just work, unless they use some weird connection tool (do those even exist any more). Whatever web based systems your school is using _might_ work. Whatever standard tools your teachers dictate you use will probably be one platform only (and if they laughed at the mention of Linux, you can guess what platform that will be).

    And some general advice: don’t go too crazy trying to do _everything_ in Linux for the principle of it. If it’s easy, do it, if not, just get a windows VM up and running to do your work. Unless you enjoy that kinda stuff, the frustration of trying to get a teacher to accept the work you did in a tool he has never heard of on a platform he isn’t familiar with just isn’t worth it for the warm and fuzzy feeling.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Relayman (1068986)

      ... unless they use some weird connection tool (do those even exist any more).

      You, you've never run across Cisco's Clean Access Agent? Lucky you!

      • by Anrego (830717) *

        Is that the deal where you had to spoof your user agent to a mac browser or it would think you were windows and try to make you download some connection client?

    • by richlv (778496)

      And some general advice: don’t go too crazy trying to do _everything_ in Linux for the principle of it. If it’s easy, do it, if not, just get a windows VM up and running

      is that an offer to cover the cost for anybody, or a suggestion to pirate it ? :)

      • by Anrego (830717) *

        Software was always provided free to me (free as in, part of the tuition). Had some microsoft acedemic "shit tonne of software you just downloaded from this site" dealie. Milage probably varies greatly though.

      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        And some general advice: don’t go too crazy trying to do _everything_ in Linux for the principle of it. If it’s easy, do it, if not, just get a windows VM up and running

        is that an offer to cover the cost for anybody, or a suggestion to pirate it ? :)

        Chances are, his laptop has a windows license already, so technically, it wouldn't be a pirated copy. Now, whether he has the install disks or has to borrow a copy and use his own key is a different story.

        • by Anrego (830717) *

          Can always image the hard drive (using clonezilla or something similar) to an external, then re-image it to a virtual hard drive.

          I've actually done this successfully. Warning came up that I had to re-activate, but re-activation worked and everything else (mostly) functioned normally... YMMV.

      • Many institutions have an MSDNAA licence for science/engineering/IT/business students where we can get specific MS software licence keys free of charge. At RMIT they have 64 and 32 bit Windows as separate products so that's at least 2 keys per OS version (Vista has about 5 different things).

        Office is not free.

    • by Tarlus (1000874)

      Yeah, University of Arizona is the same. If it is a WiFi-capable device, it can be connected. The University provides instructions for Windows and OS X. Linux WiFi clients are too diverse to effectively create a guide. It's not that complicated though. If you're running Linux on your laptop then you're probably sharp enough to be able to figure out the WiFi client yourself.

    • by Asic Eng (193332)

      I would assume it's still the same old "if you use something other than windows or maybe mac, you are free to do so however you are on your own to figure it out and resolve any issue!" attitude. Which really I think is fair.

      Why? Linux is not particularly exotic anymore, and learning to use Linux is quite valuable for many university students. It seems that is something they should encourage rather than brush off. And of course new Linux users - just like new users of any OS - will occasionally need help.

  • During discussion about proposed changes to our campus-wide wireless network, I asked if the new system would support Macs, Linux and other Operating Systems.

    What is the authentication and accreditation methods/technologies involved with this "new system?" It's entirely possible the meeting was for 10,000 feet people and not the actual IT folks. For instance, your current system appears to support Linux [] (PDF Warning) and I would be surprised if the plan was to drop this.

    When I went to the University of Minnesota 2000-2004, the wireless was more or less agnostic to the operating system and their documentation has gotten much better []. When I was there I helped set up some Gnu OCR stuff on Linux so that people could scan books in the labs and at halls--perhaps if your response had been to investigate and volunteer documentation for a Linux solution, they wouldn't have treated you as the punchline to a joke? (I know that not everyone has as much free time during college, this is just a suggestion.)

    Have IT staff ever ridiculed you for asking questions about Linux?

    Yes, of course, back in 2000 when I was fresh off the farm, I was constantly ridiculed for asking questions about Linux. But for different reasons. Because I didn't know the difference between Linux, Unix, Solaris and BSD. The labs at UMN supported all of those widely with many many seats (well, maybe not BSD) and when I sat down at one I was temporarily outside of my comfort zone and would ask incredibly stupid questions. If you adopted the role of being the friendly helper to your administration, perhaps they could, as did I, eventually realize the amazing awesomeness and power of these operating systems? If they don't, you can always argue that diversity is great and offer to help with supporting your operating system of choice by making some documentation.

  • UNC Greensboro (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 10, 2011 @09:34AM (#36399452)

    Does your university/college provide support for Linux/BSD/etc users to connect to the on-campus wireless?

    No, although many faculty run Linux or OpenBSD. I have been able to discuss several different methods with faculty to connect to the WPA-PSK network; general consensus is that wicd works better than NetworkManager, and OpenBSD works better than wpa-supplicant based distros.

    How does IT support Linux users generally?

    They don't. Officially recommended to run MacOS or Windows.

    Have IT staff ever ridiculed you for asking questions about Linux?

    Yes. They seem to be from the MS School of thought. You remember those people...everything must run MS and if it doesn't, it sucks. The guys who run Ultimate editions of everything even though they don't need it, and brag about having a beta version of Office. Well now they work in IT.

    • by richlv (778496)

      Yes. They seem to be from the MS School of thought. You remember those people...everything must run MS and if it doesn't, it sucks. The guys who run Ultimate editions of everything even though they don't need it, and brag about having a beta version of Office. Well now they work in IT.

      the manager from the summary... why not publish his name so that we can ridicule him ? ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Generally, they're laughing because they've had the same discussions internally. I work in a university, and my servers mostly run Linux, but sometimes the software required for various user/student/client activities is only available on Windows (and if we're lucky, Mac). Linux just doesn't have enough of a userbase to be a roadblock to some software being adopted. Mac didn't used to, either, although that has changed in the past few years.

    And, keep in mind, like in a lot of places, the most technically

  • I am not sure how many other campuses are like this, but our campus (Southern Illinois University - Carbondale) makes use of Juniper VPN in order to allow students, faculty, and staff to log onto wireless. Basically the access points are open to all, but you need to use VPN software in order to be able to access the rest of the campus network, and ultimately the internet. For Linux users like me, it was a little bit of a pain to set up, since it makes use of a Java client to automagically set everything up.

    • by SomePgmr (2021234)
      IIRC, Illinois State used a Cisco solution that had similar problems. Worked great for windows machines... not so much for the rare linux user. That was some time ago though.
    • by Malc (1751)

      Ugh: Juniper is turning up everywhere, and it's utter wank. Or at least it is if using Juniper and Virtella's network.

      I was forced to move to it at work because it supports 64-bit Windows, whereas we had no 64-bit Cisco client available to us.

      Fast forward to my next business trip to China and I find the Juniper based VPN can't cope with the packet loss connecting to the West from my hotel room. I fire 32 bit Windows XP in VMWare Player and connect the Cisco client, and hey, I can suddenly download the ema

  • by omarius (52253)

    Linux support at my university is on a "best effort" basis (which usually means you get to talk to me). To be honest, I've never had to address wireless issues, but I can't think of any reason why one couldn't connect--it's as straightforward as WPA2-Enterprise gets, I reckon. iPads and Apples have no problem. At a guess, I'd say the faculty are ~15-20% Mac users and growing all the time.

    As a side note--when I got nominated the academic support Linux guy, I was terrified I'd get sneered at by rocket scie

  • by rwa2 (4391) * on Friday June 10, 2011 @09:45AM (#36399604) Homepage Journal

    Search around for your prospective university's Linux User Group. They would have all the information about how easy it is to run Linux in their environment, whether it is officially supported or not.

  • by synthparadox (770735) on Friday June 10, 2011 @09:45AM (#36399610) Homepage

    As an alumnus of Carnegie Mellon, I'm going to assume this is no big deal, but possibly at least confirms what people think. CMU has several Unix clusters, as well as Mac clusters. All of the downloadable software is supported on as many platforms as the software is created with. In fact, several classes (especially the digital IC design with CADENCE) are operated only in *nix environments.
    VPN access to on-campus resources are also provided in all operating environments, and having used both the PC and *nix ones, I can say documentation is quite complete. This is a relatively recent development, however, as the documentation and support has greatly improved since I started at CMU.
    It greatly helps when the professors are experts in the software they're teaching and help debug problems with the IT department. (The Hadoop cluster was especially fun to debug, especially with the broken JAR file passing in 0.20.1).

    • Out of curiosity, why "especially the digital IC design"?

      I know that at my school (Kansas State) it's generally done in a Linux VM, because the interface doesn't change as often as the Windows version of CADENCE. Is that the case for CMU?

  • They support it in the sense that they publish all the information that you should need to use things in an OS agnostic manner, but they're not going to help you with any of the specifics. It's unreasonable to expect them to. That said, if there were fundamental setup issues stopping a service working on linux and changing it to make it work wouldn't impact existing users, it's very likely that change would be made.

    Supporting linux internally is very different to supporting it for student use. Where I wo

  • ridiculed? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ephemeriis (315124) on Friday June 10, 2011 @09:49AM (#36399660) Homepage


    Linux was an integral part of my Computer Science education.

    The first few CSC courses were all run from a lab with tons of Alpha terminals. Later courses were conducted in labs where all the machines dual-booted Windows and Linux. Almost all of our programming assignments were done in a Linux environment.

    Plus, half the university's servers were running on some sort of Unix-like OS.

    And you're getting ridiculed for asking about Linux?

    Seems a little weird to me... Is Linux really such a marginal part of a modern university environment?

    • Is Linux really such a marginal part of a modern university environment?

      No, IT just expects Linux users to sort out their own problems (since they were capable of installing in the first place) instead of calling help desk with issues that they have no idea how to solve. Most of the Linux users are CS majors anyway. When's the last time you heard of a CS student calling the help desk for anything that could possibly solved without help desk involvement?

    • by TheSpoom (715771)

      This was my reaction too. What kind of university scoffs at someone using what started out as an academic operating system? Hell, my community college had a supercomputer node [] running some variety of Unix (I forget which), which we hacked on for a short while as part of our studies.

      IT support shouldn't have to directly support Linux but the network should be platform agnostic at the least.

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      Depends on campus. The university I graduated from was completely OpenLDAP with the Windows boxes first having a custom GINA, then when Vista pushed XP aside, just had the boxes think the LDAP box was an AD domain. The CS department lived and breathed on Linux and OS X. Other departments had Windows machines, but they were more of the exception, because most facility preferred Macs over anything else.

  • I have made it an imperative on my campus that we have as much cross os support ( and cross browser ) as possible. I can only think of one or two classes on campus (that are not windows it classes) that require windows (and soon each student will have a college supplied virtual desktop. ).

    We also make sure all in house systems like webapps work on all major browser (ie7+, chrome, firefox, opera, safari, elinks, etc)

  • University of Oxford (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hotseat (102621) on Friday June 10, 2011 @09:50AM (#36399686)

    Oxford's campus-wide wireless LAN project, OWL, operates like a hotspot scheme with open access points and a redirection to a login page for temporary credentials when you open a web browser. If you're a student or faculty member, you can instead use Cisco Anyconnect to access the university VPN and bypass the login screen.

    Not only does the university support Anyconnect on Linux clients, it also provides guidance for setting up an entirely Free Software alternative for those who would rather not download the official software. It's really quite good.

    Further details at []

  • My Belgian university (at least the electronics department and the computer science department) used Linux only in the computer labs, ran Matlab etc... on it, supported spreading your calculations over multiple workstations in the lab, and had posters "Linux is Education" hanging around. An introduction to Linux commands was given to all students when just starting with this.

  • I went to the 'Direction of IT' seminar at RMIT a month ago and no one I talked to looked down their nose at Linux. In fact they are planning to try to be platform neutral as much as reasonably possible. All critical systems work and only problems are when random people use funky .docx or .pptx files and expect you to submit the same but IT doesn't really enforce that.

    Wireless works better with Network Manager than with Windows (which needs SecureW2) and I even got it working with WICD and strait up wpa_sup

  • by telekon (185072) <> on Friday June 10, 2011 @09:55AM (#36399762) Homepage Journal

    I work in IT at a university, and Linux support is on a best-effort basis. Wireless isn't an issue, because we use WPA2 Enterprise. If your IT department isn't using open standards for something like wireless, I hate to think what else you have to deal with. The biggest Linux issue I have is VPN access. Unfortunately, the support/use of open standards kinda ends with the WiFi network. The VPN is Juniper, and requires a horrid Java-based client to access it. The web portal you have to use to get the client is an ASP abomination, and ineptly attempts OS detection, routinely failing on Linux. It's possible to actually get the client, but not without 1) Digging into the page's source to find out where the clients are, 2) using the JS console to trigger the function that actually retrieves the client, 3) writing a bash script to load the client and required Java libs, and (on a 64-bit machine) 4) installing 32-bit JRE and using that location in said bash script.

    I had expected a university with a top-notch CS department would be better than average on basic IT stuff. But no, it's Windows cargo-cult bullshit everywhere you go. Don't get me wrong, there are always pockets of interesting stuff going on... But universities in general... brilliant faculty and students, but the place is actually run by retarded monkeys.

  • by poity (465672) on Friday June 10, 2011 @09:55AM (#36399764)

    I'm pretty sure networking hardware and the software they use are platform-neutral with respect to client connections, and they took your issue as an instance of "THAT dude who thinks he's leet for using linux yet doesn't know how networks operate."

  • I guess it would depend on whether you needed access to certain resources which were only available from within the domain, and you couldn't VPN in, but could you and fellow students not build an alternative to the "official" network?

    I remember at Uni (Southampton) there was an alternative wireless network, not run by the University, which had pretty good coverage across the campus ("SOWN" was the SSID, I believe) - this might or might not have been run by students (I cannot remember), but it was not an

  • Yes (Score:5, Informative)

    by Enry (630) <`enry' `at' `'> on Friday June 10, 2011 @09:57AM (#36399788) Journal

    I work at a major University in the US (rhymes with Schmarvard).

    I lead a team of 6 that offers Linux training, OS installs, desktop support, and a Debian-based HPC/Web/Database/Tomcat/Wiki/RT environment. We used to get lots of requests to install Linux on laptops or desktops, though those have mostly slowed due to the fact it's easy to install. The desktops are almost all Ubuntu.

    Most everything else we do is OS-agnostic since there's a lot of OS X on campus. I think the only thing that's really specific to a Windows environment is Exchange and the Outlook client. I just fire up a VirtualBox VM and run Windows 7 in it.

  • All the universities I've experienced in the UK (including ones i've worked for in senior ICT roles) have been platform agnostic, to the point that it's a nightmare as an admin. Running messaging systems we weren't allowed to dictate to users at all what they chose to connect and dealing with things like the buggy IMAP implementation of the last release of Eudora caused no end of headaches!

    There were some managers who tried to push their agendas either way and as a department we certainly encouraged people

  • They have for some years, and Unix before that.
    Other faculties use various combinations of Windows and Macs.


  • I'm using a college computing as I type this. This PC, as do all the PCs in the building, dual boots on Windows XP and Suse Linux. There's a dedicated administrator for the Linux part, and there are Linux servers too. Some of our subjects (specifically those relating to secure programming [buffer overflows] and network programming) were all thought on Linux. All relevant printer drivers are setup to work under Linux just fine.

    Some of the lectures use Linux (Suse, Ubuntu, others), NetBSD, and Mac OSX on

    • by Tomahawk (1343)

      Forgot to mention that one of the campus societies (RedBrick, which is the computing society) does Linux admin training using the computers in the computing building. The computers on the rest of the campus are Windows only, but the WiFi will accept anything and allow it to work.

  • I recently took a position as general tech guy for one department of a university, liaising with central IT for stuff that they handle better. However, part of the deal is that, since I actually have Linux experience, I'm more or less the Linux support guy for the university now...

    So far, not much has come of that, but it's been less than a year...

    Dan Aris

  • I have seen in many case that while IT departments do not offer official support, they themselves provide link to either internal community based support or provide resources. So, you should look into that, and if none exists, I am sure you can work with a Linux user group at your University. They MUST know...
  • by xaoslaad (590527)
    University of Massachusetts at Lowell has Intro to Linux and Linux System Administration courses. Many of the courses that fall within the CS and IT degree programs also allow for submission of papers in (well now LibreOffice I guess...) formats. There are still some, like an Intro to MS Office class that I had to take that I would have been hard pressed to complete without a copy of Windows; but then the same can be said in reverse of some of the other courses...

    Things really just depend
  • Don't ask the teachers - if they knew the answers they'd wouldn't be teaching ;-p As the library staff or the student union, ask the support people. Or use Google. I've never had any problems accessing any of the major East coast uni networks. Monash [] Melbourne will tell you they don't support Linux - but then they're barely capable of reading the side of a Windows box... if you find translating the instructions for Windows users too hard (you should probably give up Linux and uni) ask the local LUG (the mem
  • For some services such as wifi there are instructions for various flavours of OS - Windows, Mac, Linux, Android. We have Enterprise WPA2 and the university requires you to install their certificate, but they've done a pretty decent job of documenting it for these OSes. Unfortunately some of the software they advocate is very Microsoft or Windows centric. The Computer Science department goes quite a bit further - its lab machines run CentOS. Up until a couple of years ago there were some old Sun machines k
    • Really? Bristol has always had an OS-agnostic approach to connection to their network (wired or wireless). The CS department has always pushed that a bit further by encouraging Linux use among staff and students. Which software were you thinking of that is Microsoft centric?

  • Yep, wanted to buy computer. I was looking for a specific model and asked them if I could get the rebate by having windows uninstalled. Can you believe, the guy says, "Why would you want to ruin your computer by doing that?" I told him that I would rather have some distro of a linux os on it. Like Debian. He responded by 'educating' on why windows is so much better. And since apparently he had 'personal knowledge' of Debian he said that the performance of a linux distro would never match the performan
  • At Concordia University in Montreal, all public computers in labs dual-boot Windows and Linux. When I graduated, this was Windows XP and Fedora, but I suspect they've changed since.

    IITS, our IT department, normally provided wireless connection instructions for Windows, MacOS X, and Linux (GNOME, if memory serves).

  • In the last few years I have been at three universities, two in Australia, I have used Unix, and had support. However, I've never tried to use wireless, and in all cases I was using deparmental IT people rather than university central IT people.

  • I didn't attend SUNY Purchase in NY, but when I visited a year or two ago I thought their network security was pretty heavy handed. I'm not sure if it's still like this today, but here is my experience.

    Although the network was open and unencrypted, users were redirected to a splash page on their first web request. This splash page used a browser plugin or other fairly intrusive mechanism that searches your computer for the latest OS updates and a working copy of Anti Virus software. It only accepted a few a

  • 10 years ago, I graduated from the University of London (QM Campus) - Maths and Computer Science. The basic systems (the library, general "computer" places, offices etc.) were all Windows (2000/NT4). The arty-departments all used Mac's. The Computing department had dual boot Windows/Linux with identical software on each (and cross-OS logins that actually worked, which is novel at the time). The Mathematics department didn't care what you used and had dual-OS-compatible software for the main part. All w

  • My university not only supports Linux and OS X, but has tutorials complete with screenshots for many versions: Ubuntu, Redhat, and Suse for Linux and Leopard and Snow Leopard for OS X.

    It does so for 3 different networks and 4 different ways to connect: eduroam, 80211.X, OpenVPN and SSL-VPN.

    The problem is that all that documentation is horrendously organized. There is no single page that lists all the possibilities and certificate files you need and as you peruse the site to fix your connection problem, you

  • Doesn't Princeton lock-down their network tighter than a frogs asshole? If I'm not mistaken, recent news reports suggest that Princeton blocked all Android devices from their wireless network due to a bug that prevents Android devices from properly releasing assigned IPs after they expire. I believe Princeton also blocked iOS devices for a similar reason further back in history, before Apple fixed the bug. So, unless these news reports are mistaken, clearly some institutions DO block-out devices based on

  • At the University where I study, pretty much everything runs on Linux or other UNIX-based systems. Even a large amount of the student population runs Linux as their preferred OS.

    Students and staff have an LDAP account. All mails go to your .maildir and you can upload your personal website to your public_html folder in your home directory. Wherever you go, chances are there's a number of headless PXE booting terminals that boot a Linux environment according to your status and privileges and also mount you

  • IT is supposed to be taught, still you get ridiculed when asking on Linux? This does not sound like an academic environment at all. What ever happened to "there are no stupid questions" ?

    Sure, infrastructure can be really important, but it is collaboration between people and people themselves that elevate academia- if that guy (as you describe him) was at my university, he would had been sacked long, long ago. In an academic environment you should also be smart, not just smart-ass. Plus you should be open-m

  • When I worked at a major US university, we would test new student-facing systems against Windows, Mac, Fedora and Ubuntu. There wasn't a ton of demand, but we never wanted to invest a ton of money in a solution only to find there was some percentage of users - likely the savviest of them - were guaranteed to be left out in the cold. My team made a genuine effort to engage the uber-geeks on the network - they could either be your staunchest ally or your loudest critic, and I never felt that their requests w
  • Yes, UNT supports connecting any OS to Wi-Fi. The help desk staff is mostly familiar with Windows, Mac OS X, and mobile devices (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile), but we can find someone to help you with other devices and operating systems.

  • They support it internally of course -- they have a couple Linux labs, a few Unix labs, and WAY too many Macs on campus (all old and EXTREMELY slow, with weird quirks)

    As for the wifi -- the old system used a Cisco VPN. They had a Linux version of the software, but it didn't work. But you could just use vpnc. Had to email the helpdesk once though to get the group secret for the special CSE VPN, because all they give you for that is a config file for their software, which has that encrypted or something. The

  • Having looked into the info tech post-grad courses at both RMIT and CSU, I noticed that while connectivity might not have been an issue, the RMIT course was heavily Windows oriented (ie, in order to complete the coursework, a student had to make extensive use of particular Windows only applications). On the other hand, at CSU (which is more geared towards distance education), using Linux has been much easier; there is an emphasis on using online applications (such as shared documents, wikis, etc) that are p

  • Contrary to a majority of posters in this discussion, in 'my' place we run a tight Windows-shop. Forefront with NTLMv2-authentication says it. No transparent proxy (except you log on as a Windows user; and even then it goes by application, not by IP, so that all applications without NTLMv2-proxy capabilities cannot connect).
    wget doesn't work, because Forefront downloads for you, and then offers you a click-me display when the download is finished. That means no Linux, no Debian, no Ubuntu, no ... (you-name-

  • Seriously, IT is a support service.

    To paraphrase someone else:
    "No one has an 'IT' problem" The might not be able to get financial reports, projects etc. out in time. One of the tools that could help might be an IT asset, but its only a tool. The end goal is to deliver something.

    Now if the IT person says "look, we don't have the skill set or bandwidth to actively support 3 completely separate OS's" O.K. then. That's an answer, pay more, go on your own, or adopt their supported system.

    If your an English

  • My university didn't support Linux...nor Mac, nor Windows. I was one of very few people that actually had a PC. 1.77 MHz was the speed of the day. AT&T donated our university their version of Unix. Later, I switched to another university. PCs were becoming a little more mainstream. We actually had a PC lab or two around campus. Most of the non-PC computers were running Solaris, though most access points were just dumb terminals connected to a mainframe. There were some Macs, but they were not running Ma
  • Linux is supported here for most things, and there is pretty heavy staff usage as workstations, me included.

  • I would leave.

    Seriously, you aren't going to learn anything about computers, if you don't have the source code to work with.

    That excludes Mac's and Windows.

    That is a fact of life in your computer science education which, won't change regardless of what your professors or the idiots in the I.T. department would have you believe.

    You are wasting your money.


  • Sounds like Best Buy.. we asked them if a card supported Linux (the box said it did ;) ) and they told us that no hardware supported Linux and nobody in their right mind would use it and we should just stick with Windows since the rest of the world uses it... =)
  • My school uses 802.1x TTLS-PAP, with the SSO username/password, for authentication and encryption. On wired, there's a (standard HTML) portal that registers your (or an entered, for consoles) MAC address when you enter your password. I do IT support in the dorms; we don't officially support Linux, but it's usually even easier to configure than OSX (which is quite finicky with 802.1x) - on Linux, when you attempt to connect, it guessed the authentication method and just requires your user/pass. Windows needs a supplicant for TTLS - we use a configured SecureW2 installer.

    The engineering school's big beefy server (appropriately named Eniac) runs a custom SuSE distro, as well as a few large labs (with home directories mounted over NFS). All my classes have either gone to great pains to be OS-agnostic, or require Linux - never Windows. For credit, all work must compile on the engineering school server (no "it worked at home!", you must check) but it's usually not an issue. For reference, my major coding classes have been a compilers class in OCaml (ugh), a graphics class in Qt/C++, a hardware class in C, and a number of classes with Java. For the most part, I did the work in OSX and tested on their machines before submission. I have an OS class next year that actually requires Linux, because we'll be using direct syscalls and they want to ensure consistency even across different Unixen.

    The engineering school is really OSS-friendly, to the point where I think it'd be hard to graduate from it without Linux proficiency (though people sure try...). In fact, I can't think of a single class that's required proprietary software of any sort, even in the liberal-arts school.The networking folks are Linux-heavy as well, so the whole campus feels that. But the business school is a MS shop through and through (Exchange, domains, etc).

  • by immakiku (777365)

    The university has LAN based connectivity as well as 802.11 connectivity. 802.11 connectivity is free - as long as you can get on at the network level you're free to use it. LAN based connectivity is obviously only available in classrooms and in dorm rooms.

    Now at the beginning of school year, each LAN port is "reset", in the sense that it becomes unregistered. When a user connects next (this means the new student to move into that dorm room), it will be served a special page upon any HTTP request. That spec

Life is difficult because it is non-linear.