dc10 - 0.5


Frank B. Brokken
Day DebConf Day 1 / Debian Day (2010-08-01)
Room Interschool Lab
Start time 14:00
Duration 01:00
ID 563
Event type lecture
Track Community Outreach
Language en

Debian at a large Dutch University

The paper and and presentation I propose will concentrate on the importance of Debian products for the University of Groningen, one of the major Dutch Universities.

To summarize:

- The university's Center of Information Technology (CIT) is responsible
  for the correct functioning of the University's Information Technology
  facilities. This involves making available `standard working
  environments' for its 5000 staff members and 20,000 students, monitoring
  and maintaining the integrity of its 10Gb Internet connection as well as
  the computers that are responsible for providing the facilities that are
  considered essential for the university.

  The University uses various means to protect and monitor the well-being
  of its computers. Among other means the Stealth File Integrity Control
  program, a Debian package, is used to monitor the file integrity of its
  core computer systems.

- The standard working environment offered by the university to its
  employees and students has always been a non-Linux system. Fortunately
  that has changed by now and Linux systems are now deployed in more and
  more departments of the university. This `Linux Working Place' (LWP) as
  it is affectionately called is strictly speaking not Debian but Ubuntu,
  but the close links Ubuntu has with Debian result in a de-facto use of
  Debian (see also below). In addition to this `official' acceptance of
  Linux, several departments (Astronomy, Computer Science, Artificial
  Intelligence, to name a few) have been using Debian Linux for a long

- Various programming languages are actively being taught by the
  University. Since the mid-80s I have organized a course on the C
  programming language, augmented with C++ since the early 90s. The
  addition of C++ resulted in the `C++ Annotations', which became the main
  text-book for that course. The C++ Annotations have also found their way
  into Debian and are used by many individuals and organizations on a
  world-wide basis for teaching and honing knowledge about C++.

- Students reaching the advanced levels of the C++ course use a parser
  generator specifically designed to be used with C++ when 
  when designing and implementing their own grammars. This parser
  generator is Bisonc++, also a Debian package.

- Students of my class `Information Security' use classes and templates of
  my `Bobcat' software library to implement algorithms requiring
  computations with integral values of unlimited sizes. They usually
  prefer using these specially designed classes over the raw use of the
  underlying OpenSSL library functions. Bobcat is not only used in this
  context, but many C++ programs developed during the C++ course or used
  by the C++ course students rely on Bobcat. Bobcat is also used in other
  sections of the University.  The departments of Computer Science and
  Artificial Intelligence customarily have Bobcat installed on their
  systems as well.

- Various generic tools (Icmake for program development, Xd for fast
  directory changes and other Debian-based tools) are used by students and
  staff-members to simplify their daily activities.

Spin-offs of these projects were developed or are being developed right now by others, like ccbuild' (Bram Neijt) andflexc++' (Jean-Paul van Oosten, Richard Berendsen, and myself). Moreover, the Debian Developer George Danchev visited us last fall when the CIT organized a course on Debian Package Construction.