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Running Linux In A Windows Computer Lab

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Programming for Engineering Students I

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1039.1 - 14.1039.10



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Paper Authors

author page

Ed Crowley University of Houston

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Running Linux in a Windows Computer Lab Abstract

In many courses, the effective use of Linux, or other open source software, can expand and enhance active learning opportunities for students. Since many institutions have standardized on Windows Computer Laboratories, implementing Linux based learning experiences may initially seem problematic. However, with a Live Linux CD, you can quickly and easily run Linux, and related open source tools, in an existing Windows Computer Lab.

In this paper, we will explain how Linux Live CDs, and related Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), can be used to expand and enhance active learning opportunities available in existing Windows computer laboratories. For example, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and Live Linux CDs can enable students to continue their learning activities at home, or at their work place, with the same software that they use in their academic laboratory. Another example is that FOSS can enable students to demonstrate their laboratory activities in a work or even a job interview environment.

In this paper, we will first describe our program context and our FOSS based learning module design goals. We then present learning module summaries that include a listing of related Live CDs and open source software. We will also include survey results concerning utilization of Live Linux CDs and open source software. We will close with a discussion of future challenges.


Over the past several years, our classroom experiences with Live Linux CDs have been very positive. Implementing Linux based learning modules in our Windows Laboratories have enabled our students to gain experience with some very sophisticated software tools. Often, these learning activities were conducted on computer systems preconfigured with Windows Operating Systems. From a student perspective, our surveys indicate an enthusiastically positive response to these Live Linux CD based learning experiences.

A Live Linux CD is a portable Linux distribution that boots and runs from a CD, DVD, USB stick, or similar device. By design, our Linux based structured learning experiences do not impact the Windows Systems upon which they run. That is, when students power down the systems and remove their Live CDs, the Windows Systems are in the identical state that they were prior to the laboratory.

Our Linux based learning activities require neither dedicated hardware nor dedicated support. For example, we have conducted Live CD based Linux Tutorials in Windows Labs at a variety of institutions including the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the University of Houston, and Lone Star Community College. We’ve also conducted “Hands On” tutorials in hotel and university conference rooms where attendees booted their own Windows based portable computers with the provided Live Linux CDs.

Crowley, E. (2009, June), Running Linux In A Windows Computer Lab Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5771

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