Get GNU/Linux the easy way

Our GNU/Linux-Days are a series of events designed to introduce GNU/Linux to beginners and help those who already have it enhance their knowledge. They are created mainly for users of other operating systems who want to discover and/or eventually switch to GNU/Linux. We start all the way from the bottom and guide you on your way up to a safer and more comfortable digital lifestyle.

In our courses, we cover philosophical aspects as well as technical content. Users already familiar to GNU/Linux can jump in at any time to learn more about the wonders of GNU/Linux and Free Software. During our Install Events, we will personally assist you in installing GNU/Linux on your laptop. Don't worry - of course you can keep your existing OS and additionally use GNU/Linux if you want to.

After visiting our courses, you will not only have an easy-to-use and efficient operating system on your computer, but also know how to get the best out of it and find more information on your own in case you are enticed with GNU/Linux.

All students of Zürich may attend our events for free. In consideration of international participants, all courses are held in English.
Interested? Scroll down to see what our events are about...

Not a student? If you cannot sign up in the Compicampus portal, just send us an e-mail. And if you can't make it to our GNU/Linux-Days, check out the public GNU/Linux Presentation Days that take place at around the same time in Zurich.

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Introduction to Free Software

04.10.19 | 17:15-19:00 | UZH KOL F 117

Discover the differences between Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and proprietary software, and find out why these differences matter. This captivating lecture will provide you with information about the advantages of Free Software licenses, as well as show you the historical background of the Linux kernel. Additionally, we show why Free Software and Open Data is important even beyond the world of GNU/Linux.

Learn how you can regain full control over your data!

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Introduction to GNU/Linux

08.10.19 | 17:15-19:00 | ETH HG F 3

Now that you know the ethical advantages of Free Software, in this course you will learn about a wide family of free operating systems based on the Linux kernel, as well as some of the most useful software tools available for them.

Find out how easy to use and yet powerful GNU/Linux systems are, discover their advantages when compared to other operating systems, and get to understand their basic structure and most important concepts. Furthermore, discover different flavours of GNU/Linux and get a feeling for which distribution and desktop environment would be the right match for you.

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Install Events (hands-on)

Event 1: 15.10.19 | Begin: 17:15 | End: 21:30 | ETH HG E 7
Event 2: 17.10.19 | Begin: 17:15 | End: 21:30 | ETH HG E 7

Did we wake your interest? Then get started with GNU/Linux by installing it on your computer. Of course, we'll help you: Bring your laptop and charger to one of the two Install Events and we will personally assist you with the installation of GNU/Linux as well as with your first steps and basic customization. You can choose to keep your existing operating system and install GNU/Linux next to it. Still, it's important to back up your data before you come, just to be on the safe side.

Note that you can sign up in one of 4 time slots each day. You may of course stay longer than the indicated time should we encounter issues with installing GNU/Linux on your laptop.

Important Note:
ChromeBooks (all versions), Apple MacBook Pros (after Oct. 2016) and Apple MacBooks (12" model) are not well supported by GNU/Linux due to hardware restrictions, and we do not recommend installing GNU/Linux on those devices. If you intend to buy a new laptop to install GNU/Linux on, stay away from these devices altogether.

GNU/Linux Heroes:
Already an experienced GNU/Linux user? If you would like to assist during the events, please get in touch with us.

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The Console Toolkit

Part 1: 21.10.19 | 17:15 - 19:00 | HG F 7
Part 2: 25.10.19 | 17:15 - 19:00 | HG F 7

Now that you have your GNU/Linux system up and running, it's time to make the best out of it. Learn how to utilize the console and work towards mastering it in this two-part course. We will start with the basics, and present you some useful terminal applications designed to simplify your workflow. Furthermore, you may directly solidify the abilities you learn by solving short exercises.

This way, you will feel comfortable with using the console in no time!

Important note:
This is a two-part course, so make sure you sign up for both!
Also, remember to bring your GNU/Linux laptop in order to follow along with the examples and solve the exercises.

Sign up - Part 1 Sign up - Part 2
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Bash Workshop (hands-on)

29.10.19 | 17:15-19:00 | ETH HG E 7

Take your new abilities a step further: Learn how you can use Bash to program simple scripts that can save you a lot of work. Bash is a scripting language that is designed to interact with other programs and your system easily. Whether you want to backup your newest files to a hard drive or quickly download a lot of PDFs—with Bash, you can do it at a keystroke.

Note that we highly recommend visiting "The Console Toolkit" if you have no prior experience with the GNU/Linux terminal.

You are required to bring your own GNU/Linux laptop to work on. If that is not possible for you, please contact us and we will try to help you out.

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An Introduction to the Major Debugging Tools on Linux

05.11.19 | 17:15-19:00 | ETH HG E 33.1

Linux is known for its exceptional tooling when it comes to software development. This talk will highlight the part of the tooling related to debugging by showing off some of the most important tools, explaining the basics of their functionality and usage. From segfaults to deadlocks, it will hopefully give you the tools to deal with any of them.

The talk only requires familiarity with C.

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Software Management for Open Science

11.11.19 | 17:15-19:00 | ETH HG F 7

Software is an indispensable tool for data analysis in particular and science in general. To the modern researcher, the computer is like an extension of the mind. Just like an efficient mind is free of second-hand preconceptions and hidden assumptions, an efficient software environment is free of second-hand precompiled code and hidden dependencies. In this lecture you will learn how dependency management puts YOU in the driver's seat, and makes the scientific software you use and the work you use it for clean, transparent, and reproducible.

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Community meetings (Stammtische)

GNU/Linux is not just software—there's a huge community associated to it. GNU/Linux users tend to be philosophical, social and dedicated to their passions. In brief: there are plenty of highly interesting people who gather when a GNU/Linux community comes together. Come have a beer with us, enjoy great discussions, get help with your computer or further broaden your horizon.

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Join the team!

As a member of TheAlternative you are part of a highly engaged, competent and friendly team that shares its passion in GNU/Linux. We are a diverse group that unites many different personalities and philosophies; with us you can have active debates and still be friends. Don't have much time? Don't worry, just show up whenever it fits you best. The only duty you have as a member is to notify us when you want to leave TheAlternative. To become part of us, just send us an e-mail.

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