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Monash University

FIT3042 System tools and programming languages - Semester 1, 2013

This unit provides students with an introduction to UNIX tools for managing processes; searching, editing and modifying files and data streams; and command interpreters and shell scripts. In addition, students will learn about a typical system call interface and its use for systems programming in a language like C.

Mode of Delivery

Clayton (Day)

Contact Hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 2 hrs laboratories/wk

Workload requirements

Students will be expected to spend a total of 12 hours per week on this unit as follows:

For on campus students, workload commitments are:

  • Two hours of lectures per week and
  • two hours of laboratory work per week (requiring advance preparation)
  • a minimum of 2-3 hours of personal study per one hour of contact time in order to satisfy the reading and assignment expectations.

Off-campus students generally do not attend lecture and tutorial sessions, however, you should plan to spend equivalent time working through the relevant resources and participating in discussion groups each week.

Unit Relationships


CSE2391, CSE3391


One of FIT1008, FIT1015, CSE1303

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer


Robert Merkel

Academic Overview

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this unit students will have:
  • knowledge of the Unix philosophy at shell and system call levels;
  • comprehension of Unix shells and the POSIX standard;
  • knowledge of the variety of tools available and understanding of a core selection of them;
  • knowledge of the Unix system call interface and associated systems programming;
  • programming skills at the Unix shell level using pipelines and shell scripts applying a number of tools;
  • programming skills at the system call level for systems programming.

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 Unit Introduction Laboratory Exercises are assessed at the end of each lab session
2 Introduction to C, Make  
3 C programming: Pointers & Data structures  
4 Unix C Programming  
5 Inter-process communication, third-party libraries Assignment 1 handed out
6 Introduction to shell programming  
7 Shell filters  
8 Shell programming Assignment 1 due Monday 29 April 2013
9 Regular expressions  
10 Perl 1: scalars & arrays Assignment 2 handed out
11 Perl 2: Perl regexes  
12 Perl 3: Perl modules, Perl 6. Assignment 2 due Friday 31 May 2013
  SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken in SWOT VAC
  Examination period LINK to Assessment Policy: http://policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/

*Unit Schedule details will be maintained and communicated to you via your learning system.

Assessment Summary

Examination (3 hours): 50%; In-semester assessment: 50%

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Assignment 1 20% Monday 29 April 2013
Assignment 2 20% Friday 31 May 2013
Laboratory Exercises 10% At the end of each lab session
Examination 1 50% To be advised

Teaching Approach

Lecture and tutorials or problem classes
The teaching and learning approach provides facilitated learning, practical exploration and peer learning, equipping you with the ability to apply skills upon completion.

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Policy

Faculty Policy - Unit Assessment Hurdles (http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/staff/edgov/policies/assessment-examinations/unit-assessment-hurdles.html)

Academic Integrity - Please see the Demystifying Citing and Referencing tutorial at http://lib.monash.edu/tutorials/citing/

Assessment Tasks


Students are expected to attend at least 8 of the 11 labs.

  • Assessment task 1
    Assignment 1
    C/Unix programming assignment
    Criteria for assessment:
    • Correctness
    • Efficiency
    • Quality of solution
    • Documentation
    Due date:
    Monday 29 April 2013
  • Assessment task 2
    Assignment 2
    Shell/Perl programming assignment
    Criteria for assessment:
    • Correctness
    • Efficiency
    • Quality of solution
    • Documentation
    Due date:
    Friday 31 May 2013
  • Assessment task 3
    Laboratory Exercises
    Exercises held during laboratory sessions.
    Criteria for assessment:
    Lab exercises are assessed during the scheduled laboratory session. Marks are awarded for successful completion of the laboratory exercises.
    Due date:
    At the end of each lab session


  • Examination 1
    3 hours
    Type (open/closed book):
    Open book
    Electronic devices allowed in the exam:

Learning resources

Monash Library Unit Reading List

Feedback to you

Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:
  • Informal feedback on progress in labs/tutes
  • Graded assignments with comments
  • Test results and feedback

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Resubmission of assignments

Multiple assignment submission may be enabled in Moodle.  However, only the last version will be assessed.   Resubmission after the due date will only be permitted after special consideration is granted through the regular faculty processes, or, occasionally, in other exceptional circumstances with lecturer permission.  Penalties may apply in such circumstances.

Referencing requirements

Any written work must use appropriate referencing methods, according to the Library Guides for citing and referencing http://guides.lib.monash.edu/content.php?pid=88267&sid=656564

Generally, code submitted in your assignments should be your own original work.   However, where code uses ideas from specific sources, they should be cited in comments. 

Specific assignments may provide additional direction on referencing and reuse of third-party code.

Assignment submission

It is a University requirement (http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/conduct/plagiarism-procedures.html) for students to submit an assignment coversheet for each assessment item. Faculty Assignment coversheets can be found at http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/forms/. Please check with your Lecturer on the submission method for your assignment coversheet (e.g. attach a file to the online assignment submission, hand-in a hard copy, or use an online quiz).

Online submission

Most assignments will be submitted via the Moodle electronic learning system, which is accessed through the subject web page.  The assignment coversheets will also be made availble through Moodle.

Required Resources

Please check with your lecturer before purchasing any Required Resources. Limited copies of prescribed texts are available for you to borrow in the library, and prescribed software is available in student labs.

Students will be provided with a Linux-based virtual machine environment.  The virtual machine will be made available in labs and can also be installed, using free software, on any PC.

As a virtual machine, it will run under the VMWare Player software (freely downloadable) as any other application under Windows, Mac, or another version of Linux).  

Students may choose to use another Linux distribution if they wish, however no support will be provided for this.

Recommended text(s)

Mark G. Sobell. (2009). A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming. (2nd Edition) Prentice Hall (ISBN: 978-0131367364).

Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie. (1988). The C Programming Language. (2nd Edition) Prentice Hall (ISBN: 978-0131103627).

Michael Kerrisk. (2010). The Linux Programming Interface. (1st Edition) No Starch Press (ISBN: 978-159372-200-3).

Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, Jon Orwant. (2000). Programming Perl. (3rd Edition) O'Reilly Media (ISBN: 978-0-596-00027-1).

K. N. King. (2008). C Programming: A Modern Approach. (2nd Edition) W. W. Norton & Company (ISBN: 978-0-393-97950-3).

Field trips

No field trips.

Additional subject costs

No additional costs.

Examination material or equipment

Exam details, including permitted equipment, will be announced on the unit website during the semester.

Other Information


Graduate Attributes Policy

Student services

Monash University Library

Disability Liaison Unit

Students who have a disability or medical condition are welcome to contact the Disability Liaison Unit to discuss academic support services. Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) visit all Victorian campuses on a regular basis.

Your feedback to Us

Previous Student Evaluations of this Unit

The exam format will more closely reflect the language-oriented content of the unit.

Material relating to Makefiles has been expanded.  Lab sheets have been restructured.

If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to

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