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## Learner Reviews & Feedback for The Unix Workbench by Johns Hopkins University

4.7
stars
1,308 ratings

Unix forms a foundation that is often very helpful for accomplishing other goals you might have for you and your computer, whether that goal is running a business, writing a book, curing disease, or creating the next great app. The means to these goals are sometimes carried out by writing software. Software can’t be mined out of the ground, nor can software seeds be planted in spring to harvest by autumn. Software isn’t produced in factories on an assembly line. Software is a hand-made, often bespoke good. If a software developer is an artisan, then Unix is their workbench. Unix provides an essential and simple set of tools in a distraction-free environment. Even if you’re not a software developer learning Unix can open you up to new methods of thinking and novel ways to scale your ideas. This course is intended for folks who are new to programming and new to Unix-like operating systems like macOS and Linux distributions like Ubuntu. Most of the technologies discussed in this course will be accessed via a command line interface. Command line interfaces can seem alien at first, so this course attempts to draw parallels between using the command line and actions that you would normally take while using your mouse and keyboard. You’ll also learn how to write little pieces of software in a programming language called Bash, which allows you to connect together the tools we’ll discuss. My hope is that by the end of this course you be able to use different Unix tools as if they’re interconnecting Lego bricks....

## Top reviews

SM

May 24, 2022

This course is extremly helpful and well designed for beginnner and working professionals with neat info. I strongly recomended this course. Thanks for mentors/authors with real time example commands.

RW

Apr 29, 2020

This is a very friendly step-by-step guide to Unix for beginners, it helps to build a solid foundation, and the exercises are designed to explore more about what has been introduced in the course.

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## 1 - 25 of 395 Reviews for The Unix Workbench

By Peter B

Nov 25, 2018

Lazy, Sloppy, Unfocused

Lets see

-Video content is minimal. This is not really a video course. I've never experienced this on Coursera before, the 4 videos that do exist aren't useful in any way.

-The is some introductory, and unnecessary, introduction to both cloud computing and ssh / scp commands. I'm not really sure why it's there, when all of the assignments focus on both git and bash. So anything you did learn in these sections (likely nothing) isn't reinforced. It should be bonus material.

-Many things about bash are truly unusual compared to other programming languages like python/r/php/etc. When these differences crop up (such as how bash handles (), {}, [], [[ ]], spaces, AND, ||, functional returns, etc) are still somewhat confusing to me after completing the entire course. So maybe I'm a dummy, but I'm guessing MOST people completing this course will only be slightly better off doing bash programming vs. doing nothing at all.

-Quizzes were often trivially easy. What will a bash command output? Well, I guess you're not *supposed* to just run the command in bash to see the output...

I could go on, but honestly, this is a terrible course. I actually need to use bash at work, having a certificate is nice I guess, but my time may have been better served with trial and error on my actual projects.

By Fotis B

Jul 5, 2020

Full disclosure: I am a self-trained Linux user, and have been using Linux as my main OS for more than 10 years. The main reason I tried (and eventually purchased) this course was that I needed a certificate to "prove" my knowledge of the terminal for *official* reasons (employment etc) and a Coursera certificate was suggested as a solution. Furthermore, I thought that some of the material seemed interesting and that I may also learn something new.

Overall, the course was acceptable. Most of the material, especially the terminal basics and bash programming segments, was laid out in a comprehensive manner. Although, to be honest, more could have been done in the introductory section (for example, a discussion on root vs non-root access, the purposes of superusers and sudo etc. This is one of the most important parts of Linux).

The Git/GitHub material was especially welcome since, for whatever reason, I had never used it before. This was the most useful part of the course for me.

So, why the 3 stars then, instead of 4 or 5?

The weakest point of this course is the final part, the so called "Nephology" segment that, supposedly, deals with "cloud computing":

I find the fact that the course requires/instructs you to open an account in a commercial Cloud infrastructure (DigitalOcean) and purchase a VM unacceptable (despite what the course says about a free trial, D.Ocean wants to conduct a 25 dollar transaction during registration "for confirmation purposes"). There are a number of respectable Cloud infrastructures out there that actually offer free of charge resources (Red Hat's OpenShift, Google cloud etc) and could have been used instead. Or, since this course is offered by a University, maybe they could have allocated a fraction of their compute resources to set up a small VM server for the purposes of this course.

Even if we gloss over the aforementioned fact, the presentation of the "nephology" course itself was subpar. It was simply a poorly conceived introduction to the ssh protocol and cron jobs. No other relevant protocols were discussed (for example, ftp/sftp - it's not anything advanced, and its the most widely used file transfer protocol) and - more importantly - no discussion was presented on security and how to (you know... the first 's' in 'ssh' and 'sftp').

For example, the fact that they instruct you to create ssh connections as root says it all. Advice to anyone reading this: NEVER, ever, EVER login as root. SSH may have 'secure' in its name, but it's not really that secure. Do it only once, create a normal user account with 'useradd' and give it sudoers credentials with 'visudo', and use that account onwards. NEVER perform ssh connections as root!!!!

So, overall, acceptable course, but the Nephology part needs to either be re-written from scratch and include more - and critically useful - material, or be removed altogether.

By Dan H

Feb 4, 2019

Generally mediocre introduction to a few bits and pieces of unix. Useful, but has some misconceptions (e.g., what a regular expression is) and will teach you some unsafe habits (e.g., using $* instead of$@ to expand to the positional parameters starting from 1). It would be nice if there was some discussion about what shell scripts were actually used for out in the world. The cloud computing section seems tacked on and wholly unhelpful. Don't make your students give their credit card numbers to some external business unless you're going to do something of at least some lasting value. Even then, you probably should find another way to do this. Set something up on a coursera or JHU server if all you're going to do is literally have them copy and paste (and not learn) 6 lines of code.

By Kenyon S

Jan 29, 2018

A wonderful course! Answered so many questions I had and gave me a solid background in Git, Bash, makefiles, and working from the cloud. I will definitely be using these skills in my job search!

By Lu S

Sep 11, 2017

It is suitable for Unix/Linux beginners who are new to shell. It introduces popular code sharing and merging tool GitHub, which most programmers would find very useful in software development.

By C S

Jul 8, 2018

Great course if you're getting used to Linux, working in the shell and automating the little things. This course comes with a convenient E-book which I've used to refer back to a few times.

By Jacky H

Feb 15, 2019

99% of the contents in this course are transfered from the book of the same title. No instruction videos. The difficulty is somehow low which makes the author's elaboration feels dry and lengthy.

It is almost the same as reading the book yourself, beside the discussion forum, which is also not very helpful in my opinion.

By Samuel A

Jul 29, 2020

Be careful before enrolling into this course. This is simply a soft copy of a physical BOOK, that's all about it!!!

By Deleted A

Jun 2, 2020

Full of typos. Videos are empty of useful content. No advantage over just studying a well-written book.

By Paolo V

Nov 15, 2017

First of all, I should say that I was already quite familiar with the topics taught in this course, but I decided to take it anyways, because I believe in periodical review of my knowledge. I have found the style of the lessons to be very intriguing, easy to follow (but may be different if you are new to the topics) and very on point, with a ton of different, super-important technologies that we are expected to know and manage on a daily basis - and by “we” I mean almost anyone involved in the computational sciences ! This course is a nice recap of a lot of fundamental tools to keep at hand on your “Unix Workbench” ! Thank you, instructors, staff, forum members and peers ! P.S. Sometimes I have found the estimated times a bit misleading: too much for lessons, too little for exercises, but this may completely be a personal thing.

By Michael C

Sep 18, 2022

This was an excellent course that challenged me, and helped me to both refresh and advance my programming skills. The Johns Hopkins University has really advanced some of their online courses by designing them to integrate all of the skills learned in each week. At the end of this course, you actually need to bring together the skills learned throughout each and every section. The end project gets the learner to start thinking about how to use each module, and bring them together to accomplish new challenges, thus bridging the gap between theory and application. It allows allows enough room for learners to be creative and experiment with different ways of achieving the same goal - A big thanks to those who created and facilitate the course :)

By Ruiping W

Apr 30, 2020

This is a very friendly step-by-step guide to Unix for beginners, it helps to build a solid foundation, and the exercises are designed to explore more about what has been introduced in the course.

By joaodavidcoelholuis

Feb 1, 2019

This course is well structured, useful in learning experience, work enverionment experience, and personally who ever start this course are going to really enjoy script programming.

By Ravi S Y

Jul 30, 2020

They are Expecting more than whatever taught in the course. In spite of submitting my own assignment work, it has been flagged. After modifying the complete script then again it has been flagged. Don't know what they are expecting. For a beginner, It's very difficult to go with the course as in this course only reading material has been provided no practical demonstration. It's better to purchase a book that will be a good deal upon choosing this course. From one month, I am trying to remove the flagged violation but nothing worked. I love to learn Unix but this course completely disappointed me. I continuously worked for 2 weeks to learn Unix and even tried to write my own scripts but in the last, I got a message that I have copied others assignment. Based on the given guidelines on the Project assignment. It's obvious that some scripts would get matched. As two different peoples may have same logical thinking and for just 15-20 lines of code, there is a great chance of collapsing the scripts. Hope this review will taken in positive way to improve this course.

By Peter K

Apr 4, 2020

It was a pleasure for me to participate on that valuable course. I would like to highlight the modular, clear explanaitions - which were very usefull whenever was in doubt or clarification was needed; the step-by-step approach and the well designed exercises/practises - which all supported the peviously explained subjects. It was really good to give the freedom to accomplish the goals in no strict schedule - so please keep that flexibility inthe future as well.

I would like to thank you the constructive and helpfull feedbacks for the teachers, which always inspired to re-think or improve my understanding/knowledge.

By Ruwaa I

Jun 16, 2020

This course is really helpful! The organization of the course content and the diversity of the topics offered are great. The examples given are illustrative and the book is very organized and simple for new users, yet powerful enough for intermediate level students. I thought that I knew a lot about Unix and that I won't learn much from this course, but I learnt a lot more than expected. The author is really talented in teaching. I'm recommending this course to everyone. Thank toy very much; I enjoyed the whole course especially weeks 3 and 4.

By Eleftheria T

Feb 25, 2018

I think this course was really helpful to a beginner like me! It teaches you the basics to get you started with Unix and GitHub and does not take up much of your time every week. However, the deadlines keep you in line with studying and putting some effort! So I think it's perfect for someone who does not have much time and wants a little guidance on their first steps! And a small tip: I took this course Jan-2018 on Windows 10. The Ubuntu Windows app did not work well for me. Setting up a Virtual box Ubuntu was much better!!!

By Steve

Nov 13, 2019

This course was a great intro to bash programming. It started in a very accessible manner, clearly describing the technology in small easily digestible steps. It progresses at a good pace covering the significant paradigms (e.g. functions, loops, arrays) in a staged and clearly defined way. I liked the way it gave a realistic and rounded view of working on unix by covering tools such as make and git that are maybe not directly bash programming language, as such, but essential to become productive with the new bash skills!

By Luis G

Jul 15, 2021

Very concise and clear course, giving a good overall idea of the power of Unix & Shell scripting.

The quizzes and exercises were challenging and a great way to learn new things without the help of an instructor, but rather by googling a lot!

I also enjoyed the very last chapters where Sean gives advice about different programming languages to follow with after finishing this course, and particularly his honesty regarding the limitations of Unix & Bash in general.

Well done & thank you for your teachings.

By Rob G

Mar 28, 2021

Difficult, but worth it if you have the time, patience, and ability to get through the course. I learned a lot and wished this course was around when I got into front-end development. Not all of it is pertinent for all occupations, so feel free to pick and choose the most relevant lessons. I was curious about the topics covered outside the scope of my work as a dev and learned a lot and now have a further interest in data science and automation.

By Ravi K M

Jun 8, 2018

This course serves as a perfect introduction to understand the capabilities of command line. If you are interested in Data Science or UNIX in general its a must take course. You can follow it up with challenges on Hacker Rank to improve your coding skills. The forums are the best part of the course, lively discussions and the mentors are also really helpful. I learnt a lot and the file exercise was so much fun. Would definitely recommend 10/10.

By Shreyas M

Apr 24, 2020

This course is very well structured , all the intermediate contents of UNIX are easily covered in this course.

I would recommend you to have a basic overview of UNIX first and then apply for this course.

The faculties and the contents are really upto the mark. I would suggest every UNIX lover to apply for this course . But most of the content is read material , if more video lectures are added , then this course will be most favourable.

By Tushar S M

Apr 27, 2020

This course is great.

There is always phenomenal support from the mentors and they guide and encourage you to look out for new challenges. Your doubts are always clarified and they even provide links if we want to study more advance stuff.

All being said, if you are new to the programming world, then you'll struggle. It is ideal to join this course if you know the fundamentals of programming already and want to study about unix

By Полина А С

Jan 6, 2021

Really useful course. All the information presented in text format and well organized. Despite the fact I'm working with unix about 2 years, after this course I do understand it deeply and started to use some new functions I didn't know about before. Also I lerned how to present my progect on GitHub decently. Course is sutable for beginners and intermediate. Highly reccomend! For now it is the best course I found here.

By NAGARAJ G S

Mar 11, 2019

This is my first course taken on Coursera. This platform is absolutely tremendous in it's way. Had a great experience and want to continue my learning here.

' The Unix Workbench ' , simply an excellent course! Bash programming, Git and Github sections are really useful. Learnt many new unix concepts and got to know about Cloud computing basics.

Happy and satisfied by taking this course. Very Thanks to the Instructors.