[sf-lug] Need help with an Linux assignment script

Michael Paoli Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu
Thu May 1 02:48:17 PDT 2008

references/excerpts, my comments added in-line:
> Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 20:07:53 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Timothy Wang <timothyjwang at yahoo.com>
> Subject: [sf-lug] Need help with an Linux assignment script

> I am doing an assignment in City College CS160b and was having difficulty
> understanding why it is not working. The assignment is posted on
> http://fog.ccsf.cc.ca.us/~gboyd/
> under cs 160b asmt02

Sounds like a good, cool class :-)

Might have been a bit better to have given direct URL to the assignment
... but I found it (relatively) easily enough.

When/before asking, here's an excellent place to start:
... I'll at least roughly paraphrase some of its points (and hopefully
not horribly butcher them in my rephrasing).

It's good that it was stated right out that it's a class assignment and
all that.  If one had not mentioned that, A) we'd generally pretty well
figure it out anyway, and B) we'd would wonder why that wasn't clearly
and honestly stated.

Picking one's forum, ... so, poking around the class URL a bit, one
can't really help but notice that the class also has a list.  That
rather begs the question why one would ask here?  Sure, ... forums such
as this can be a great resource too, and all that, but ... the class
list probably also includes many useful additional "features", such as:
* folks on the class list are probably rather to quite familiar with
  what already has, and what has not, been covered in the class and
  associated materials
* reduces the probability that someone will ask, "Why did you ask there,
  and not use the class list?  What were you trying to do?" - and all
  those (potential) types of suspicion questions that might possibly
  come up.

Some of this has already been addressed in subsequent posts, but yes,
meaningful output (e.g. it was attempted, and what happened precisely)
is highly useful, if not crucial.

Sticking much or all of the work one is doing on one's class assignment
in a public forum location runs the risk of the work getting
plagiarized.  That runs the risk of all such matched, or highly
similar, submitted assignments running into trouble.  See also:
... paying attention to that, when discussing/posting the problem at
hand has as an additional benefit, great reduction in the risk that
most or all of the work will get plagiarized.

Several other folks already provided several useful bits of information
on how you may find - and/or narrow down - where the problem is
occurring, and/or otherwise better troubleshoot the code.  I suppose I
would have provided similar information, but more likely in the form of
hints, where one could then discover that information oneself.  After
all, part of the learning is also learning how to learn, and learning
how and where to locate the answers :-).

There was also a bit of mention (including further along the thread)
about vi(1) and learning vi(1).  Though rather classic and a bit dated,
nevertheless these resources can be highly useful ... quoting myself a
bit from the past:
There are lots of good vi reference cards out there.
< I'm most familiar with this classic ("old") version ... or an actual
< classic ("old") tri-fold hard copy card version of it I actually have.
< It's designed to work as a tri-fold card, 8.5x11" double sided
Ex Quick Reference / Vi Quick Reference:
< http://docs.freebsd.org/44doc/usd/12.vi/summary.pdf

< This is probably the earliest fairly well known introduction to vi:
< An Introduction to Display Editing with Vi
< William Joy
< Classic (/"old"), but still generally quite useful, and
< relatively/comparatively short (27 pages):
< http://docs.freebsd.org/44doc/usd/12.vi/paper.pdf
See also:

>                                                              77,0-1
> 96%

Hmmmm, I think I smell vim(1).  (I *much* prefer nvi(1) over vim(1) -
but that's another topic, see also:

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