Tech Learning Collective

Technology education for radical organizers and revolutionary communities.

From End User to (Em)power(ed) User: Basics of System Administration

Apply for pre-enrollment in SYS101

Behind every computer, there is a human. Each computer system needs an administrator, someone responsible for configuring, maintaining, and supporting the reliable operation of that computer so that those who need to use it can actually do so. This task is called system administration, or sometimes Site (or System) Reliability Engineering. If you have a personal computer such as a laptop or smartphone, then you are already a system administrator whether you realize it or not! Making sure the apps you want to use are installed and up to date, managing the amount of free space you have for your photos, and connecting or disconnecting from the Internet are all examples of simple system administration tasks that you probably already take on a daily basis.

In this course, students will build on their existing, personal system administration experience to answer questions such as “how much memory does my computer have, and how much do I need?” “How do I know which programs are running on my computer?” “How can I see the network connections being made by the programs I have running?” We will then build on these foundations to understand what a “server” is, how to make them run on your own devices, and how to keep them in tip-top shape. By the end of this course, students will understand how the basic application-level services critical for organizations of any size, such as file sharing, digital identity management, contact and calendar sharing, and more actually function, and they will be able to replace some paid or proprietary corporate services like Google Contacts and Google Calendars with free and unsurveilled alternatives they can host themselves.