The eLearning Fundi

Random reflections about eLearning in Africa

Linux: User Interfaces and the swap space

Recently, somebody posed the following questions to me regarding Linux. I have placed the responses here. For question one, the response is on user interfaces and not file management interfaces.

1. In Linux, what are the two main types of user interfaces that can be used for file management? Describe the main benefits and drawbacks of using each of these interfaces for file management.
There are only two user interfaces (in most operating systems). The command line interface (CLI) and the Graphical User Interface (GUI). Their benefits and drawbacks depend mainly on the user and the task at hand. For file management using the command prompt, you need to learn so many commands. As an example, for editing files using Vi, you will need to learn Vi-based commands. In addition to the Linux native commands that also depend on the shell you are using. For a GUI-based like Gedit, a few clicks would do. This is in addition to the usual copy-paste-move of files with mouse clicks and keyboard shortcuts. Command line interfaces are better suited for batch and automated tasks. This is because of CLI’s scripting capabilities. To achieve batch processing in GUI-based interfaces is not an easy feat. 

2. In Linux, what is virtual memory? Include in your answer a brief description of what virtual memory is and the main benefits and drawback of using virtual memory.

Virtual memory in Linux is a combination of RAM and SWAP space. Swap space is a designated space on the physical disk. When RAM was very expensive, using the disk as cache to free up some RAM made sense. Freeing up RAM improves performance and responsiveness of a system. Nowadays, RAM being cheap and discs operations becoming faster. Consequently, the importance of swap space is diminishing. However, because the caching was built in the Kernel, it would take some time to remove the mechanism – but it will surely happen.

How to create poverty and intellectual dominion in the education system

Educational news coming over the weekend was not pleasant at all. It seems, at least to me, that what we are doing is creating poverty and perpetuating intellectual dominion over the already poor and already disproportionately marginalised majority. This is how.  Majority of teachers teaching grades 1-3 do not only have the disciplinary knowledge to […]

Indiscipline, freedom and education

Over the last moon-months, I have been agonising on the effects of over-democratising educational offerings, and the effects such measures would have on the future of a nation, or what I would call now the future of work and potential tax-payers. Indeed, the issue of democracy as it is is not well understood – and […]

Consistency in “dumbing down” education

Reading a commentary by Mamphela Ramphele on “Destroying seeds of our future” in last weekend’s Sunday Times, leaves me worried about the future of a nation because of the dumbing down of education. This phenomenon of dumbing down education was reported in the US – that to some commentators started in the 1960s, it has […]

Reflections is about looking back and moving forward

In my many reflections, I have found myself looking back. In the looking back, am always very inquisitive. Asking the sort of questions that am unlikely to get answers, and even where I get the answers, am not sure of what to do with the answers. But, with time, I have learnt the most important […]

Previous Posts