[ under construction ]
SOCS Inside-Out: The Definitive Survival Guide

Introduction - Disclaimer - Feedback - Legend
Contents - Verbose - Glossary

Table of Contents
Getting More Help
General Computing Tips
Editors, Debuggers, Compilers, and Other Tools
SOCS Culture
Useful Links
Contributors and History of Changes
LAST UPDATE: Friday, 06-Sep-2002 15:50:35 EDT
introduction - disclaimer - feedback - legend
- Vincent Stephen-Ong


Hello, and welcome to SOCS Inside-Out. This is intended to be, or, at the very least, intended to eventually become, the definitive reference guide for CS students and students taking CS courses at McGill. Some sections cover more general topics, but there is also a wealth of information explaining some of the peculiarities at SOCS.

This isn't, however, intended to be the be all and end all of computing guides- there is no way anyone could hope to write such a thing.

Most importantly for both categories of readers, it is our hope that this guide will lead you to become more aware of the resources available at SOCS and, when you don't know how to get these resources working, will help you figure it out with as little pain as possible.

If you haven't already read it, you'll probably want to start with either the Pamphlet or the Glossary and then move on to whichever section most immediately interests you. Besides letting you look up specific subjects, the sections have been laid out in such a way that the guide should make sense if read from top to bottom.

Finally, like any good website, this one is very much under construction. You should find a considerable amount of useful information here, but it isn't as easy to navigate as it could be. For example, the process of interlinking the pages is still at an early stage; this will change, so please give us time. Also, more material will be added over the coming weeks. Hopefully, you won't be up against quite as many "This section is not yet available" messages and "404 Not Found" errors before long.

If you want to keep up to date with the latest changes, corrections, and/or additions to this site, you'll either want to regularly check the History of Changes section or else add yourself to our mailing list via the Feedback page.


The people who wrote this document are perfect. There are no typos, there are no spelling errors, there are no grammatical errors, and the information herein is neither false nor out of date. If you really and truly believe this, stop reading now, because obviously you live in a perfect world and this guide cannot help you. If you are still reading, realize that the entirety of this project was structured and written from scratch in the span of less than a month. It is within the realm of possibility that errors exist.

As a further disclaimer, much of the content of this site is written by people who believe that they have a sense of humour. We try to differentiate the opinion from the fact as clearly as possible through the markers described in the Legend below, but attempts at sarcasm and jokes are bound to creep in. Let us know if something seems particularly unclear or misleading.


Should you have some feedback or constructive criticism to share with us, a feedback form is in place in the feedback section for this exact purpose.


Code fragments are either in teletype font or italics, depending on the preference of the author. Generally, a line that begins with a % sign indicates that this is a sample Unix command-prompt. Also, if you see a topic followed by a number in parentheses, this is a reference to the man page for the item in question for the specified section.

The man (1) command brings up the Unix manual page for the specified topic. You can invoke it like so:
% man ls

Also, we make use of a few simple markers to better point out the intent of sections of this guide:

* unix * Requires some foreknowledge of and/or familiarity with Unix to understand.
* advanced * More advanced or involved topics covered.
* new * A recent change or new addition to the way things work at SOCS. It is likely to be especially important to returning students. A history of these changes is kept in the Contributors and History of Changes section.
* pending * Information provided is volatile and is pending changes at SOCS. The descriptions cover material that was yet to be settled at the time of its writing.
* socs * The discussed topic only applies to SOCS, or there is some peculiarity that one must be aware of in order to get things working at SOCS.
* important * Important - read this carefully.
* advice * Section contains material which may offer suggestions, advice, or the personal opinions of the writer.

Contents - Verbose - Glossary
Last modified: Friday, 06-Sep-2002 15:50:35 EDT

[ under construction ]