Installing the Learn CBT Software

The learn Computer-Based Training software runs under Linux and UNIX and teaches the basics of the system.

We supply the software as source code in a compressed tar archive. To use the software, you must download the archive, extract the material, configure it with the auto-configuration tool, compile it and install it. To decompress the archive, you need the gzip tool. To compile the software, you need a C compiler such as gcc.

If you are the system administrator, you can install the software in a central place. If not, you can install in your home directory. Whichever you do, other users can run the software.

The front-end program learn is installed as $prefix/local/bin/learn. There are two "helper" programs which are installed in $prefix/local/libexec and the prepared lessons are installed into $prefix/share/learn. By default, $prefix is /usr.

It is best to download the distribution from our web site directly onto your target UNIX or Linux system, using a web browser such as Netscape. You should end up with a file called something like learn-2.0.tar.gz. (2.0 is the version number, which may vary.)

Once you have downloaded the distribution, do this:

gunzip learn-2.0.tar.gz # extract archive producing learn-2.0
tar xvf learn-2.0.tar # extract files from the archive
cd learn-2.0 # enter build directory
./configure # autoconfigure for your system
make # compile the software

(In the above list, "#" begins an explanatory comment. You don't need to type those.)

Finally, install the software. To do this, you must have write access to the destination directory, so unless it is your home directory, you must do this stage as root:

	 make install

That sequence of commands sets up the software in the default destination directory. You can specify another destination when you run configure, for example, you can set the prefix to be your home directory $HOME, so that the material is installed into $HOME/local/bin and so on:

	 ./configure --prefix=$HOME

Once you have run the tar command above, you will have a directory learn-2.0 containing the distribution. It also contains text files README and INSTALL. The first gives general information, the second gives detailed installation instructions.

The distribution includes all the original courses, but only files and morefiles are still relevant to most users. The rest cover tools which are either very specialist or obsolete.

You can start the software running by typing


(Substitute whatever prefix you chose).

If the directory $prefix/local/bin is in your path, you can just type


You can specify which course you want to study. Start with files:

	 learn files

Once you have finished that, go onto the course morefiles.

Since we updated the learn software we have only had a chance to test it under Linux (Red Hat version 6), so we would be interested in knowing of any problems you get when you try to run it on other systems. Send bug reports to

(We regret that we cannot accept questions about the content of the lessons, only about failure of the software.)

Acknowledgement The learn software and the original courses were written by Mike Lesk of AT&T Bell Laboratories and the material is the property of that organisation. We have just tweaked it to fit modern versions of UNIX. The material is distributed for free under AT&T's licence. See the comment in the file learn.c for the detailed terms and conditions. (This is not the GNU Public Licence.)