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KIT501 UNIX Scripting Assignment


KIT501 UNIX Scripting Assignment

Due Date: 3:00pm Thursday the 12th of May – Week 11

Weight: 15% of your final KIT501 result

Intended Learning Outcomes: ILO 2 – Apply industry standard techniques and skills to configure network infrastructure and operating system processes.


This assignment requires you to apply what you have learned from the unit’s practical classes to write a script to implement task specified below. You must complete this assignment individually and pay careful attention to the section on plagiarism to ensure the work you submit is your own.

Working environment

On the teaching server, ictteach.its.utas.edu.au, you must make a directory named kit501script in your home directory and use this directory as your working directory for all assignment development.

  1. The first time you start working on the assignment, after logging on, type the following commands ($ is the prompt, do not type that):

$ mkdir kit501script

$ cd kit501script

  • Every other time you log on, simply do the following and then continue working:

$ cd kit501script

Allowed Syntax/Commands

All scripts must be completed using syntax and commands discussed in past (and some future) practical classes – no additional referential syntax (that is not discussed in practicals) is allowed. This means your script solutions must not use alternative constructs and syntax e.g. solutions found through websites via google searches that use commands and shell syntax that we have not covered in the practical content, and you must not use external parties or other individuals to write the scripts for you (this is considered plagiarism and academic misconduct).


Assessment Process

Text Box: Ø	Pay close attention to the marking rubric shown on the last page. This scheme shows you how marks are allocated, and what you must (successfully) achieve to receive marks. Note also that your scripts must have clear and tidy structure, have good use of indentation and whitespace (to make the script more readable by humans), include appropriate comments, and have your identification details and the script's purpose specified in comments at the top of your script.

All student script submissions will be marked by KIT501 tutors on ictteach according to the rubric on the last page of this document. If your scripts were developed elsewhere (i.e., not on ictteach) it’s your responsibility to ensure that your scripts run correctly in our teaching environment. You will lose considerable marks if your scripts do not run correctly on our teaching server, so it is imperative you develop and test your scripts on ictteach before you submit.

Scripting Task


A researcher has used a logging program to log observations for an experiment. The output of the logging program is a series of log files in a directory that have the following naming format:


where file is literally the word ‘file’, and A..H are single binary digits (0 or 1).

The researcher did not realise for several weeks that the logging program’s output filenames had binary digits, and, unfortunately, her further research work requires the filenames to be fixed to replace the binary part with the decimal number. The researcher also mistakenly added other files to the directory containing the log files, and these other files do not have the correct naming format. She wants you to write a script to rename the validly-named files, and then sort all the files in her directory into one of four subdirectories depending on their filename – the script must also output what files (and their associated ‘category’) are found.

Valid filenames

Any of the following would be considered potentially valid filenames produced by the researcher’s logging program (all categorised as CATEGORY1) – a filename that starts with file followed by 8 binary digits:

  • file00000000
  • file00000001
  • file00000010
  • file11111111

Invalid filenames

Anything not fitting the pattern described above is invalid.

  • CATEGORY2 filenames that start with file that are followed by zero or more binary digits only (but less than 8 binary digits) e.g. file, file0101, file0000000
  • CATEGORY3 filenames that start with file that are followed by any characters that include non-binary digits e.g. filesort0101, file00112110, fileWRONG
  • CATEGORY4 any filename that does not start with file e.g. badfile, fire01001010

The researcher’s request means your script must require an arbitrary directory name to be specified when it is run, after which it will then rename any valid filenames and move the files it finds in the specified directory according to the requirements that follow:

Task Requirements

  1. Your script for this task must be named binarylog.sh

If your script has a different name, it will not be assessed.

  • Make sure your script is not unnecessarily complex – your script should use consistent indentation and include whitespace/blank lines (where relevant) to make the script more logical and easier for a person to read. You must also include general inline comments in the script code to indicate the purpose of more complex command combinations etc.
  • Your script must start with the following first line:


(this specifies the shell to be used to interpret the rest of the commands in the script)

  • Your script must include comments at the beginning (near the top of the script) to specify:
    • the script’s purpose,
    • the author (including student number),
    • and the date (when last modified).
  • One directory name must be supplied as an argument to be used by your script when it is executed by the user (the directory referred to would presumably be one that contains a mixture of validly named and invalidly named log files that are going to be processed by the script). The directory name must not be ‘hardcoded’ (written) in your script, i.e., its value must come from the command line argument. If no directory name is provided by the user, the script should provide a usage warning message and then exit. See Example Output for an example.
  • Near the beginning of your script, you need to check that the directory associated with the directory name provided as an argument to the script:
  1. Exists. If the directory does not exist, your script must display an error message and then it should exit. The directory name provided can use an absolute path, or a relative path – see Example Output for examples.
  • Is readable, writeable and
    • If the directory is not readable, your script must display an error message and then it should exit.
    • If the directory is not writeable, your script must display an error message and then it should exit.
    • If the directory is not executable, your script must display an error message and then it should exit.
Text Box: Ø	Note that in the descriptions that follow, filename is an original filename found, and filedecimal is the filename with the binary digits replaced by their decimal equivalent. dirname is the directory that the script is processing for log files.
  • For every file in the specified directory, the script must:
    • For a validly named file:
Text Box: valid	- filename	[renamed to filedecimal]

echo the following output to the terminal screen:

  1. Rename the file with its specific filedecimal name and then move it to a

subdirectory called CATEGORY1 (the script should only create the directory here if it does not already exist and also only when a file in this category is found). See the section Binary to Decimal Renaming below.

  • For an invalidly named file that starts with file and is then followed by less than 8 binary digits (and no other
Text Box: invalid - filename	does not have 8 bits

echo the following output to the terminal screen:

  1. Move the invalid file to a subdirectory called CATEGORY2 (the script should

only create the directory here if it does not already exist and also only when a file in this category is found).

  • For an invalidly named file that starts with file and is followed by any characters that include some non-binary
Text Box: invalid - filename	non-binary characters after 'file'

echo the following output to the terminal screen:

  1. Move the invalid file to a subdirectory called CATEGORY3 (the script should

only create the directory here if it does not already exist and also only when a file in this category is found).

  • For an invalidly named file that does not start with file:
Text Box: invalid - filename	does not start with 'file'

echo the following output to the terminal screen:

  1. Move the invalid file to a subdirectory called CATEGORY4 (the script should only create the directory here if it does not already exist and also only when a file in this category is found).
  • If the command-line argument specified directory contains no files:
    • echo the following output to the terminal screen:
Text Box: The directory dirname contained no files…
  • exit the script

This also means if you run the script twice, the first time should process any files, displaying the outputs specified in requirement 7 above, renaming where appropriate, and moving files to specified category subdirectories. Running the script for a second time (with the same directory argument) will produce the output specified in this requirement (requirement 8), as all files should have already moved to subdirectories. Your output should never “process” or mention the subdirectory names.

Binary to Decimal Renaming

As previously mentioned, a validly named file will have the form fileABCDEFGH, eg file01010111

Your script must implement an algorithm only using commands and syntax as discussed in practical classes. Your solution is restricted (i.e not allowed) to use the shell “builtin” conversion

e.g. echo $((2#101010101))

This restriction also extends to any other command that has not been discussed in classes – the following list shows some of the common methods (but not all) found through a brief google search – none are permitted:

awk sed printf xxd od perl ibase, obase and bc

Instead, your solution must take an iterative (looping) approach to demonstrate your understanding of iteration and selecting individual characters from a string (a string is just a sequence of characters).

Algorithm hint

The suggested approach is you take the binary part from the filename (what command can extract part of a string?), and then examine each binary digit one by one in turn (the syntax to do this is given in a practical) – the digit’s position in the binary string will determine the value (a multiple of 2) to add to the decimal total. Note the syntax for the character position starts numbering from zero, and from the left hand side.

For example, consider the binary value in the string “01001001”

Column Value1286432168421
String Position01234567
String Value01001001

Assume you start in position 0 of the string, and total is 0.

In position 0, the bit value is 0, so add 0*128 to the total (total still equals 0)

Next, in position 1, the bit value is 1, so add 1*64 to the total (total now equals 64) Next, in position 2, the bit value is 0, add 0*32 to the total (total still equals 64) Next, in position 3, the bit value is 0, so add 0*16 to the total (total still equals 64) Next, in position 4, the bit value is 1, so add 1*8 to the total (total now equals 72) Next, in position 5, the bit value is 0, so add 0*4 to the total (total still equals 72) Next, in position 6, the bit value is 0, so add 0*2 to the total (total still equals 72) Finally, in position7, the bit value is 1, so add 1*1 to the total (total now equals 73)

When implementing your solution, you may consider converting the 8-bit binary portion of a filename to either:

  1. its positive decimal equivalent (as demonstrated above), or
  2. for a higher grade, assume the 8-bit value is using twos complement representation (see criterion 4 in the marking rubric)

8-bit positive binary values

Assuming you implement conversion of 8-bit positive numbers only, the following would be valid conversions:

8-  bit twos complement binary values

Assuming you implement conversion of 8-bit twos complement number representation, the following would be valid conversions:

Text Box: Original filename	Converted filename
file00000000	file0
file00000001	file1
…	…
file01111111	file127

Text Box: Original filename	Converted filename
file10000000	file-128
file10000001	file-127
…	…
file11111111	file-1

Example output

Example files

You of course are free to create any directory you like in your kit501script directory and populate it with files for testing purposes (this is highly recommended – you need to test your script works correctly!). The marking process will not use the filenames or directory name that are listed below, marking will use a different directory and different testing files.

In this example, assume a subdirectory called research has been created inside kit501script. The contents of research are the following files:

Text Box: Filename

Text Box: Filename

The following are sample outputs of the script you must develop. The text up to and including the $ is the shell prompt:

Example 1. No directory name specified as an argument:

[username@ictteach kit501script]$ ./binarylog.sh Usage: ./binarylog.sh dirname

where dirname is a directory containing binary-named files

Example 2. Invalid directory name specified as an argument:

[username@ictteach kit501script]$ ./binarylog.sh reserch Directory reserch does not exist!

Example 3. Valid directory name specified as an argument, but (e.g.) is not readable:

[username@ictteach kit501script]$ ./binarylog.sh research Directory research is not readable!

Example 4. If the specified directory contained no files:

[username@ictteach kit501script]$ ./binarylog.sh research The directory research contains no files…

Example 5. Normal output with mixture of valid/invalid files:

[username@ictteach kit501script]$./binarylog.sh research

invalid  badfile                           does not start with ‘file’ valid               file00000001                 [renamed to file1] invalid  file0101   does not have 8 bits

valid       file01111111               [renamed to file127]

invalid file01whoops                   non-binary characters after ‘file’ valid               file10000001                 [renamed to file-127]

invalid  file1111111                    does not have 8 bits valid               file11111111                 [renamed to file-1]

invalid filefilefile                 non-binary characters after ‘file’

Example 6. Example contents of specified directory (research in this example) after the script has run:

[username@ictteach kit501script]$ ls research/* research/CATEGORY1:

file1     file-1     file127    file-127

research/CATEGORY2: file0101       file1111111

research/CATEGORY3: file01whoops     filefilefile

research/CATEGORY4: badfile

Text Box: Ø	Note the sample solution used to produce the output above assumes twos complement representation, thus e.g. file11111111 is renamed file-1 . Your solution may choose to only implement positive binary number representation, so file11111111 would be renamed file255 if so.

Submitting Your Assignment

Text Box: Ø	The instructions that follow assume you have created a directory called kit501script in your ictteach home directory, your script file is called binarylog.sh and it is located inside the kit501script directory.
Ø	These instructions also assume you are either using a lab macOS-based computer (such as those in the networks labs), or you are using your personal computer. If you are off-campus, you must be running GlobalProtect VPN to be able to connect to ictteach via SSH and SCP.

All assignment submissions are through MyLO. Submitting your assignment to MyLO requires you to first make a compressed copy of your script file on ictteach, copy that compressed file from ictteach to your local computer, and then upload the compressed file from your local computer to the MyLO submission area. Please read and follow the instructions below carefully

– ask your tutor if you have any difficulty, and we suggest you try the instructions well-ahead of the due date so you do not encounter any last minute problems.

1.     Start on ictteach

You must first create a compressed1 version (a copy) of your assignment script on ictteach, and then copy this version to your local computer:

On ictteach, run the following commands ($ is the prompt):

$ cd ~/kit501script

$ gzip -c binarylog.sh > binarylog.sh.gz

You then need to copy the binarylog.sh.gz file to your local computer – instructions on how to do this differ depending on what local operating system your local computer is using

– see below. The instructions for each operating system use a command called scp (secure copy), which uses the SSH protocol behind the scenes to copy files.

1 MyLO will not permit files to be uploaded with certain file extensions – .sh is one of them. Instead, we compress the script file (to preserve all formatting) and the result will have a .gz extension which MyLO will accept.

2.     Apple macOS (using terminal)

If you are using an Apple macOS-based computer to submit, copy your compressed script file to the local computer via:

  1. From a new terminal window (i.e. not a terminal session already connected to

ictteach), type the following (% is the prompt, do not type that)

% scp username@ictteach.its.utas.edu.au:kit501script/binarylog.sh.gz


(replace username with your own UTAS username (this is NOT your email address!))

Text Box: Ø	Note that there are only two spaces in the above command – between scp and your username, and between .gz and ~/Desktop. All parts are on the same line, it just appears word-wrapped over lines in this document.
  • You should then be prompted for your ictteach password:

username@ictteach.its.utas.edu.au’s password:

  • After typing your password (it will not be shown onscreen), if you have correctly authenticated, you should get a notification line like the following to indicate the file has been downloaded (to your Desktop in this instance – the file size and data transfer rate shown will differ to your file size and data transfer rate )

binarylog.sh.gz                      100% 3727          2.6MB/s      00:00

3.     Microsoft Windows (using putty)

If you are using your own Microsoft Windows-based computer to submit, we assume you have previously installed the putty program to access ictteach. Putty also includes some other programs when you install it – pscp.exe is one of them and it is the program needed. If you are not using putty but have been using some other access method, you will need to investigate how to use the scp command for that method.

Copy your compressed script file to the local computer via:

  1. Start a new command prompt window (select the Windows start menu icon and then type cmd.exe).
  • In the command prompt window, use the following command to navigate to the putty local installation directory (in the example, putty is installed in a putty subdirectory of the standard location, c:\Program  Files  –  your local putty directory may differ). (C:\Users\username>  is the prompt, do not type that):

Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.19042.1110]

(c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

C:\Users\username>  cd  c:\program  files\putty

  • If successful, the current directory should now be the putty install directory. pscp.exe is putty’s version of the scp command, and it should be installed here. Run the following command (C:\Program  files\PuTTY> is the prompt, do not type that):

C:\Program  files\PuTTY>  .\pscp.exe



(Replace username with your UTAS username (this is NOT your email address))

Text Box: Ø	Note that there are only two spaces in the above command – between pscp.exe and your username, and between .gz and %userprofile%\Desktop. All parts are on the same line, it just appears word-wrapped over lines in this document.

  • You will be prompted for your ictteach password (the password will not appear on screen):

username@ictteach.its.utas.edu.au’s password:

If you have typed the commands correctly, your compressed script file, binarylog.sh.gz

should now be on your Windows Desktop.

4.     MyLO submission (all students):

If you have successfully copied your compressed binarylog.sh.gz script file from ictteach to your local computer, it should now be on your desktop. You can now submit this file to MyLO:

  1. In a web browser, go to the unit’s MyLO site – in semester 1 2022 this is https://mylo.utas.edu.au/d2l/home/506348).
  2. Navigate through the MyLO site’s top menu to the submission link:

Assessments → Assignments → Assignment 2 (scripting)

  • Scroll down and select the Add a File button.
  • Chose the My Computer option, and then choose the Upload button. Navigate to your local desktop and select the binarylog.sh.gz file that you copied earlier and finally choose Open.
  • Back in the Add a File dialog window, choose the Add button at the bottom.
  • Then, if everything appears to be ok (verify you can see your file listed) choose the Submit


Revised submission?

If it is before the due date and time, follow all the submission steps again to make a compressed copy of your script, download the copy to your computer and then upload your copy to MyLO. We will only assess the latest submission.

Late submission?

If your assignment is late then you should submit your compressed script file to MyLO as above – the University’s new assessment policy means you will lose 5% of your score for every day the submission is late – assignments will not be accepted after 10 days past the scheduled submission date.

Need Help?

You are encouraged to seek assistance from your lecturer or tutors in practicals or during consultation after you have seriously thought about the assignment. Please note that we can provide general advice – but you are expected to write and debug (correct) your own code.

When writing your script, think about what steps you need to do, don’t try to write the code all at once. Implement a small part first, test that it is working correctly, then implement a bit more, repeating the process of thinking, writing (coding), testing and refining/fixing. Do not leave the development of your script too late – you will run out of time!

Extra Hints:

Worksheets for Practicals 7 – 10 will be released early for those students who want to start work on this assignment early. For example, some referential syntax needed (e.g., looping) is not covered in the practical material until Practical 9.

  • Start by determining the provided directory’s name from the script’s argument parameters (see Practical 7)
  • Verify the directory exists – exit if it doesn’t (see Practical 8)
  • Verify the directory is readable/writeable/executable – exit if it isn’t (see Practical 8)
  • Work out how to list the contents of the directory, one file at a time – use a loop (see Practical 9)
  • Work out how to ‘categorise’ a filename into one of the four categories – use a case statement (see Practical 8)
    • You’ll need to determine if a filename starts with file, and then also if it only has binary digits following, or if it also has other characters. (see Practical 5)
    • The binary part (if it exists) will always be in the same positions (the 5th to 12th characters) of the filename! (see Practical 6)
    • To work out how many characters a string has, there was some syntax mentioned in Practical 8.
    • You will have to use syntax for decision-making – use the if statement (see Practical 8)
    • Simple arithmetic (e.g. addition and multiplication) is covered in Practical 8.
  • When testing your script it’s recommended you “clean up” any temporary files or directories already created so you can verify your script correctly creates directories when required. You might like to write another simple setup script that you can keep quickly reuse to recreate your testing log directory and populate it with test files prior to each time you try to run your assignment script. A reminder – the touch command can be used to quickly create an empty file if it doesn’t already exist e.g. touch file00000001


Plagiarism is a very serious matter, and ignorance of this is not an excuse. If you submit work claiming it to be your own, and it is not original work of your own, this is cheating. This means for example that you cannot submit sections of code that have been written by other students or sourced from the Internet and claim you wrote the code yourself. Plagiarism can result in academic penalties both in relation to your assignment, and also on your permanent university record.

As an example, you cannot take code written by someone else and change variable names, comments and spacing to make it appear you wrote the code – this would still be considered plagiarism.

KIT501 Scripting Assignment Marking Rubric

1 Script ExecutionThe script runs without anyThe script runs without anyThe script runs withoutThe script runs withThe script does
(5%)syntax errors or unusual outputsyntax errors, but someany syntax errors, butvery minor syntaxnot run, or it has
  minor unusual output occurssome significant unusualerrors that do notsignificant
   output occursprevent it fromsyntactic errors,
    continuingor the script
     contents are
2 Log sourceThe source directory is providedThe source directory isThe source directory isThe sourceThe source
directory (10%)as a command line argument, itprovided as a command lineprovided as a commanddirectory isdirectory is not
 is verified to exist, and all of theargument, it is verified toline argument, it is verifiedprovided as aprovided as a
 directory permissions areexist, and some of theto exist, but none of thecommand linecommand line
 correctly verifieddirectory permissions aredirectory permissions areargument, but noargument
  correctly verifiedcorrectly verifiedverification is(and/or it is
    performed forhardcoded in the
    existence orcode)
3 Log sourceScript correctly outputs whenn/an/aScript correctlyScript does not
directorythe directory is completely  outputs when thecorrectly output
contents (5%)empty, and correctly outputs  directory iswhen a directory
 when the directory contains no  completely emptycontains no files
 files (but has subdirectories).    
 Only syntax and commands    
 discussed in classes have been    
4 BinaryThe script correctly converts allThe script correctly convertsn/aThe script correctlyNo binary to
Conversion (40%)valid filenames to their decimalall valid filenames to their converts all validdecimal
 equivalent, correctly convertsdecimal equivalent, correctly filenames to theirconversion is
 values using twos complementconverts values using decimal equivalent,correctly
 representation and displays thepositive binary correctly convertsdisplayed
 result in the output. Only syntaxrepresentation and displays values using 
 and commands discussed inthe result in the output. Only positive binary 
 classes have been usedsyntax and commands representation and 
  discussed in classes have displays the result 
  been used in the output. 
5 invalid filesAll Invalid files are correctlyAll Invalid files are correctlySome Invalid files areSome Invalid filesNo invalid files in
categorisationidentified in the output, and theyidentified in the output, andcorrectly identified in theare correctlythis category are
(20%)are moved to the correspondingthey are moved to theoutput, and they areidentified in thecorrectly
 category subdirectory. If notcorresponding categorymoved to theoutput, but theyidentified, nor
 initially present, thesubdirectory. Thecorresponding categoryare not moved toare they moved
 corresponding categorycorresponding categorysubdirectory, but somethe corresponding 
 subdirectory is only createdsubdirectory is created evenfiles are misclassifiedcategory 
 when and if files in this categoryif no files in the category are subdirectory, and 
 are discovered. Only syntax andfound. Only syntax and some files are 
 commands discussed in classescommands discussed in misclassified 
 have been usedclasses have been used   
6 ScriptInformative script comments areInformative script commentsInformative scriptInformative scriptNo comments or
Comments (10%)included at the start, as well asare included at the start, andcomments are included atcomments areonly extremely
 throughout the script (wheremany other comments arethe start, but there areincluded at thesparse or
 appropriate)included, but somefew other comments –start, but veryinappropriate
  comments are obviouslythere is an obvious needlimited commentscomments are
  missingfor other commentselsewhereincluded
7 Script LayoutExcellent, consistent use ofExcellent use of indentationGood use of indentationOccasional, correctNo attention
(10%)indentation and whitespaceand whitespace howeverand whitespace but a fewuse of indentationprovided to
 throughoutthere are some minorsections are inconsistentand whitespace butlayout, major
  examples of inconsistency many sections arelack of
    inconsistentconsistent use of
     indentation and

Note for criteria 1, 6 and 7 grades above NN are only applicable if the script contents are non-trivial