All attendees

There are two key preparation steps:

  1. Back up your data. It is possible to delete things by mistake, it's best to have a backup.
  2. Ensure you have a working bash shell - see below for your operating system's instructions. Windows users please note some pre-installation is required.


  1. Open Terminal: Applications → Utilities → Terminal
  2. Run the command bash --version
  3. You should see a message like GNU bash, version 3.2.57

In the unlikely event this does not work, try installing iTerm.


  1. Find "Terminal" in your Linux application menu. The exact name varies but it's usually pretty easy to find.
  2. Run the command bash --version
  3. You should see a message like GNU bash, version 4.3.30

In the unlikely event this does not work, you'll need to investigate installing a bash shell on your Linux distribution - the precise details vary, although it's usually only an apt-get away.


Installation ahead of time is required for all versions of Windows:

  • The recommended option for Windows 10 is WSL
  • All versions of Windows can use Cygwin

Other shells including Git Bash, cmd and Powershell are not suitable.

WSL (Bash on Ubuntu on Windows)

Windows 10 includes Windows Subsystem for Linux (beta), which is a long name for a bash shell. See the blog post Getting started with WSL for setup and configuration suggestions; and don't forget to add your WSL username and password to your password safe.


  • Download the installer from
  • Follow the instructions for a fresh install.
  • At the "select packages" stage, add the following packages by searching, then changing them from "skip" to install (it will show the version number):
    • (editor) vim
    • (editor) nano
    • (development) git
    • (development) make
    • (python) python (2 not 3)
    • (net) ping
    • (net) curl
    • (web) wget
    • (utils) tree
    • (utils) colordiff
    • (utils) dos2unix
  • When it asks about "resolving dependencies" say yes, it'll download any extras required to install the options you specified.
  • When everything's installed, run Cygwin.
  • Run the command bash --version
  • You should see a message starting with GNU bash, version 4.3.42 (or similar)
  • To orient yourself to the location Cygwin has been installed, run cd ~ && cygstart . - this should open Windows Explorer in your bash home directory.
  • Note that your firewall may prompt for permission multiple times when you start Cygwin and run commands for the first time. Although it's a bit annoying this is normal, as bash is running lots of small, separate programs.