Linuxing Liverpool Online — Part 2: Connecting

This is part two of my series of articles about studying at the University of Liverpool online using GNU/Linux. They “officially” only support Mac OS X or Windows, although things work just as well using GNU/Linux.

Once you’re fully and completely signed up with UoL, you’ll receive an e-mail entitled “University of Liverpool – Start Pack Email”. This contains a link to a website where you can find out your username and password for the virtual classroom.

The page also contains a download link for the Windows or Mac OS X version of what UoL calls “Emabnet”. Embanet, however, is just a company, a solution provider. They run the FirstClass servers UoL use as virtual classrooms. FirstClass is a BBS software. Must be well over a decade old now, as I remember being administrator for a FirstClass server on Mac OS 7 more than ten years ago.

Fortunately for us, FirstClass also offers a GNU/Linux version of their client on their own download page. So go ahead and grab the package that matches your distribution best (Ubuntu and Debian users choose the .deb package), then install it with your favorite package management tool.


The screenshot above shows the settings dialog with the settings you need to connect to UoL’s FirstClass server hosted at Embanet. To get that far, you must first launch FirstClass from either /opt/firstclass/fcc or from your desktop environment’s application menu (in Ubuntu, that’s the “Applications” menu, under “Internet”). Start FirstClass now. In the first screen that appears, click “Setup…” and change the server address to Change “Encryption” to “Default”. Save your settings, enter your username and password in the main login dialog box and there you are — connected.

Once you’re in, this is the “desktop” you should see:


The screenshot was resized from its original size, of course. Once you get there, continue as instructed by your Intake Adviser.

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