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General purpose Linux computing - CMU/SCS Computing Facilities

SCS maintains a group of Linux computers running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS for general purpose computing. These computers are available via SSH at linux.gp.cs.cmu.edu. Most new users are given an account on linux.gp.cs.cmu.edu. Users with older accounts may need to request an account. Please send email to help@cs.cmu.edu to request an account on linux.gp.cs.cmu.edu.

Logging In

An SSH client, like PuTTY, can be used to connect to linux.gp.cs.cmu.edu from Windows computers. A command-line SSH client can be used from Macs and Unix/Linux machines.

SSH Host Key

When logging in to linux.gp.cs.cmu.edu for the first time from a given machine you may be presented with an SSH key fingerprint. This fingerprint is to verify that you are really connecting to linux.gp.cs.cmu.edu. The current fingerprint for linux.gp.cs.cmu.edu is available at this URL.

After the first time you log in, the public keys for linux.gp.cs.cmu.edu should be stored on your machine and you should not be prompted to verify the fingerprint again. If you ever get a warning about the SSH keys not matching, you should recheck the above-linked web page or contact the SCS Help Desk to see if the fingerprint has changed before entering your password on the machine to which you are attempting to connect.

Usage Guidelines

Linux.gp is a shared resource and should not be used for resource-intensive jobs. Linux.gp is intended for simple tasks that require the use of a command-line operating system.

Intended Usage

Below is a list of common and acceptable uses for linux.gp.cs.cmu.edu:

  • Access to a command line operating system
  • Access to AFS
  • Non-resource-intensive jobs
  • To test software or access to other machines, if you are having problems with your desktop machine

Unintended Usage

Please do not use linux.gp for:

  • Jobs longer than 24 hours
  • Jobs that are resource-intensive
  • A mail drop

Your Environment

Home Directory

Your home directory on linux.gp.cs.cmu.edu will be your AFS home directory. For example, if your SCS username is 'example', your home directory would be /afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/example.

Temporary Space

Access to the local disk on linux.gp.cs.cmu.edu is limited. The directory /usr/tmp/ may be used for storing temporary files.

Zephyr

Both the standard zwgc and barnowl Zephyr clients are available on the linux.gp machines.

Email

Linux.gp can be used to read your SCS email with a command-line email client like Alpine or Mutt.

Alpine

To read your SCS IMAP email using Alpine on linux.gp.cs.cmu.edu, you will need to create a configuration file for Alpine. In your home directory, please create a file called '.pinerc' that has this content:

user-domain=cs.cmu.edu
smtp-server=smtp.srv.cs.cmu.edu
inbox-path={imap.srv.cs.cmu.edu:993/imap/user=example/ssl}INBOX

Please replace 'example' with your SCS username.

Mutt

To read your SCS IMAP email using Mutt on linux.gp.cs.cmu.edu, you will need to create a configuration file for mutt. In your home directory, please create a file called '.muttrc' that has this content:

set folder="imaps://example@cs.cmu.edu@imap.srv.cs.cmu.edu"
set spoolfile="imaps://example@cs.cmu.edu@imap.srv.cs.cmu.edu/INBOX"
set from="example@cs.cmu.edu"
set use_from=yes

Please replace 'example' with your SCS username.

Weekly Maintenance Period

Every Monday morning at 4:00 AM, each of the linux.gp computers will be rebooted. These reboots are scheduled to perform routine maintenance including performing software updates and clearing stuck jobs. Starting one hour before the reboot, reminders will be sent to anyone who is logged in. You should save your work and log off before the reboot to avoid any loss of data.