Information about CIS Linux Desktops

Linux Desktop options for CIS PhD students

First year CIS PhD students are provided with Linux desktops with our standard software environment. This environment is shared by Eniac, several research machines and grids, most CIS desktops, and the condor pool. This helps first year students to become familiar with the environment shared by most of the department. After the first year, CIS PhD students have a choice of three options:

The Linux and Windows options are managed by CETS. You won't have root or admin access, and you are not permitted to configure the machines to dual-boot, re-install the OS, etc. On a Windows machine you will be able to install software under your personal account.

Whichever OS you choose, our Linux environment (with Matlab) is available remotely via SSH to, and our Windows environment (with Office, Matlab, etc) is available remotely via our Virtual PC Lab. Additional resources may be available to students registered for certain classes.

Why don't I have root on my CIS Linux desktop?

The CIS department wants to provide each PhD student with an identical workstation, to make it easier for people to collaborate on projects. If everyone ran their own machine and installed different sets of software, then when one person tried to use software developed on another person's machine, there would be version mismatches, missing libraries, and other problems. By using a standard machine you can develop software on your desktop and run it on the research grids, condor pool, or other workstations with few or no problems.

Also, the CIS department wants to provide each student with a machine that is secure, backed up, and professionally managed, so that the student can concentrate on course work and research, and doesn't have to worry about reading the security bulletins and analyzing risks.

Please let us know if there is anything that you want installed or fixed on your machine. We want you to be happy with your machine and with the service we provide by running it for you.

Remote Access

SSH, SCP, and SFTP services are open on the standard Linux desktops. Incoming SSH is restricted to SEASnet only. If you want to ssh to your desktop from outside SEASnet, you'll need to use a public SEAS machine, such as eniac.seas, as an intermediary. The desktop machines will be able to ssh out to anywhere, only incoming SSH will be restricted.

/tmp and /scratch

See the Answers article on using the /tmp and /scratch partitions for more information on storing temporary files safely.


© Computing and Educational Technology Services | 215.898.4707