Linux Workstation

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Revision as of 16:16, 31 October 2013 by Greg (talk | contribs) (Matlab)
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Getting Started

Computer address - We have two linux machine, ( and ( Also there is one Mac Server, (

Creating an account - Send your desired username to whomever is currently administering the machine and they will create an account for you, and give a default password.

Log in - now you should be able to ssh to the computer and log into your own account with the default password. Change your password using the command passwd which will then ask for you new password.

Connect to Mac Server

First, you need a vnc viewer. I recommend the latest version of Realvnc(4.6.3), and you can download the enterprise version of viewer for free from

Open the VNC viewer, type the ip address

Enter your ID/password, enjoy!

Connect to Linux Server

Once you are able to log into your account the first thing I recommend is to start a vnc server running on your account. VNC is kind of like RDC for Windows. It allows you to have a graphical interface with your account, which for things like Matlab is nice (although you can run Matlab from the command line...).

VNC server - from the command prompt type vncserver the first time it will request that you give it a password, which can be different than your user password. Also, it will start your vncserver. Be sure to note which display your server started on. I.e. it should say "New ' (dummy)' desktop is" and the number after the colon :2 is the display number.

Note: Only ports 1-10 on the firewall are open for VNC. Let me know if we need more (you can connect via vnc if the port is not open).

VNC viewer - you need to download a vnc viewer client on your windows box. I have used both RealVNC and TightVNC (RealVNC is better...they created vnc). I have tried Chicken of the VNC for Mac, but haven't got it to work yet (other problems, not the software).

Run the client and connect to the address port). If everything goes right it should ask you for your password, and then open the session. I haven't got things to work from home yet. I think it should using VPN, but I am not sure.

Also, please remember to kill your vnc server when you are finished. From the terminal just enter vncserver -kill :(displayport). This way we don't have to have too many ports open on the firewall. In doing this you will have to log in via Putty each time and restart your server, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

The window manager (GUI client) that is default is 'twm', which isn't much to look at and is only command line. If all you want to do is use Matlab then this should be fine. Just type matlab and the command and it will open fine. If you want a nicer GUI then you have to edit your xstartup file.

While logged into vnc type emacs .vnc/xstartup this will open emacs (a text editor) and your xstartup file. The standard file looks like this:

  1. !/bin/sh
  1. Uncomment the following two lines for normal desktop:
  3. exec /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc

[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup [ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources xsetroot -solid grey vncconfig -iconic & xterm -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" & twm &

the last line tells which window manager to use. So you can remove twm & and use either exec gnome-session or startkde & for a gnome or kde window manager.

FTP - finally I have set up an FTP server. You should not have to do anything after you have set up your account to use FTP. Just point your standard FTP client to and enter your username and password.


You can download Matlab in USC ITS website, and install it in your home folder.