Information Technology

Unix Systems Upgrades

On Thursday August 8 from 9 AM to Noon, the Amherst College Unix computers Romulus and Remus will be out of service while being upgraded.
The new systems will have 16GB of RAM and 8 CPUs, both of which can be expanded. The current CentOS 5.8 (Red Hat Linux 5.8) will be upgraded to the most recent CentOS 6.4 (Red Hat Linux 6.4).
The new systems and software are 64-bit. Any local code in your home directory can be recompiled to benefit from the greater precision, larger memory addressing, and wider data paths (but don’t need to be).

In addition, a new Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) server will allow you to connect with Remote Desktop Connection, which is standard on Windows (in Start > All Programs > Accessories), and on Macs comes with Microsoft Office or can be downloaded from <>. RDP sessions are stateful and can be resumed after disconnecting. To be successful with the reconnect, ensure that you use consistent window-size and color-depth specifications. Also make sure that you log out if you are finished with the remote connection (don’t simply quit the program, that doesn’t end the remote session!).
Note: because we have had good success with RDP to a number of systems (including the Virtual Computing Laboratory) and continuing issues with the NX software used for the same purpose, we will be ending the provision of NX on Windows and Macintosh computers in the public labs. An NX server will continue to run on Romulus and Remus for those who still need it, although we discourage this.
As before, X11 connections will continue to be an alternative to a remote desktop session, from Macintosh computers using Applications > Utilities > and from Windows computers using Xming or similar third-party software. This software is also available on the computers in the public labs.
Other third-party software that will be available:
- Mathematica 9 (with FeynArts-3.8, FeynCalc-8.2)
- Matlab R2013a and Octave
- R
- Python 2.7 and 3.3 (with NumPy, SciPy, and Matplotlib)
- Haskell
- Eclipse
- TkGate
- Pine (now called Alpine)
Please contact Andy Anderson <> or x2255 if you have any questions or concerns.