Connecting to Unix/Linux with NX

NX lets you work on a remote computer using its graphical user interface (GUI). It provides you with a "remote desktop" within a window on your own computer.

NX is essentially a graphical version of the older text-only (command line) programs Telnet, RSH, and SSH, and it provides the same security as the latter. It's similar to programs such as Windows Remote Desktop and Apple Remote Desktop, except that it's cross-platform.

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Unix Network Space

By mapping drives (Windows) or mounting volumes (Mac), you can access Amherst network storage shares and manipulate files as if they were stored on your own computer. For many purposes, mapped network drives or mounted volumes provide a simpler way to manage files than using SFTP or SSH and Unix commands.

Transfering Files to the College Unix Computers

There are a number of ways to transfer files to the College Unix computers.

Mounting or mapping a network disk share allows you to transfer files simply by copying them. Learn more about that approach here.  

Common Unix Shell Commands

Starting and Ending File Management Communication Information Printing Job Control The following is a short list of most basic Unix shell commands users will need. For more information, try man command or man -k text to search for possibilities.

Quotas

All members of the college community, including students, faculty, and staff, are given 500 MB of Unix storage space, which includes your W: drive and your home directory on Romulus/Remus. You will receive an automated warning email as you approach the limit. Instructions on checking your current Unix usage can be found below.

Passwordless Connections to Unix

The Secure Shell (SSH) protocol uses encryption to provide authentication and privacy when logging in to other computers over a network, such as Romulus, Remus, or the Computing Cluster. It can also be used to securely execute remote commands. By default logins use a password, but it's also possible to set up passwordless connections. The latter are very convenient, and are also required to initiate remote commands. However, for security reasons they should not be used from computers that are accessible to others.

Windows SSH: PuTTY

PuTTY is an open-source SSH client for Windows that lets you initiate interactive command-line sessions with Romulus and Remus, the twin Amherst Unix servers. How to Get PuTTYPuTTY is free software. If you are on the Amherst network you can copy it from Winsoft to your Windows computer. Note that PuTTY doesn't "install" as do most Windows applications. Rather, it is a self-contained executable named putty.exe. All you need to is copy it to your Windows desktop and double-click to run it.

Using the Emacs Text Editor

The emacs text editor is a common editor on Unix systems, and beginning users often find it easier to learn than vi (which is universally supported on UNIX systems). We recommend that programmers have a basic understanding of using emacs to edit text files. This document covers only the basic emacs commands needed for simple text editing. Therefore, it ignores many commands and offers only simplified explanations of others. The complete emacs command set is much larger and more powerful, but also more complicated.

The Gnome Desktop

Gnome provides Linux computers with a graphical interface similar to Macintosh or Windows computers.

On Linux computers, many people use a shell (a text-based or command-line user interface) to run programs. However, Linux also provides several graphical desktop enironments. One of these is Gnome, which is the default on the College's Linix servers.

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