CSL: Common Questions

What machines are available for general login? For remote login?

Users may of course use their desktop machines for all of their work. In addition there is a pool of Linux compute servers (linux.cs.duke.edu) which can be used for intensive computations. For remote access and for general application computing, we also maintain Solaris login servers (login.cs.duke.edu); we request that you do not run CPU-intensive computations on these machines.

Remote users, please note that individual desktop machines are not guaranteed to be online at all times. Machines may need to be shut down for maintenance or may evevn be replaced for various reasons. The linux and login services are guaranteed to be available.

Where can I store files?

Several classes of file storage space are available within the department, the main distinction between them being the types of backups performed on them. A detailed discussion about the filesystems is available. When storing files, the user should consider the purpose of the files; the user's home directory is quota-limited, but this space is also comes with the highest guarantee of availabilty and data protection. It is not the best choice for large, temporary files. For large temporary file space, please consider /usr/xtmp or the /var/tmp/local area on your desktop machine. Research projects will often maintain large storage spaces in the /usr/project hierarchy; please contact your advisor about gaining access to this space.

I accidentally deleted or changed my file, how can I recover it?

Most filesystems in the department have snapshots, a type of online backup, from which the user can retrieve files on their own. Snapshots are taken at intervals during the day, as well as nightly and monthly.

For filesystems which do not have snapshots, users can submit a request to the Lab Staff to retrieve files from our tape backups.

Can I use my own computer on the department network? On the wireless network? Can I administer my own desktop machine?

Users may bring in their own machines and request access to the untrusted network. Do not disconnect department machines from the network!. Placing your own machine on the incorrect network will generate an alert to the Lab Staff and that network port will be deactivated.

The department no longer maintains a wireless network, but instead relies upon the Duke OIT wireless network. For more information, please see the instructions for registering for wireless access.

Students and faculty may also choose to administer their own department-provided desktop machines. Users interested in this option should first contact the Lab Staff; changes must be made to the machine and it's network before it can be handed over to the user. The Lab Staff can provide OS installs from a limited choice of options, but the user will be responsible for all machine administration. Users should not remove the machines from their office.

How can I access my email from outside the department?

Email may be accessed by any mail client which can accept secure IMAP or POP connections. The lab also maintains a web-based email client. Remote users can also originate email through the department server by using an authenticated SMTP connection. Users may also choose to forward their email to an external address.

How can I get software that I need?

On the trusted Linux machines, the Lab staff will generally be happy to globally install whatever software is needed. If the user's requirements cannot be met this way, the desktop machine assigned to the user can be turned over to their full control. The Lab staff will provide as much help as reasonable in setting the machine up, if desired.

The Lab also has some Windows software availble through the MSDNAA program. This program is available only to Computer Science faculty, staff, graduate students and undergraduate majors. Users can download a limited set of software titles for free from this program. Specifically, most Microsoft Office programs are not available through this program, and the Lab does not generally have these title available.

In addition OIT provides a list of site-licensed software, available to the Duke community. Any software not covered by these options will generally need to be purchased by the user, or will require consulting with the department managers.

I'm having problem printing...

Generally there are at least 2 public printers on each floor. are encouraged to notify the lab staff during office hours if a printer is not working. Printing paper and other printer supplies can be obtained Gail Smith on the first floor, additionally the administrative staff on each floor may have access to supplies for the printers on the floor they are located on.

I did not find my question here.

If you did not find the answer to your question here, please try the general CS Lab FAQ, or the collection of CS Lab FAQ pages. If all else fails, feel free to contact the Lab Staff.