- Trusted Linux
- Window managers
- CD audio
- Account configuration files
- Software availability
- Process scheduling with cron
- Mounting USB devices
Based on preferences expressed by the C.S. user community, the department has gradually transitioned to workstations running Linux for desktop use. These workstations are Intel (x86) PCs, and can run any of various operating systems, including those supported by the Lab Staff and connected to the trusted network, and those installed and supported by the user and connected to the untrusted network. This document will only discuss the trusted Linux distribution which is installed and maintained by the Lab staff and connected to the trusted network.
We are currently using the Ubuntu distribution, to take advantage of its faster release schedule and broader application support. For more information, please see:
A window manager is a complex set of programs that organize, manage, and decorate the various programs and windows associated with the display on your workstation. You can only run one window manager at a time, and configuration changes you make will only effect that window manager.
Before logging into the desktop, you can click the Session tab at the bottom of the screen to select which window manager to use.
CD AudioWhile the audio does work on the Linux machines, you need to make sure that the the audio is not muted (using the Volume control to unmute the PCM sound control, and to raise the volume). On the Linux machines, there is no cable that goes between the CD player, and the motherboard (apparently this is a common manufacturing technique). This means that the audio application has to decode the information on the CD using the CPU on the machine. This can't be done using the standard players, but we have installed a program called alsaplayer that will work. In order to access the CD:
Open alsaplayer Click on the icon that looks like a page of written text Select CDDAThat should work.
Account configuration files (aka, dot files)
A user's account contains configuration data usually referred to as dot files, since the name of each file typically starts with a period. Many accounts have dot files that were originally designed for Solaris (and prior OSs), and which don't always work well with Linux. Please see the Linux/Unix Account Configuration FAQ for information on configuring these.
If you are running a trusted Linux desktop and you need to use a program that is not available, please consider some combination of these options:
- Open a terminal window on a login server, and run the program from there. If you have a problem with X-server access, check that your DISPLAY environment variable is set correctly.
- Send a request to request, along with any details, so we can look into it.
- Learn to use a functionally equivalent program available on Linux.
- Process scheduling with cron
cron is background system process that will run scheduled commands without user intervention. Virtually any program or script which can be run manually can be run as a "cron" job. For more information, please see the CS Crontabs FAQ page.
Nothing on the Linux desktops is backed up at this time. If you have important data that is stored locally on the system (eg, in /var/tmp/), please be sure to maintain a copy elsewhere. If you use programs such as crontab which store data locally, please make sure to copy anything that you would not want to lose. For more information about backups, please see the various CSL Backup FAQ pages.
The automounter supports a browsability feature. This allows all of the potential filesystem mount points to be visible, whether or not they are mounted. So, on Linux, you might see:
% ls /usr/project ai csed dna misc2 tune2 ari1 csed2 dnanano msdnaa vision ari_scratch1 csed3 edels news visiontemp ari_scratch2 csed4 frontiers packages voice ari_scratch3 csed5 ft parr web-docs atmp csed6 ftp projects xiaobai biogeo0 csedtmp geodata robocup xlang5 cgc csem httpd services xtmp cgc1 cvpr2005 jsv spider1 cgi cwd kamesh support coursearchive cyberchair kedem sysarch_papers courses datacomp misc tocs
Thus, TAB-key autocompletion and wildcard matches won't work for these directory names on Linux until the mount is induced; you will have to type out the entire directory name, possibly followed by a slash (/), depending on the circumstance. This is similar to the behavior of the .snapshot feature available on filesystems residing on a Network Appliance Filer.
Mounting USB devices
You should be able to mount a USB device using the following command on the linux machines:mount /mnt/usbkey
The files should then appear under the /mnt/usbkey directory. Please remember to unmount the file system using the command:umount /mnt/usbkey