Information for current:

Computing Support FAQ

Introduction; Accounts; AFS; AV facilities; Bash & Shells; Compute Facilities;
Data Sets; Disk Quotas; Downloads & file transfers;
Email & Mailing lists; Hardware; Home Directories; Kerberos & tickets; Laptops & Wireless;
Logging in; News; Practical Submission; Printing; Remote Access;
Restoring Lost Files; Software and Documentation; Statistical Packages;
Support for Groups; TeX and LaTeX; Web; Windows

  1. Introduction
  2. Accounts
  3. AFS
  4. AV facilities
  5. Bash & Shells
  6. Compute Facilities
  7. Data Sets - What do we have?
  8. Disk Quotas
  9. Downloads & file transfers
  10. Email & Mailing lists
  11. Hardware
  12. Home Directories
  13. Kerberos & tickets
  14. Laptops & Wireless
  15. Logging in
  16. News
  17. Practical Submission
  18. Printing
  19. Remote Access
  20. Restoring Lost Information
  21. Software and Documentation
  22. Statistical packages
  23.  Support for Groups
  24. TeX and LaTeX
  25. Web
  26. Windows


Introduction

What is "Support"? What does it do? Who is it for?

"Support" is the computing support service for the School of Informatics. It covers primarily all the computers in the Informatics domain inf.ed.ac.uk. It aims to help you to get the best use out of the computers here, and to help you with computer-related problems and faults.

What does this FAQ cover?

"FAQ" stands for "Frequently Asked Questions"; it's a list of questions we in the Computing Support team are often asked, with answers to each question.

How do I get in touch with Support if I have a question or problem?

Please use this form to get in touch with us (why not bookmark it!), or find us in person here:
Appleton Tower
The Support Office is room AT-4.11, or phone 502686.
The Forum
The Support Office is room IF-2.07 (open plan office), phone 504503.

What happens when I use the Support Form?

The Support Form passes your message on to our request-tracking software. We use a system called RT or Request Tracker. Each Support form message generates a new "ticket" in RT. Each ticket has a number; you will be mailed the number as soon as RT receives your message.

All mail you receive about the ticket will be from a mail address which is used just for that ticket. We can only keep a proper track of your correspondence if it's sent to the correct address for the ticket. Doing this is in fact quite easy: all you have to do is reply to the initial auto-reply message mentioned above.

One of the staff will take "ownership" of the ticket. Sometimes it will also be assigned to a "queue" - which really means that it's being handed to a particular team of people to deal with. When either of these things happens you will be automatically mailed.

To contact the person that's dealing with the ticket, reply to that ticket's auto-reply email.

The user tends not see the behind the scenes activity on a ticket, often because computing staff are working out how best to deal with your request, rather than that nothing is happening at all. You can see Supports record of the ticket, including all information about what's been done so far, directly in RT on the web. Provided that the initial request has been made using a DICE authenticated username, from a DICE machine simply go to this URL https://rt3.inf.ed.ac.uk

If you need to escalate the priority on a ticket please see the escalation procedures.

Is there anything Support doesn't help with?

Support would love to have time to deal with all queries. Sadly there isn't enough resource to do that. The sort of thing we don't have time to deal are issues that: Making the decision in each case about what we try to support is rarely black and white; we will try to give as much support as we can.

If there are issues you have already solved please let us know as we may deem it appropriate to add the information to this FAQ for other users.

InfBase

Undergraduate students can also ask for help at InfBase which provides a range of advice, including programming tips. Further information and session times are available on the InfBase website.


Accounts.

How to Apply for an Account.

Account creation is an automatic process completely dependant on your entry in the School Database.

New Staff.

Informatics HR will take the details from you and perform the administrative magic. Staff and visitors are given a unique username by IS and this has to be in the database before an account can be created. Account details can be collected from your local Support Office unless other arrangements have been made.

Visitors.

Visitor accounts are dealt with by your local admin office. Students from other institutions who are not going to matriculate should contact their local Admin Office and are considered as visitors.

Students

Any Informatics undergrad/msc/phd students should go to the Informatics Student Services in Appleton Tower room 4.02 to request an account.

Academic staff requiring accounts for students of this university but not Informatics, should also speak to Student Services.

Students from other institutions who are going to matriculate should also be processed by Student Services.

I would like to keep my account after I leave.

Staff

This is to facilitate ongoing academic collaborations and the request should come from the member of staff who is willing to act as host.

In order to keep your account active there are a few changes that have to be made. These are administrative and are done by your local admin person.

Both the entries in the VRS and the School Database should match and should be kept current for as long as the account is required. You will no longer have an account on Staffmail. This is withdrawn 30 days after the end of your contract.


AV Facilities

Audio Visual Documentation

The facilities available in each meeting room of the Forum building are listed on the AV Documentation page, which also includes pdf userguides on how to use the touchscreen panels.

University Videoconferencing Suites

Informatics rooms are not equipped with videoconferencing facilities, however the University has three Videoconferencing suites located in the Central area, Kings Buildings and at Holyrood.


Bash & Shells

How does our bash start-up mechanism work?

We've modified bash slightly. If you want to personalise it you should use these startup files:
~/.brc is executed every time a new shell starts. This file is used, for example, to set aliases, which do not automatically propagate to subshells.
~/.benv is executed every time a shell starts in a new environment, such as when an X window is opened onto a new machine. This file is used, for example, to set environmental variables.
~/.bprofile is executed on login.
~/.inputrc is used to set the key bindings for command line editing operations.

You can add directories to bash's command search path using setpath. This sets up the search path in the right order.

For full details on the Informatics bash startup mechanism, see the bashdefenv man page.

Can I change my start-up shell?

No. So many aspects of our environment are configured in the bash startup files that the machines are more or less unusable with any other shell. In fact, they're all configured so that you can't even login if you use any other shell.

Compute Facilities

Where can I use long-running, resource-intensive software?

If you need to run software that takes not seconds but hours, days or weeks to complete, and makes a normal machine run horribly slowly, then you need to use the compute servers. Please note to run jobs longer than 18 hours you need to be registered to use krenew.

There are two compute servers. Use the "ssh" command to login to them. One compute server is for MSc and undergraduate students, and is called student.compute.inf.ed.ac.uk. The other compute server is for staff and research postgraduate students and is called staff.compute.inf.ed.ac.uk.

Both machines are Dell Poweredge R610s with 48GB of memory and 2.66GHz processors.

All big processes on student.compute and staff.compute should be run with "nice". This decreases their priority a little, giving a better response on the command line. To use nice just put the word nice in front of your command.

Where can I find out about the Beowulf clusters?

Local information about the Beowulf computing clusters is in the Beowulf section of the systems pages.

Where can I find out about Hadoop?

Local information about using Hadoop is on the Hadoop wikipages.

Where can I find out about the University clusters, such as Eddie?

Edinburgh Compute and Data Facilities homepage


Data Sets - What do we have?

Corpora and other Language and Speech Data

You can find details of the Corpora and other Language and Speech data that we have on line at http://www.inf.ed.ac.uk/resources/corpora/


Disk Quotas

What is a disk quota?

A "disk quota" is a maximum limit on the amount of disk space which can be used. Many accounts have a disk quota on their home directory. (Yes, scholars, it should strictly be a "quotum" since "quota" is the plural, but let's just use the normal terminology.)

A disk quota consists of two limits:

  1. The hard limit. You can never exceed this limit. If your disk usage goes right up to this limit, you will not be able to create any more files until you reduce your use of disk space. This means not only that you won't be able to edit anything, but also that you won't even be able to login!
  2. The soft limit. This is a bit lower than the hard limit, and is a sort of "warning" limit. Your disk space can go over this limit, but only temporarily. If it stays over the soft limit for more than 7 days, the soft limit goes "hard", and you won't be able to create or edit any files (or login) until your usage has gone back under the soft limit.

How do I check my quota?

All homedirectories are now on AFS. Use the "fs lq -human" command.

How big is my disk quota?

From Sept 2009 all undergrad and MSc students will have 1G of disk space:

Course Soft limit (Kb) Hard limit (Kb)
first year undergrad 1G 1.1G
second year undergrad 1G 1.1G
third year undergrad 1G 1.1G
fourth year undergrad 1G 1.1G
MSc 1G 1.1G

How can I get my quota increased?

Staff and research postgrads: if you have a quota which needs increasing, contact us to say how much more space you need.

Fourth Year Undergrads and MSc students: we will only increase your disk quota if you need more space for your project. Please ask your project supervisor to contact us with information on how much more space you will need.

Please note that we do not increase quota to accommodate coursework. The disk quotas required for coursework are agreed with teaching staff before the start of the academic year.

Help, I am locked out of my account as I am over quota?

You can login to your account using a text only login. Type "Ctrl,Alt and F2" and this will bring you to the text login. You are now able to view and manipulate your files as normal.

When your are finished, logout and return to your window manager login by typing "Ctrl, Alt and F7".

I'm over my disk quota. What can I do about this without deleting important files?

Don't worry; there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the amount of disk space you use, without having to delete things you need.

First of all, right-click on your Desktop wastebasket and empty it. You may also have to purge the hidden Trash directory. Bring up a shell window, the command to get rid of the Trash is

rm -rf .Trash Please be VERY sure that you specify the actual name of the directory after the -rf as it is possible to delete too much!

Your mozilla, opera or chrome cache directories can grow large. To empty mozilla cache; start Firefox, from its Tools menu choose Clear Recent History; Time Range to Clear, choose All; Expand the options under Details, tick all the boxes and click the Clear Now button.

A useful command to see your disk usage is du, type man du for the options available. The most useful command to show how much disk space your hidden dotfiles are using is

du -sh .[a-z]* |sort -n

To see the same list of files sorted strictly in order of size, type

du -s .[a-z]* |sort -n

To see the size of each and every file in your home directory type

du -h | more and press return or space bar to scroll down, 'q' to quit.

You can ignore everything under ~/Yesterday as this does not count towards your quota - this directory is a backup where you can retrieve a file from the day before if you find you have accidentally deleted something.

Finally, go to your each of your practicals directories in turn, and tidy up a bit. Delete files whose names end in the ~ character. Those are extra backup copies made automatically when you edit a file. Delete files with names ending in .class - those can be re-made from the .java files later. Do file * on the files that remain. This tells you what each file does. You can probably delete files marked as "executable" files, because these can also be re-made later on if you want to, just by compiling the practical again. Finally, type gzip *. This compresses the files which are left so that they take up less space. When you next want to use the files you'll first need to uncompress them again using gunzip.

Remember you can keep an eye on how much of your quota you have used with the fs lq -human command.


Downloads & file transfers

How do I transfer files to/from my DICE account?

There are two main file transfer methods. Both of them use ssh software. (See How do I access my account from outside Informatics? for more on ssh.)
scp
is like cp, the Linux file-copying command, except that it works over ssh connections. As with cp you have to name the file's source and destination in the one command - it's not interactive. For example, to transfer a file called interesting.txt from your DICE account to your home machine, you might use a command such as
scp interesting.txt fred@myhome.xyzzy.net:/home/fred/stuff
sftp
is like ftp, the file transfer command, except that it works over ssh connections. It has an interactive mode which allows you to browse through directories at the destination. For example, user bertha might transfer files from a machine somewhere else on the internet to her DICE home directory with the command
sftp bertha@staff.ssh.inf.ed.ac.uk
Undergraduates and MSc students should use student.ssh.inf.ed.ac.uk instead.

Why can't I use ftp?

We don't run an ftp service to the DICE machines because it would make our machines vulnerable to attack; we'd rather you used a safer file transfer program such as scp or sftp (see the previous question).

What's a tarball? or How do I unpack or create a .tgz or .tar.gz file?

Most Unix software on the net is distributed in the form of a tarball. This just means that all the files have been packed into a tar file, which has been compressed with gzip to save space. The file name thus ends up having extension .tar.gz. Sometimes this is shortened to .tgz.

To unpack a tarball:
   tar zxvf filename

To list the files in a tarball:
   tar ztvf filename

To make a new tarball fred.tar.gz from a directory fred:
tar zcvf fred.tar.gz fred
or
tar cvf fred.tar fred ; gzip fred.tar

If all those cvfs and zxvfs make your head spin, refer to this table, which explains what they all mean:

ccreate an archive
f filenamethe name of the archive file
ttable of contents: tell me what's in an archive
vverbose: tell me what's going on
xextract from an archive
zput the archive through gzip


Email & Mailing lists

How do I access my email?

All mail is handled by the University's mail service. Any problems should be directed to IS.Helpline@ed.ac.uk

Mail Directories

There are two mail directories provided by Information Services. One is for staff and one is for students.

How can I find out which mailing lists exist within Informatics?

A list of all mailing lists is available at lists.inf.ed.ac.uk. It is possible to tell which lists are generated from the database and those which are created by support.

Mailing Lists are usually only set up at the request of staff and postgraduate students. However, undergraduates may request a mailing list to be set up if the request has the support of a member of academic staff.

To request a list, contact support via the web form ,

How can I subscribe to or unsubscribe from a list?

There are two kinds of mailing lists within the School of Informatics. If you no longer wish to receive messages from a particular list, or don't want mail delivered to you for a while from any list (e.g. you're going on vacation or maternity leave), login to:

http://lists.inf.ed.ac.uk/mailman/options/list-name

using your mailing list password. Set the mail delivery to "Disabled" for this single list, or you can also "Set Globally" to apply this setting to all lists you are subscribed to. Make sure you then click "Submit My Changes" at the bottom of the page.

How can find out my mailing list password?

Unless you reset it yourself, you will have a different password for each mailing list to which you are subscribed. To remind yourself of this password, visit the mail list page for the mailing list, E.G.:

http://lists.inf.ed.ac.uk/mailman/listinfo/list-name

At the bottom of this page, click on the link to "Visit Subscriber List". Clicking on your own name will take you to your own personal page for this list, on which there exists a "password reminder" button. If the Subscriber list is also password protected, then you need to contact the list maintainer.

Hardware

The machine is completely dead, what do I do?

There are a few things you should check before contacting support :
  1. Check it's plugged in (i.e. start by eliminating the obvious.)
  2. Check that the peripherals (keyboard, monitor) are connected.
  3. Check that the controls on the monitor are not set to v. dull (or other such settings that would make the monitor seem blank).
  4. Check that none of the cables coming from the machine are loose.
  5. Check that the ethernet cable (has telephone-like connectors) is connected securely to the socket in the room.
If this doesn't help and you are unsure of how to reboot on your own, contact support. Machines can go down for a variety of reasons: network error, power failure, internal failure; the first rule is not to panic. Chances are if your machine is not running there are several others that are not working as well. We will do our best to get you up and running as quickly as possible.

Should our machines sleep when idle? Or, Can I suspend my machine (or send it to sleep)?

Most DICE machines sleep automatically. Most of the machines in our student labs are configured to do this, and office desktops running SL6 or newer should also sleep. Click here to find out more about sleep on DICE machines.

My machine is dead, but the power light is flashing!

Your machine may well be sleeping. If it is, pressing a key on the keyboard should wake it up. You may have to wait a few seconds before the machine is back to normal. Click here to find out more about sleep on DICE machines.

Should I turn off my PC at night or just the monitor?

Please never switch off the machine. It upsets the file systems, making the machine completely unusable until a Support person comes along and fixes it. Also, machines need to be left on overnight because that's when all the automatic software maintenance happens.

Switching off the monitor doesn't break anything, but can confuse other users of the machine!

Just logout. The machine and the monitor will then fall asleep as soon as it is safe to do so. Some of our machines automatically sleep to save power - see the sleep page to find out more.


Home Directories

Which server is my home directory on? or where are my files kept?

The "homedir" command tells you where your files are kept. For instance:

[vallejo]joxley: homedir
joxley (Jennifer Oxley) : minotaur/vicepb : /afs/inf.ed.ac.uk/user/j/joxley : free 241.2G (used 47%)

Don't be mislead by the apparently large amount of free space. This is not your personal quota, it reports the current usage of that volume on disc shared by many users. To see which file server your shared group space is on, use the 'fs whereis' command. eg:

[vallejo]joxley: fs whereis /afs/inf.ed.ac.uk/group/teaching/sdp
File /afs/inf.ed.ac.uk/group/teaching/sdp is on host cameleopard.inf.ed.ac.uk

How much disk space can I use? or what's my disk quota?

See the disk quotas section.


Kerberos & tickets

What does "ticket expired" or "no credentials cache found" mean?

It means that your Kerberos ticket has run out. Your Kerberos ticket is what gives you permission to use a range of network services; it proves to them that you are who you say you are. You're automatically given a ticket when you login. A ticket is valid for a few hours and then it expires.

How can I get a new Kerberos ticket?

You get a ticket when you login. You can get a new one at any time by typing renc in a terminal window.

You can also get a new ticket by locking your screen with the xscreensaver program then unlocking it again. If you tend to leave yourself logged in for long periods of time, consider using the xscreensaver overnight. When you unlock the screen you'll be issued with a fresh ticket, valid for another eighteen hours. For more details on using xscreensaver look at its man page.

Note that xscreensaver is the default screensaver under Gnome. It is not the default under KDE and to make KDE use xscreensaver requires a bit more manual config but it isn't that difficult. You have to disable the normal screensaver using the control dialogs and then add a xscreensaver.sh file to .kde/AutoStart which looks like:
#!/bin/sh
/usr/bin/X11/xscreensaver -nosplash

You then have to logout and login again to enable. You can setup how xscreensaver works using the "xscreensaver-demo" command. You have to enable lock screen.

How long will my Kerberos ticket last?

A ticket lasts for eighteen hours before it expires. You can find out when your ticket will expire, or if it has already expired, by typing klist in a terminal window.

Why do we need Kerberos?

Authentication is the process of identifying yourself to the network and is fundamental to the security of computer systems. Without knowing who is requesting an operation it is hard to decide whether the operation should be allowed. Weak authentication systems are authentication by assertion and assume that services and machines cannot be compromised or spoofed and that network traffic cannot be monitored. Strong authentication systems that do not disclose secrets on the network and use encryption are becoming increasingly popular and important.

All Informatics sites used to use weak authentication, where passwords for login and applications (such as mail tools) travelled in clear text from client to server across the network. This kind of weak authentication is very common and has been used for many years in most UNIX installations. It is however completely unsuitable for authentication of users in un-trusted environments, which the increasing use of portable and self-managed machines is creating here.

Our requirement to combine the old user spaces from the pre-existing administrative domains into one single user space for the whole of Informatics means that new account management procedures have had to be developed, with a review of the security model. The sharing of services by sites across networks not managed directly by us, and support for more intermittently connected and self-managed machines, means there is even more reason to move away from machine and network trust; and we can no longer realistically condone the continued use of weak authentication. Hence an alternative technology and infrastructure must be sought.

Kerberos is a mature network authentication protocol. It is designed to provide strong authentication for client/server applications over an insecure network by using secret key cryptography. Kerberos was initially developed at MIT and is now an open standard controlled by the IETF. A free open source implementation is available from MIT and there are many commercial implementations. Microsoft has chosen Kerberos as their preferred authentication technology in Windows 2000 and .Net/Passport.

Kerberos has:

There is no real alternative to Kerberos for strong authentication, except through the use of a public key infrastructure (PKI). However PKI is relatively new technology and there is little that is mature enough to be trusted let alone deployed and distributed as a supported production system. Work is being done to add public key support to the Kerberos standard. One-time passwords are too inconvenient for the user to be a realistic internal alternative. The availability of a central Kerberos service that could also authenticate Win2k clients would be very desirable.

(This answer was adapted from one originally supplied by the Authorisation/Authentication team - thanks to Tim Colles, Simon Wilkinson and Roger Burroughes.)

How do I use kerberos with ssh to connect to DICE machines without entering a password?

You will find a guide to setting up kerberos on a number of platforms here.


Laptops & Wireless

Where can I connect my laptop?

If you're a member of staff or a research postgrad student, you are able to connect your laptop to a network port in your office. Please contact Support stating the room and network port number if you are unable to obtain an IP address as the port may not already be set to DHCP.

Please never just unplug a computer from the network and plug in your laptop in its place.

How and where can I use the wireless network?

Informatics uses the University's wireless network. See the wireless network pages for more information about the network.

Before you can use this service you must be registered with EASE. This is done by filling in the form EASE registration form.

An initial password is required to register with EASE. If staff or visitors do not know this password, they should go to the nearest Support Office who can supply it. Students should go to the IS Helpdesk in the Main Library at George Square. It is NOT your dice password.

Then follow the instructions for wireless registration.

Eduroam

The secure wireless network, eduroam (EDUcation ROAMing) can be used by visitors to the University of Edinburgh to gain access to the Internet using the same username and password as they use at their home institution.

Likewise, UoE people can login to this network when visiting other member institutions.

Guest Wireless Accounts

Any member of staff can generate a guest wireless account for their short-term visitor.

For larger numbers of visitor wireless accounts, e.g. for conferences/workshops the organiser should contact Information Services via ltsts@ed.ac.uk.

What do I do if I experience difficulties using the Central Wireless Service?

The wireless service is run by IS and problems should be reported to them by mailing IS.Helpdesk@ed.ac.uk.    

Printing From Wireless

If you are trying to print something on an Informatics printer while connected via wireless, you must ssh to a local machine and print from there. You cannot print directly from the laptop.

Information Services Laptop Clinics

These can be booked via MyEd, or from the Information Services Laptop Clinics webpage.


Logging In

This section aims to address the most common problems encountered when trying to login to the various machines.

How do I get a login?

If you're a student, please make sure that the Informatics Student Services know about you. Staff and visitor login details are usually to be collected from your local admin office.

Where can I login?

In person: all Informatics users should be able to login to (DICE) machines in these places:

Remote Access: see How do I access my account from outside Informatics?

When are the Informatics labs open?

The Informatics Computer Labs are located in Appleton Tower and are open all the time by swipe card access.

How do I change my password?

On a linux machine use the passwd command.
Please note the following item on choosing a secure password.

How do I choose a secure password?

Passwords can be insecure for a variety of reasons, including : A good password will contain : A good method of creating a password which is both difficult to crack and easy to remember is to start with a sentence and convert it.

e.g. is Peter's snake bigger than Linda's garden hose?

i - is
P - Peter's
5 - snake
> - bigger than
L - Linda's
g - garden
h - hose
? - ?

to give the password : iP5>Lgh?

DO NOT TELL YOUR PASSWORD TO ANYONE

Passwords must adhere to this password policy.

I have forgotten my password, what do I do?

Try not to do this.

If you forget your DICE password please visit Computing Support in IF-2.07 or AT-4.11 with your matric card or other form of picture identification, or ask the ISS to request us to send a new password to them. We will give you a new password, which must be changed immediately (to something very memorable for you which at the same time is very secure. See How do I choose a secure password? above.)

Support can sometimes help with a few other University passwords too: if you are a member of staff or a research postgraduate student, support can change your password for

Undergraduates needing these reset should go to the IS Helpdesk in the Main Library at George Square.

I can't login! What has happened?

There are a few reasons why this may happen (and how you can tell which is which):

In some of these cases you will probably need to have member of the support team to assist you to get back into your account. For this follow the procedure noted in Forgotten Passwords above.

I can't find a machine to log into

At busy times the computer labs do get crowded.

The machines in the Informatics computer labs are available on a "first come first served" basis. However, this means that a machine is only yours while you are working at it. Please do not go off to a lecture, lunch, etc., leaving the screen locked.

If there are no spare machines, and you find a machine that has been locked for 15 minutes or more, it is legitimate practice to end the login, so that you can use the machine yourself. In order to find out how long it has been locked, press the 'ctrl', 'alt' and 'f2' together. This will provide you with a text login prompt. Log in as normal and type:

who

to see who is using the machine. Then type the command

ps aux | grep lock

or

ps aux | grep *.kss (for kde screen savers).

This will then show you how long the lock has been running.
Now log out by typing 'exit' or pressing 'ctrl' 'd', then press 'ctrl','alt' and 'f7' together to get back to the locked screen.
If the user has been logged in for 15 minutes or more, you can press the 'ctrl', 'alt' and'Backspace' keys together to end the locked login session.

Firefox claims it can't start because it's already running.

You may have a stray lock file.

Look in your home directory for a directory called .mozilla/firefox
You will see a recent directory with a name that is a random collection of letters and numbers - for example: mo482qpv.default
Look in this directory for a .parentlock file.
Note: you will have to use ls -a to see this hidden file.
Delete it and try running firefox again.

How do I set my default login session?

The default desktop session is GNOME. Others are available however these are unsupported. You can choose your session from the menu on the login screen however this will not be retained for future sessions, so you must manually set your default.

Use the switchdesk command to set your chosen desktop as default. For example:

switchdesk gnome


News

Where is the news host?

The news service is provided from the IS host newsread.ed.ac.uk.

September 2010 This no longer is in service.


Practical Submission

How Do I use the Electronic Practical Submission system for marking?

There is some documentation for academic staff, tutors and demonstrators (anyone doing marking) on using the School's electronic practical submissions system.


Printing

NEW Sept 2011 Printing Charges.

Due to the high cost of printing, from September 2011 there will be a system of charging introduced to the labs in Appleton Tower. Each student will be credited with a certain amount of money and after that is used up, will have to add more credit themselves.

The charging system is that run by the University. Full documentation is available describing the charges and how to top up your account once your quota is used up.

Print Credit for 2012/2013

Course Semester 1 Semester 2
first year undergrad £2.50 £2.50
second year undergrad £2.50 £2.50
third year undergrad £2.50 £2.50
fourth year undergrad £3.75 £12.50
fifth year undergrad £3.75 £10
MSc £5 £5

How do I set up Informatics printers on a Macintosh?

Information on setting up Informatics printers under MacOS X

How do I set up Informatics printers on a Windows PC?

Information on setting up Informatics printers under Windows XP

Printing from a DICE machine

From a dice machine web-browser you can access the CUPS Online Help pages

What do I do when the printer is jammed or out of toner?

Contact Support if:
  1. there is a jam.
  2. the toner seems low/out (please note that toner for the Canon Multifunction Devices is stocked and replaced by your local admin team. Computing Support looks after the HP LaserJet printer supplies).
  3. something more serious seems to be wrong (confirming first that the on-line button is lit, the printer is turned on, plugged in, etc).

Computing Support is not responsible for stocking paper.

How do I find out a printers status information/model/location?

lpstat -p will show you all the available printers.

printer at1 is idle.  enabled since Fri 09 Jan 2009 03:15:31 GMT
printer at10c is idle. enabled since Mon 12 Jan 2009 10:45:09 GMT
printer at11 is idle. enabled since Mon 12 Jan 2009 10:45:10 GMT
printer at13c now printing at13c-0. enabled since Mon 12 Jan 2009 10:45:10 GMT
printer at14 is idle. enabled since Mon 12 Jan 2009 10:45:11 GMT
printer at17 now printing at17-0. enabled since Mon 12 Jan 2009 10:45:11 GMT

lpstat -l -p printername shows various information, including location and the model of a specific printer.

Alternatively you can go to http://localhost:631/printer .

How do I set my default printer?

By using the printers program (details above), you can set your default printer by using the following command:-
echo "export PRINTER=printername" >> ~/.benv
Please note that this will only be effective the next time you log in. To make it work immediately type export PRINTER=printername in each open shell.

Why is my default printer not being selected in Firefox/Mozilla?

Firefox/Mozilla uses your PRINTER environment variable to set the default printer (see How do I set my default printer? for instructions on setting this). For it to correctly select your default printer, the PRINTER variable should be set to the primary name of the print queue (not an alias). The 'printers' command on any DICE machine will tell you the primary queue names for all DICE printers.

I sent something to the printers, and it didn't appear. What went wrong?

WHAT NOT TO DO
Don't just resubmit the job blindly. It won't solve the problem.
THINGS TO CHECK
  1. Did lpr give you any error messages?

  2. Check the printer queue with the lpq command.

    If: the job is still in the queue, and lpq's response includes the message ``(spooling disabled)''.
    This means that the systems staff have stopped the queue for some reason. Wait a few minutes, give another lpq command, and if the queue still isn't moving, cancel your job with lprm <JobID> (don't forget this step, you need to specify the job ID number), and resubmit your file to a different printer.
    If: the job is still in the queue, and lpq doesn't say anything about ``spooling disabled''.
    Examine the Status line of lpq's output. This is usually a status message indicating what's happening. Look here for a reason why nothing is being printed. It may well be something you can remedy yourself (e.g. ``out of paper'' or ``output bin full''). We've already described what to do if there's a more serious problem, or if the printer appears to be stuck for no reason. Don't forget to say which printer is affected.
    If: the job is no longer in the queue.
    Look at the printer log (lpq -L) - this will give a lot of verbose printing information, but will almost certainly provide useful data regarding any failed print job. Work backwards (the most recent jobs are at the end) until you find your job. If you have trouble finding it, try doing a search for your username (job names take the form username@host+X, where X is an integer). Then look for messages which might indicate why your job failed. e.g. in particular look out for any JFAIL messages in the log information for your print job, similarly look out for messages such as '%%[ Error: undefined; OffendingCommand: CBarX1 ]%%^M' If you see an error like this, it suggests that the printer had a problem processing the postscript, see here for advice on what to do next. (You may also use lpq -P<printer> -lll to get information about the print jobs - this is considerably less verbose than lpq -L. The more l's you use there, the more information given.)
  3. If it appears that your job has vanished without trace, consider whether you might have sent it to the wrong printer. Check back using the shell's history command, and examine your $PRINTER environment variable.

  4. If still mystified, get in touch with Support giving as much information as you can.

I am trying to print out a postscript file and instead I get a page with errors printed on the top, or I 've looked through the log output (lpq -L) and found a postscript error message. What's going on?

All centralised printers in Informatics are postscript printers, meaning that all print jobs are converted to postscript before being printed. If this postscript is failing to print, then you will need to find out how the postscript is being created in order that you can intervene.

Non-postscript jobs are dealt with by the informatics print filtering system, meaning essentially that the file type of the job is detected and a converter is then used to convert the job into postscript prior to it being printed (e.g. PDF documents are converted to postscript using the acroread -toPostscript command). The print logs will give details of the command used to produce the postscript.

Printing from Macs or PCs on the other hand will most likely result in the postscript being generated before it is submitted to an Informatics print server (i.e. by the Mac or PC). This is a very common source of nasty postscript.

If you see from the logs (using lpq -llll or lpq -L) that a job of yours is failing to print due to postscript errors then you will need to intervene at some stage in the postscript production process - printing to a file is often a good way to get hold of a postscript version of your print job. Probably the most useful tool to correct postscript is ps2ps (see below).

Useful commands to generate and fix postscript:

So, to reiterate, the majority of printing errors are caused by postscript problems and ps2ps is a wonderful utility for fixing these problems.

Alternatively, you might find a postscript file which can't be fixed by the methods above, for which the last resort may be to roll up your sleeves and edit the postscript yourself. This isn't recommended for the faint-hearted, but read on for more info...

The trick with these files is to make sure that you remove all of the stuff that tries to set printer-specific things - if you don't you'll still get errors.

In postscript files that follow the DSC (Adobe's Document Structuring Convention) - typically ones with %% comments in them, generally) printer specific features will be enclosed in something like

%%BeginPaperSize
<rubbish here>
%%EndPaperSize

If you remove everything between these two comments then the file will print. If you get PS files that won't print, the section of the file that's probably causing the problems is the Setup section (%%BeginSetup -> %%EndSetup) - removing features from this bit will probably fix it.

How do I print a huge file without annoying everyone else?

If you have to print a file with hundreds of pages, to a busy printer, try to split the file up into bite-sized chunks, then print each chunk at a low priority. That way, other peoples' smaller documents can still be printed as your gargantuan book slowly takes physical form.

Print at a lower than normal priority like this: lpr -CC

Split a file into chunks like this:

Printing doesn't work and lpr gives funny-looking output, or lpq says "ticket expired" or "No credentials cache found"

Sometimes when you print a document, it fails to appear at the printer and at the same time lpr gives the following kind of output..
[vammala]toby: lpr ~/tmp/testpage.ps 
Status Information, attempt 1 of 3:
sending job 'toby@vammala+270' to bp3@printbp.inf.ed.ac.uk
connecting to 'printbp.inf.ed.ac.uk', attempt 1
connected to 'printbp.inf.ed.ac.uk'
Send_auth_transfer: on client krb5_cc_get_principal failed - No credentials cache found
job 'toby@vammala+270' transfer to bp3@printbp.inf.ed.ac.uk failed
on client krb5_cc_get_principal failed - No credentials cache found
Waiting 10 seconds before retry

... or when you then look at the printer queue with lpq there's a message about "No credentials cache found". The output looks something like this:

[locke]toby: lpq
Printer 'bp3@printbp.inf.ed.ac.uk' -
on client krb5_cc_get_principal failed - No credentials cache found
[locke]toby:
The problem here is that your Kerberos ticket has expired. The Kerberos section tells you how to fix this.

Should I use lpq -t or watch to monitor print queues?

Only if you do it sensibly. The -t flag to lpq and the watch command both enable you to monitor the status of a print queue, without issuing additional commands. If you need to use these, please use them with sensible time intervals (we would recommend 60 seconds). Consider that the default interval for watch is 2 seconds, so this results in a separate lpq request being sent every two seconds - this must be processed and replied to by the print server. This affects the load on the print server considerably, so please use these tools responsibly.

How do I add a header to a printout?

enscript -b "my header text goes here" document

Will print document with a header of your choice (enclosed by quotes if a string containing spaces).

How do I print to A3 size?

The easiest way to print an A3 size document is to use the multifunction devices (MFDs). There is one on each floor in the Forum building, except ground floor. The command you would use would be something like

lpr.cups -o media=a3 -Pprintername document

Where can I print a poster?

Basic instructions are available here.

Where can I scan a document?

There is a Xerox multifunction device (MFD) on each floor in the Forum building, except ground floor. Screenshot instructions for scanning are available.

Remote Access

How do I access my account from outside Informatics?

Use ssh to login to either staff.ssh.inf.ed.ac.uk or student.ssh.inf.ed.ac.uk. You can get ssh from openssh.org. Windows users may like WinSCP or PuTTY.

Please note that these machines should only be used as gateways into Informatics; as soon as you're logged into the gateway you should then login to another machine right away:

For more information on the compute servers staff.compute and student.compute see Where can I use long-running, resource-intensive software?.

How do I access restricted web pages from outside Informatics?

In order to access web pages restricted to ed.ac.uk or inf.ed.ac.uk, you will need to use the University's proxy cache or virtual private network (VPN) services - see the Web FAQ section on this topic.

How do I run X applications remotely?

From home, it may be possible to run applications - it depends on your setup. if you're running Unix then connect to your server as above using ssh -X and run the application.

If you are using Windows then you will have to have an X-server such as Cygwin/XFree or Exceed running.

I have a machine running X on KeyCom residential network. Why can't I run applications on DICE machines and have them display on it?

The residential network has been configured to allow no inbound connections, a policy which is decided centrally and which we do not control. As a result, the X clients running on DICE machines are not able to connect to the X server running on your KeyCom machine.


Restoring Lost Information

Argh! I've deleted files I need! What do I do?

You should find yesterday night's backup copy of your files online (on DICE machines) in a directory called either /home/user/Yesterday if you have an AFS home directory or /yesterday/home/user otherwise. For example: if your home directory is in /home/fred, yesterday night's backup copy of your files will be in /home/fred/Yesterday if you have an AFS home directory or /yesterday/home/fred otherwise. Just copy the files you need back into your home directory.

If you want files back from before last night's backup, we may be able to restore them from a tape backup for you. In this case, contact support and tell us, as accurately as you can:

We will then search the backup tapes for your files. This often takes a long time so please be patient - you may not get your files back on the day you ask for them.

Please try to backup important data and other items yourself in the first instance so you do not need to rely on us. We cannot always guarantee full restoration of what you have lost.


Software and Documentation

Where can I get SICStus Prolog?

SICStus Prolog is free to students of Informatics. If that's you, contact Support to get a copy. You'll be asked to sign a form declaring that the software is for your own personal use and that you won't give other people the software or the instructions on how to obtain it.

Where can I get Webots?

Webots is a Robotics simulator used in the School. A free trial / demo is freely downloadable from the Cyberbotics website, instructions are here

This software I'm using isn't doing what it's supposed to. What's wrong? (It was just working yesterday/last week/a minute ago!)

The first simple thing to look for is usually a lock file. Some programs, for example firefox, have them to prevent you from running more than one session of the program at a time. If you have one of these programs executed in your startup and it doesn't come back up after having exited a previous session (possibly by a crash), the lock file may still be lurking and will prevent the program from coming up again. For firefox, lock files are in the .mozilla/firefox/your_profile directory; for other programs you will find them in a similar area.

However, your software problem may turn out to be more complex than this. There's a wide range of Linux software. If you are having trouble and you cannot solve your problem with the on-line help and documentation that is available, contact support.

Is there a package which can be used to plot graphs, i.e. from a set of x and y values?

Try gnuplot.

Where can I find manuals and other documentation for software, operating systems, etc?

The main places to look are the man pages and the Info pages.

Type man man on the command line to find out more about man. Search for relevant man pages using whatis and apropos.

Info can be accessed with the command info, or from inside XEmacs click the Info button or type M-x info. Once there, read the beginner's tutorial to learn how to use the system (it's not hard).

How do I know what software is available on the Linux machines?

The command rpm -qa gives a complete list of all the software packages installed on the system, and rpm -qi package will tell you more about a particular software package.

I'm trying to run talk with a friend but it's not working. Why not?

We don't run talk. It's network unfriendly and not particularly secure.

How do I change the XEmacs font or font size?

You do this in several steps.

  1. Put this in your .emacs and restart xemacs:

    (setq options-save-faces 't)

  2. Play with the ``Font'', ``Size'' and ``Weight'' menus in the ``Options'' menu, until you find something you like.

  3. Choose ``Save Options'' from the ``Options'' menu.

XEmacs's normal behaviour is to NOT save font changes when you do a ``Save Options''. Step 1 above turns this behaviour off.

We found the answer for this in the world wide web version of the XEmacs FAQ at http://www.xemacs.org - it's well worth looking there for answers to XEmacs questions.

How can I type in letters with accents?

(Some examples of ``letters with accents'': ö ñ è á)

XEmacs does this with iso-accents-mode. Type `M-x iso-accents-mode' and then type in the key for the accent followed by the letter. This will produce the accented letter. For example, type a double-quotes character " followed by u to get ü.

How do I convert documents to PDF?

To produce PDF from LaTeX source files use pdflatex. To produce PDF from DVI files use dvips -Ppdf followed by ps2pdf. Use ps2pdf to convert Postscript to PDF (but do check afterwards that it doesn't look blurred and horrible). See also Submission of PDF Papers.

How do I view a PDF document?

Use acroread or xpdf or gv. Broken PDF (see next question) sometimes displays well in one of these programs but not the others, so if you have difficulty then try all three.

How do I print a horrible broken PDF document?

If you have a PDF document which looks blurred and horrible when you view it on the screen (see How do I view a PDF document) it often won't print properly either. You may (or may not) be able to fix such a document called broken.pdf by doing this: The first command converts from PDF to Postscript, and the second command fixes broken Postscript. Note that the final fixed.ps may be very large, so if you have a disk quota you might want to do all this in /tmp.

The fonts in XEmacs (or some other X program) have gone all funny!

This may be the fault of KDE. Change your KDE preferences - find and uncheck the "Apply fonts and colours to non-KDE apps" box. Then reload KDE or logout and login again. This is also covered in the local and remote copies of the KDE FAQ.

How do I view a ".ps" (PostScript) document?

Use gv. Read the manual with man gv.

How do I view a ".ps.gz" (gzipped PostScript) document?

Use gv. It automatically handles .ps.gz documents - there's no need for you to "gunzip" the file beforehand. Read the manual with man gv.

How do I encrypt a file? There's no "des" command

openssl des can be used to encrypt (-e) or decrypt (-d) files. Note that it isn't completely compatible with the "des" command on the old dcs.ed.ac.uk Linux machines: if you have files encrypted with "des" then decrypt them in the same environment before encrypting them again on a dice machine. Alternatively you can use gpg if you have a gpg key set up.

The emacs spell-checker is set to British but I want to use a different language. How?

The normal way of getting emacs to use a different language doesn't work any more, because the spelling checker it uses, ispell, nowadays just calls a different program called aspell, which seems to ignore some of the ispell settings. To get emacs to use a different language's dictionary, for example American English, type this command in a shell window:

export ASPELL_CONF='master american'

... then start emacs& from that shell. You can find out what language dictionaries are available by looking in the aspell dictionary directory, like this:

ls /usr/lib/aspell-0.60/

What can I do when running a Matlab program hangs the X server session?

This is usually a problem with the accelerated graphics driver hardware and can be intermittent or repeatable. To fix try executing the following command in the matlab shell before running your code:

opengl software

This switches to the software driver instead. Note that it will make rendering of complex graphics slower.

MYSQL on a DICE machine

Notes on MYSQL

Can I run Skype?

The Skype licence prohibits us from installing this software on your machine for you, or distributing it DICE system-wide, it only authorises an individual download and install. You can download Skype for Linux and extract it to either your home directory or /disk/scratch/ on your machine if you are staff or postgrad, then install it yourself.

Can I have a newer version of <some software package> installed?

Upgrading software to the latest version across DICE can often be problematic, since it requires us to check that upgrading a package (and all of its dependencies) will not alter any current teaching and research requirements, or require large changes to core packages which could cause compatibility or stability problems. For this reason it is not always possible, even if the version on DICE is much older than the latest release.

However, in some cases where it is possible to update a popular package but not roll it out, we can make a package available for selected machines on request. Where this has already been done the Research and Teaching Unit maintain a list of packages along with their expected date of inclusion: please see Optional Research and Teaching packages for more details.


How do I get my name added to the EDDIR?

EDDIR is the common name for Edinburgh University's Mail Directory, which you can search on the web. This is the database of email addresses for which each user at the University is able to register her or his name. The result of registration is a mail alias usually of the type X.X.Name@ed where X is an initial. The benefit of the system is that it provides all at the University with a generic form of address even though there are many different hosts. Support is not able to make entries to the eddir. Each user is responsible for making his or her own registration. See the EUCS web page at: http://www.ucs.ed.ac.uk/fmd/unix/docs/mail/eddir.html for more information about the service and now to register.

I sometimes get unsolicited mail that I am not interested in. What can I do about this?

This is commonly called ``spam'' and usually consists of get rich quick schemes, weight-loss miracles, chain letters or URLs to access X-rated material. The easiest thing to do is to simply delete these messages. Do not reply to them in the hope that they will take you off your list. This will only make things worse.

It is possible to filter out email which is suspected to be spam. But not all spam can be filtered out and some genuine messages may be incorrectly identified as spam.

I'm going on holiday. How can my mail be answered automatically?

Login to Staffmail or SMS, then click Filters, Vacation, where you will be able to edit and enable a "vacation message".

How do I find an email address?

All SMS student accounts can be searched for from within the university.

See the general search page to find a student by name. See also the answer to the next question below.

Staff can also browse for Informatics students by class and module using the ITO database pages.

How do I setup LDAP Address Books in Mailers

There are multiple LDAP address books containing the names and details of Informatics Staff and Students and University of Edinburgh Staff and Students. If you configure your mailer to use these address books you can look up peoples email address by their real name when you are composing a message for example. Please see The Informatics Mail Service for complete details on how to configure various mailers to access these directories, and much additional information.

VM suddenly doesn't show me my new mail?

Maybe your ~/INBOX file is corrupt? It happens occasionally. You need to edit it and make sure that every message starts and ends with a row of four control-A characters on its own. (You can type a control-A character in xemacs by typing control-q then typing control-a.) Look down at the end of your INBOX file - the trouble may well be there.

VM says "Folder is read-only" and beeps at me!

You have probably made your folder "read only" by pressing control-x control-q. This is easy to do by accident! You can tell when this has happened because the xemacs mode line will say "read-only" somewhere. To fix, just press control-x control-q again, to return your mail folder to normal.

Thunderbird fails to start

When you get a message that says "Thunderbird is already running, but is not responding. To open a new window, you must first close the existing Thunderbird process, or restart your system". You need to delete a lock file. You will find this inside your default directory under ~/.thunderbird. Delete the lock file with rm .parentlock, then restart Thunderbird.

Statistical Packages

R, SPSS and Pipestat.

The use of S-Plus has been discontinued under Dice. In consultation with Steve Renals (head of computing), it was decided that using R (an equivalent free stats package) is more straightforward and cost effective. In contrast to S-Plus, R doesn't come with a graphical user interface, but we are currently investigating alternative GUI solutions (such as R Commander).

David Reitter has put together a set of introductory materials on R.

SPSS is available on the Windows PCs and Mac's in the Open-Access labs (e.g. George Square Main Library)

Finally, for simple statistical analysis, PipeStat is also available under Dice. For details please see: http://www.acm.org/~perlman/stat/


Student Mail Info

(See the student mail page first.)

How do I access my email?

Go to www.sms.ed.ac.uk or use pine - see below for configuration advice.

What password do I use? What do I do if I don't know what it is?

In order to read your SMS mail you will need an SMS password. This is not the same as your login password. Please do not make them the same. If you have lost, forgotten or never known your SMS password, any of the supervisors in the EUCS Public Labs will be able to help you. Informatics Support Staff do not know, and are not able to reset, SMS passwords.

Who runs SMS? Who do I contact if I have a problem?

SMS is run by the University's Computing Service.
Informatics Support Staff are not able to solve student mail problems. Please either ask the supervisors in the public labs or mail for help to Science.Support@ed.ac.uk. There is a general help for undergrads web page and also a more specialist email web page which may also be useful.

What mailer should I use?

The recommended mailer to use is pine. This is the only UNIX mailer which EUCS supports.

The document: Configuring Pine to Use the University Email System explains how to configure pine to work with the SMS service. An extensive pine manual is available.

Can I continue to use my favourite mailer?

If you really want to, you can by following these instructions.

Can I read my mail via the web?

Yes - point your web browser at sms.ed.ac.uk.

How do I find out my friend's email address?

All SMS accounts can be searched for from within the university.

See the general search page to find a student by name.

See also the answer to the next question below.

Staff can browse for students by class and module using the ITO database pages

How do I setup LDAP Address Books in Mailers

There are multiple LDAP address books containing the names and details of Informatics Staff and Students and University of Edinburgh Staff and Students. If you configure your mailer to use these address books you can look up peoples email address by their real name when you are composing a message for example. Please see Using LDAP - A Guide for Users for complete details on how to configure various mailers to access these directories.


Support for Groups

What facilities are available for groups of users?

We are able to offer a number of facilities such as shared file space, group web space, CVS repositories and email lists to certain groups of users who wish to share resources.

Such facilities include:

Please contact support for more information.


TeX and LaTeX

How do I find out about LaTeX?

The top level document describing our LaTeX installation is here.

What's the situation with Perpetua fonts?

The perpetua font is a licenced font but the University does not have a site licence for it. We do have copies of the University crest (the lettering of which is in perpetua font) and these are free for us to use for production of documents for printing and viewing but we are not licensed to use the perpetua font for anything other than the crest.

Collaborative LaTeX Document Repository - Coltex

Coltex is a system allowing multiple people to share and edit a common LaTeX document. It has a backend repository to control and manage the document files and an automated build mechanism to keep a PDF snapshot version of the document up to date.


The Web

Firefox is totally broken - help?!

Mozilla Firefox browser often mangles its configuration files. This can make it very confused indeed. If firefox seems to you to be broken in some way (and it can be very broken) then your firefox configuration files are probably in a complete mess.

Fortunately, this is easy to fix. Just quit firefox, then move the old configuration files aside, and start firefox again. It automatically makes a new, clean set of configuration files.

mv ~/.mozilla ~/.old-mozilla
firefox &

If this has sorted the problem, then you will probably next want to rescue your collection of bookmarks. To do this, from the firefox toolbar, select Bookmarks - Organise Bookmarks - Import and Backup - Restore - Choose File -then browse to your old mozilla/firefox directory. You'll see your profile something.default which is a random set of numbers and letters. In the profile directory you will see the file to import called bookmarks.html

I am trying to run a cgi script but I'm getting an Internal Server Error.

This irritatingly uninformative message can be produced in a wide variety of interesting ways. Among the more popular ones are these:

Some of this is recapped and expanded on the homepages docs.

If your script still produces this error, and you're sure that none of the above suggestions is relevant, then tell support the location of the CGI script and a description of how to run it. They'll then look up the web server's error log for you; this can give a more detailed error message which you can then look up in the Apache FAQ or manual.

How do I restrict my web pages to University readers only?

If you want to restrict access to University of Edinburgh machines only you would create a .htaccess file in the top directory of the tree you wanted to protect, and in it you would put

deny from all
allow from 129.215.0.0/16

See the general web FAQ for a bit more detail.

What proxy service should I be using?

You should use the University's proxy web cache. Here's how to configure your web browser to use it.

How do I run my own web server?

Some projects, and debugging of CGI scripts, require you to run your own web server. All the Linux client machines have Apache installed; it is just a matter of configuring it correctly to serve up the web pages you want.

Students should not be running their own web servers to provide a service external to the School. Any servers found doing so will be stopped and their owner contacted.

The Apache docs are installed in /usr/share/doc. Once you've digested them and created your own httpd.conf file, then all you need to do is point Apache at it with the command:

   /usr/sbin/httpd -f /path/to/my/httpd.conf
Remember that the httpd will be running as one of your processes, so it will not be able to write to system areas such as /var/ to create lock and log files. You should specify alternative locations for these files with the various httpd.conf configuration directives. Also, any weaknesses that you introduce (due to a poorly configured server) may mean that anyone connecting to your server could gain access to your file area that you did not intend.

How do I publish on the Informatics web site?

Note: only staff can do this.

The Informatics web site is for official School of Informatics material. If you are a member of staff and you want to publish a page, read the introduction and the publishing instructions.

How do I publish my personal web pages?

All Informatics users are able to publish personal pages on the homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk web server. The Homepages publishing guide tells you how to do it.

Where should I publish my teaching web pages?

On the Informatics teaching web pages NOT your home pages. See this page for why, and the publishing guide for how.

What is Cosign?

Cosign is a single sign-on (SSO) web login technology developed at the University of Michigan. It uses a centralised sign-on mechanism to authenticate users (for Informatics users, this means authenticating with your Kerberos principal). It uses login and service cookies to manage the authorization for a cosign-protected web site. More information on how Cosign works can be found on the Cosign web site.

Many web sites in Informatics use Cosign authentication for protected or restricted-access pages.

How do I use Cosign/weblogin.inf.ed.ac.uk?

When you visit a web-site that's Cosign protected, you will be redirected to https://weblogin.inf.ed.ac.uk so you can be authenticated. If you're using Firefox on a DICE machine, authentication will happen automatically (using your existing Kerberos credentials) and you will then be returned to the Cosign-protected site. For other web browsers and operating systems, you will be prompted for a username and password to authenticate you (and then returned to the originating Cosign-protected site on successful authentication).

Cosign should work from all web browsers, providing javascript is enabled. Please let us know if it doesn't work for you.

What browser advice is there for Euclid users?

Browser (and other) advice is available from the University's Euclid FAQ here.


Windows

How do I look at and/or print Microsoft Office documents?

We recommend for casual/occasional viewing/printing of Microsoft Office documents (such as Word, Excel or Powerpoint email attachments) using OpenOffice.

How do I edit/share Microsoft Office documents?

We recommend that for creating and sharing Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel or Powerpoint) if at all possible OpenOffice is used instead as the native format.

How do I run Microsoft Windows applications?

There are a few WindowsXP machines in the hotdesk areas of the Forum. Undergraduates can use the machines in the cafe area in Appleton Tower. If you regularly need to use Microsoft Windows then you may wish to install a virtual machine on your DICE desktop.

See VirtualBox for further information.

Where can I find anti-virus software?

Information Services Anti-Virus software

AFS on Windows XP.

How can I get Windows software?

As a member of The School of Informatics you may be eligible for free Microsoft products, such as Windows7 via the

DreamSpark Program

To register, so you can login and download software, send your full name (and matric number if you are a student) to dreamspark@inf.ed.ac.uk

For software not covered under this agreement, an appropriate licence must be purchased. Please fill in the computing support form providing details of the research grant/ budget that this should be charged to.


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