Physics & Astronomy
P&A Computer System
|obtaining an account
There are now several PCs in the Computer Lab running MS-Windows 2000,
one of which supports access to a scanner and a CD burner.
Most of the instructions here also apply to a user running MS-Windows
on one of the Linux stations using Win4Lin,
as described above,
or to someone on one of the other MS-Windows systems around the Department.
You should have a password and a PIN for the door to TH 123,
issued in the Physics and Astronomy Department office, TH 335.
Log onto one of the MS-Windows workstations -- the Domain should be PANDA.
If the logon screen is displayed, enter your name and a password. If
the logon screen is not displayed, click on START, SHUT DOWN, and "Close
all programs and log on as a different user".
Users should remember to leave the monitor powered on after logging out.
You can do a lot of computing with MS-based programs. MS-Word,
Netscape, and Excel are available from the START menu.
All programs should be able to print to the laser printer.
In addition, one of the MS-Windows PCs in TH 123 is equipped with both a
scanner and a CD-ROM burner. (Just look for the scanner.)
To obtain the full functionality of these systems,
users should mount their Unix user file space using Samba,
which makes these files accessible from any PC on the local Microsoft network,
and via SFTP from anywhere in the world.
It is then possible to run programs like the MS Office suite on the PC,
while processing files which are stored on the Unix system.
Users should open a remote login onto the Department Unix system as well,
(This is unnecessary when using Win4Lin.)
Your Unix login will allow you to run a variety of Unix applications not
otherwise available to MS-Windows users.
The X-windows server XWIN32 lets you display Unix application graphics
on the PC.
(With Win4Lin, just use the native Unix windows.)
The following instructions explain to a new
user how to configure their PC workstation for full functionality.
Access to Unix files
It is recommended that you use your Unix user area to store all of your files.
Unlike file space on the local PC, files in your user area are accessible from
anywhere, and they're backed up nightly.
To mount your Unix user file space so that it is accessible to MS-Windows
programs, proceed as follows:
- Open an explorer. (For instance, right-click on Start
in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, and select Explore.)
- From the command bar, select Tools, then Map Network Drive.
- The Drive can be any available letter.
The Path should be \\huxley\twoods .
(Exceptionally, you may have to use huxley.sfsu.edu,
or even 220.127.116.11 .)
The Connect As entry should be twoods,
and the Reconnect at Logon box should be checked.
(The preceeding assumes that you are Tiger Woods.
If you happen not to be, substitute your own login account name.)
- Now go back to the Explorer and look at the disks shown.
There should be one named twoods on 'huxley' (E) (names may vary).
Open it. You should see your Unix files.
- From now on, when you run a PC application (such as Word,
Excel, LviewPro, etc.), you can open or create files on the
Unix file system just as if they were on the local hard drive.
Now run the X-windows server.
(You'll need to do this in order to display the output from Unix graphic
Find an icon somewhere named XWIN32 and double-click on it.
If you can't find it, use the explorer and locate Xwin32.exe
(probably at C:\xwin32\), and double-click on it.
It should run minimized,
with a blue X icon on the task bar at the bottom of the screen.
Open Unix Windows
Next is to get some windows on your desktop which give you
access to the Unix computer system command-line.
Most of our programs for number crunching and for graphic display are
on the Unix machines.
SSH window on th123-12.
Find the program sshClient and run it;
its icon may be on the desktop or in the folder named TOOLS
found on the START menu, or you may have to use the explorer to find it.
(Look in the C:\Program Files\SSH Communications Security\SSH Secure Shell
directory for SshClient.exe.)
This application replaces both telnet and ftp, and is considered more "secure."
The first time that you run this application (and maybe every time,
under Win4lyn), you should go to Edit/Settings.../Profile Settings/Tunneling,
and make sure that "TunnelX11 connections" is checked.
If not, graphic applications won't work.
Then clock on File/Save Settings.
Next Connect to a unix machine - say, th123-12.sfsu.edu. Whe you are
logged in, you should see a Unix command-line prompt like this
(still assuming that you are Tiger Woods):
Try an "ls" - this should show you the files on your home directory.
If you are unfamiliar with the Unix/Linux environment, refer to the
The Unix command-line interface is very powerful, and if you're a good
typist it's a lot quicker than point-and-click, once you learn it.
The recommended way to read your email is using pine.
From a xterm (or ssh) window, enter
This Unix program is not as glitzy as Eudora or MS Access.
However, it has the advantage that your mail remains on the Unix
server, and you can always find it, from any workstation, from your
computer at home, etc.
To run graphic applications on the Unix machines,
you need to have your environmental display variable set correctly.
SshClient should take care of this for you when you connect.
However, if you ever need to do it yourself, here is how.
You can check to see if it is correct by entering
th123-12:twoods% setenv | grep DISPLAY
The value for the DISPLAY variable should print out.
If it doesn't, it isn't set.
If the name of your workstation is TH123-24 (for example),
you should set this variable as follows:
th123-12:twoods% setenv DISPLAY th123-24.sfsu.edu:0
NOTE: sometimes this variable will be set for you by SSH,
but don't count on it.
The other way to see if it is set right is to run the X
th123-12:twoods% xclock &
A small square clock face should appear on your screen. Then
graphic applications should display correctly.
If this doesn't do the trick, refer to
Remote Graphics Configuration.
You'll need this to work for the following graphic applications.
Opening Xterm windows.
Now open several X-windows, as follows:
th123-12:twoods% /usr/openwin/bin/xterm &
The ampersand at the end detaches the xterm job from your window.
Each time you do this, another xterm window should open. When you
have three, close the ssh (or telnet) window and use the xterm
windows from now on.
Matlab should run directly from this window now. Try it:
(If you get the error "command not found,"
your search path may be not set up correctly.
Ask the system manager about it.
And for the time being, give the full path: /usr/local/bin/matlab.)
Running IDL and Mathematica.
You will probably have to set your DISPLAY variable (see above).
Now you can run either IDL or Mathematica
Here is a short IDL example. (The full path for IDL is /u5/idl/bin/idl .)
IDL Version 5.5a (linux x86). (c) 2001, Research Systems, Inc.
Installation number: 303259-1.
Licensed for use by: California State University
This should give a plot of a straight line. To save the plot as a
jpeg graphics file:
This should leave a file named temp1.jpg on your working directory.
It can be displayed on a web page or imported into a WORD document.
To see what is on the file, you can print it out, and display it
on the screen:
th123-31:bland% ls *.jpg
th123-31:bland% lpr temp1.jpg
th123-31:bland% lpq -Php1 status
th123-31:bland% xv temp1.jpg
If you find another window blocking part of the graph, try turning
the backingstore on, in the xwin32 configuration routine.
For more about printing, see the link at the top of the page.
For a good pdf-based help facility, enter from any command line,
th123-11:bland% idlman &
The Adobe Acrobat Reader should open with all IDL manuals available.
should give you a plot of a straight line.
(NOTE: Mathematica may be loaded on the windows machine - have a look.
If so, it is faster to run it locally, and it will work better.)
Now try Mathematica (the full path is /usr/local/bin/mathematica):
This should give you a graph of a parabola.
If you have trouble with the fonts,
let the system manager know and switch machines.
If you click on the XWIN32 icon and run XUTIL,
then go to Fonts, Modify Font Path, the font reference
....\xwin32\lib\fonts\math30pc should be there.
If not, the display of equations is just gobble-de-gook.