Helpful hints for using a CS Unix account in one of Joanne's courses.

How do I get an account?
Ask Joanne for a course account form, fill it out, return to her. There are several machines, so you'll have to pick a number 1-24 in the answers below in order to access a specific machine.

Where can I find more information?
The CS Department support services website has alot of useful information, especially the WIKI. Please read everything there (and below) before asking questions.

How do I get to unix from my PC?
First of all, your PC must have an open internet connection. The best way is to use some type of remote login program such as ssh or putty to connect remotely to the machine using a full host name (pick a number 1-24 for #): You can get a program here (choose the PuTTY telnet & ssh client). You will then use your class account and password to login. Note that nothing will be displayed on the screen as you type a password on a unix system, not even little stars.

How do I get to unix from my Mac?
If you are running Mac OS X, then this is quite easy to do. First of all, open a terminal window on your Mac, which will allow you to access your Mac files through a unix window. Then, to get to unix type

ssh -l login
where that is a -(el) and your unix login (class account) is substituted for the word "login", and you pick a number 1-24 for #. You will then be prompted for your password. Note that nothing will be displayed on the screen as you type a password on a unix system, not even little stars.

How do I change my unix account password?
Once you have logged in, type 'passwd' and follow the prompts to create a new password. Remember that nothing will display on the screen as you type a password. You are required to change the default password that comes with any course account.

What if I have trouble accessing my unix account?
If your login or password don't seem to be working, email for help.

How do I learn to use Unix?
The CS Department services website has some basic information. There is an overview written by Joanne that will help get you started with the most common commands. Also, once you log onto a CS department unix machine, there is a tutorial program available to give you hands-on practice with the most common commands, and some information on advanced processing. After you log-on, type nixtutor to run it.

How do I create files on unix?
After logging in, you will need to use a unix-based text editor. The choices are pico, emacs, or vi. Pico is by far the easiest to use. Emacs is a little more difficult to figure out, but is targeted largely towards computer programmers and therefore has many nifty features for use in program development. Vi is perhaps the most powerful editor, but is not user friendly at all. When you save a program from these editors, it will be written onto the disk space allocated for your account, in the current file directory. This is a shared file server system, which means you can access these files from any of the machines.

How do I get out of unix?
Type "exit" at the command prompt to log out, then close any ssh/telnet window that may be open. It is extremely important to always log out before leaving a public machine!!

How do I submit files from my CS ugrad account to Blackboard?
If you are working on unix remotely (not in the CS lab) you need to copy your files from unix to your local machine (see below), and then upload to Blackboard using a browser as usual. If are working in the CS lab, then open a browser and upload directly. Make sure you leave plenty of time for uploading and submission so that your assignments are accepted by the deadline.

How do I copy files from a PC to unix (and vice versa)?
The best way is to use a program called SCP (secure copy). You can get a free Windows SCP client called WinSCP at This is very similar to the ssh file transfer program that we use in the JHU labs. In order to get winSCP to work with unix you must select preferred SSH protocol version 2. (See also instructions on mailing files from unix to wherever below.)

How do I copy files from a Mac to unix (and vice versa)?
Again, you will first need to open a terminal window for Mac OS X to get a unix shell for your Mac. Navigate to the directory where the file is stored. Then use a program called scp (secure copy):

scp filename
substituting the actual filename and your login, and also the place (directory or filename) where you want the file to go in your unix account for location. To go in the other direction, reverse the order of the filename and the unix part. For example, to transfer a file called from my cs226 directory on unix to the current directory in my Mac terminal window, I would type (in the Mac terminal window, not on unix):
scp .
(don't forget that . means current directory) and it will be named in my local directory.

Can I email files from unix?
Yes - this could be another way to transfer them to/from your local machine. A friendly mail program on unix is "pine" - just type that at the command line and then use the commands listed at the bottom to write and send a message.