Getting Started

Getting an Account

Before you can use the IMSS UNIX Cluster, you must get an account. Incoming students (undergrads, transfers and graduate students) will have accounts created for them automatically and will receive information about their usernames and passwords through post mail or at new student registration.

It is important that you change your password the first time you log in to your account with the command passwd. For more information see Password Security Tips.

 

Logging In

The UNIX Cluster can be accessed in the following way:

Remote login
Using ssh(Secure Shell) from a remote UNIX or personal computer. You may connect to ssh.caltech.edu.
 
The system will display messages which you should read carefully when you log in. These messages may include information about changes to the system, or warnings about impending downtime.

 

Changing Your Password and User Information

Be sure to change your password when you first log in to the IMSS UNIX Cluster. Keep in mind the guidelines about choosing good passwords, and follow the instructions from Password Security Tips.

You may make information available about yourself to other users by creating text files named .plan and .project and placing them in your home directory. You can get information about other users on the IMSS UNIX Cluster with the finger command. Use finger username to display the real name, the .plan and .project files belonging to username.

If we spelled your real name wrong when we created your account, please submit a request to have us correct it at http://help.caltech.edu(request type IMSS-->Accounts-->Other).

 

Getting Help

Help for the UNIX operating system and the programs that run on it is available in many forms. You should work through the UNIX Tutorial if you are a new user before moving on to other information sources.

 

On-line Help

"On-line" means that this form of assistance can be accessed from the computer itself. If you need help or information while logged onto the computer, these programs are quick and simple ways of getting it.

The IMSS UNIX Cluster has a very simple help command available. Just type help to list a few standard commands and to see information about getting more extensive help on the system.

 

The man Command

UNIX computers keep much of their written documentation on-line. This information can be accessed in several ways:

 

% man command-name

 

man causes a manual page for the specific command to be displayed. For example, you would type man lpr to display the manual page for the lpr command.

 

% man -k keyword

 

man -k is the command to use when you know what topic you want to investigate, but don't know the actual name of the command. If you wanted to find out how to print a file, you might type man -k print

 

Getting Help from People

When you aren't able to find the answer to a question by reading the documentation, you should submit a request at http://help.caltech.edu (request type IMSS).This reaches a group of IMSS consultants who should be able to help you. The IMSS Helpdesk can also be reached by phone at x3500.

Getting New System Configuration Files

When your account is created you are given several system configuration files including login and cshrc files.

IMSS may occasionally change the default files which are given to new users. If you want to get the latest copies of the default files or if your default files become corrupted, you can get new copies of them by running the ccoconfig program.