Carleton DeTar

Remote Logins and File Transfers

This document explains how to log in to the Physics Department Unix computers from a home PC that is connected to the internet and is running windows, Apple (Mac) OS X, or Unix (Linux). It also explains how to transfer files. The Unix method can also be used to log in to another Unix machine from a Physics Department Unix computer.

There are three methods for accessing lab machines on campus with varying levels of functionality.

  1. The ideal method gives you a screen that looks just like the screen in a lab terminal session. It uses Microsoft remote desktop software and uses the Cisco AnnyConnect VPN connection from off campus. If you want to do file transfers, you will still need at least the third method below for scp.
  2. The second method uses secure shell tools (ssh) plus X11 forwarding to open windows on your home computer. With X11 forwarding you can use the mouse to interact with a window and you can have the lab machine open windows on your home computer. This method can be very sluggish for applications that do a lot of graphics and your network connection requires lots of hops to get from the lab machine to your home.
  3. The third and simplest method uses a secure shell client without X11 forwarding to work with a dumb terminal window on your home computer or to transfer files. The mouse doesn't work, but you can still use emacs if you know the keyboard shorcut keys for navigating in a window.