UC Davis Computer Science at Home


This document will provide you with a way to communicate with the Computer Science Instructional Facility (CSIF) from home, and a variety of ways to create a UNIX environment at home.


Remote Access to the CSIF


You will need secure shell (ssh) and secure file transfer protocol (sftp) software to communicate with the CSIF.  PuTTY is a free ssh program, and WinSCP3 is a free sftp program with a GUI.  You can download putty from http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html, and WinSCP from http://winscp.net/eng/index.php. Once you have the programs you will create sessions using a CSIF computer name, e.g. pc13.cs.ucdavis.edu


Accessing the Computer Science Newsgroups


            To read and write to the newsgroups you need to configure a newsreader.  This document will demonstrate how to configure two popular newsreaders: Outlook Express and Thunderbird.

To configure Outlook Express, start it, and then go to Tools->Accounts. 

  1. Select the News tab, and click the Add->News.  Type in your name, e-mail address, and then news.cs.ucdavis.edu for the News server.  Do not check the box that says “This server requires me to log on”
  2. To read a newsgroup, just double click it on the list on the left. 
  3. From now on, you will simply start Outlook Express, and the program will remember which news items you have read.  If you want Outlook Express to startup with this list instead of as an e-mail reader, you should go to the Tools->Options->General tab, and uncheck “When starting, go directly to my Inbox folder.”


To configure Thunderbird, start it, and then follow these steps:

  1. Go to Tools->Account Settings, and select “Add Other Account” from the Account Actions drop down list.
  2. Select the “Newsgroup account”, then click Next or Continue.
  3. Enter your name and e-mail address, then click Next or Continue.
  4. Enter news.cs.ucdavis.edu for the newsgroups server, then click Next or Continue
  5. Enter CS News (or whatever you want) for the account name, then click Next or Continue, and finally click Finish or Done. Once you have closed the Account Settings window, CS News should appear in the Folders list.
  6. Click on “Manage newsgroup subscriptions”, and Thunderbird should then automatically download the list of newsgroups. 
  7. Expand the newsgroup(s) pertaining to your courses in the list, and place a check mark next to each, then click Subscribe, and then click OK.
  8. To read a newsgroup, just double click it on the list on the left.


Unix at Home


There are three ways of having a Unix experience at home:  1) Install a copy of Linux as a virtual machine on top of Windows; 2) installing cygwin in Windows; and 3) installing Linux on one of your hard drives, and dual booting it with Windows.  You will find http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/~matloff/Linux/LinuxInstall.pdf quite helpful for the latter two methods.


Installing Fedora 13 as a Virtual Machine


You can find instructions and a copy of a Fedora 13 virtual machine by going to: http://csiflabs.cs.ucdavis.edu, then click on "Documentation" under the "Help" portion of the "CSIF Menu", and then click on "CSIF Fedora Virtual Machine".  The direct link is: http://csifdocs.cs.ucdavis.edu/tiki-index.php?page=CSIF+Fedora+Virtual+Machine

Cygwin in Windows


Cygwin is a free application that emulates a Unix shell while still running the Windows operating system.  With cygwin, you can develop using gcc, gdb, g++ on your Windows computer without need of connecting to the CSIF.  You download the cygwin shell as well as Windows ports of Unix software from cygwin.com.  In a web browser, go to cygwin.com, and click “Install Cygwin now”.  Once you start setup.exe, I suggest you accept all of the default selections until you reach the “Select Packages” screen.  When selecting the options for cygwin you should at least install X11, openssh from the Net heading, and ddd, gcc, g++, and gdb from the Devel heading.  Once cygwin is installed, you need only click on the cygwin icon to start a Unix like shell.

If you wish to program in a GUI environment you will need to use the X Server.  First follow the directions at http://x.cygwin.com/docs/ug/setup-cygwin-x-installing.html to install the X server.  Then follow the following steps:

Start cygwin

Type cd

Type cp /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc   ~/.xinitrc

Edit .bashrc using vi by typing vi .bashrc

Add the following line at the end of .bashrc: PATH=$PATH:.:/usr/X11R6/bin

Save .bashrc, exit vi, and exit cygwin.

From now on, to develop at home: start cygwin and then Type startx

For more information visit http://x.cygwin.com/docs/ug/using.html

To develop using the CSIF computers remotely:

start cygwin and then Type startx

Type ssh -Y -l username remote_hostname, e.g. ssh –Y –l davis pc10.cs.ucdavis.edu

After entering your password, at the shell prompt, type xterm& this will open an X Window on your home machine that you will now type into!


Installing Linux on your Hard Drive


            For this option you will to have a copy of a Linux distribution DVD or CDs.  You can download the appropriate images from http://distrowatch.com.  You can read Professor Matloff’s general guide at http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/~matloff/linux.html.  If you think you would like some hands on help, then you can go to an Installfest of the Linux User Group of Davis, lugod.org.  Installfests are held in Kemper.  Installfests are day-long events, taking place from 10am until around 6pm (depending on attendance).  You must make reservations at http://lugod.org