IS provides an interactive, multi-user Unix environment for use by any member of the University.
The Unix service provides:
access to run applications
access to develop software
an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) service to share files to an external audience, e.g. where the file sizes are too large for email to be used. This can be either via Anonymous FTP or restricted-access FTP
to host web sites not managed within the University’s Content Management System. This will typically be used for dynamic content generated using PHP, Perl, CGI and forms created using FormManager
a MySQL database environment for research databases
Applying for an account
You will need to apply for a Unix account before you can use the service. Your username will be the same as your University username but you will be given a different password for use with this service and this service only. You are advised to change this password as soon as you begin using the service.
Staff and students will need to contact the IT helpdesk or IT rep for an Unix account.
Accessing the Unix servers
The Unix servers are called Granby and Caunton. There are two main ways to access the service, the first is via a graphical interface called the X Window System and the second is with a command-line or text based interface.
X Window System-based access
The X Window System provides a windows-style Unix environment. If you use a Unix workstation or X-terminal you have immediate access to the X Window System. If you use a PC you need to have X Server emulation software available. On PCs in computer rooms, X Server software called Exceed is installed.
The X Window System’s appearance is determined by the Window Manager software. IS recommends using KDE for most purposes. KDE is supplied with online documentation and books are available on the subject.
The command-line interface requires you to use terminal emulation software on the workstation or personal computer you are using. On PCs in computer rooms, software called ssh is installed. Access via ssh provides a Unix command prompt, to which you may type Unix commands in order to work. It requires little functionality on the workstation you are using, and so it can almost be guaranteed that you will be able to access the Unix servers from almost any computer connected to the Internet anywhere in the world, either from home or when away at conferences, etc.
Because it is text based, ssh access does not allow you to run software that needs a graphical X Window System based interface. Introductory guidance is available in the guide IS1300: Tutorial Guide to the IS Unix service and many books are available on the subject.
For information on software available on the Unix service, please see Software pages. Open Source Software can be installed and run from your own username. If you require specific software installed for use by others (e.g. students) please contact your local IT Support team.
Help and support
The main source of help available to users of both a text and graphical interface to a Unix service is the online manual, which is usually accessed by typing the command "man" followed by the name of the command you want help with, such as "man cp", which would give help on the "cp" (the copy) command.
Users of a graphical interface have access to more sophisticated help facilities.
Information Services offers regular training sessions for beginners and improvers alike. Please see the training page for further details.
Questions about use of the IS Unix service should be addressed to the IT Helpline