Overview of the Linux Service
The CIS Linux and Unix services are complementary and similar in stucture, incorporating a central time-sharing system and desktop computers. The High Performance Computing service provided by the Hamilton cluster is also based on a version of Linux.
The Linux time-sharing service and workstations are essentially the same, both are currently running Red Hat Fedora 12 and provide the Gnome desktop windowing system.
The service provides electronic mail through Outlook Web Access (OWA) with the Firefox or SeaMonkey web browser, or IMAP with the SeaMonkey email client or the command line based Pine mail program. It also has the OpenOffice package installed, a free, Microsoft Office compatible open source office package, which can be used to prepare documents and create spreadsheets and presentations. Fedora comes with a large number of packages as standard.
For programming, the GNU C,C++ and f77 compilers are available as well as Java and the Portland and Intel Fortran 90 compilers. A number of locally available software packages such as Matlab, Mathematica, Maple and Fluent have been installed. Much of the software available on the Unix service has been installed as well, such as Pico, Nedit, Pine, vi, emacs, C-shell, Tex/Latex and Java. For a more complete list please see the CIS Linux software pages. Much of the CIS documentation for Unix applications applies to Linux as well.
Clusters of desktop computers that can run Linux are available for general use in computer class rooms. These computers are dual boot and can run both Linux and Windows (NPCS).
You can also access the Linux service remotely by logging into the time-sharing service Vega (a cluster of servers with quad core Intel Xeon X5460 processors).
If you want to try installing Linux on your own PC it's free; you can borrow Red Hat Fedora disks from the IT Service Desk or you might like to try Ubuntu or OpenSUSE distributions. If you like OpenOffice it is also freely available and can be installed on Microsoft Windows. This is useful for students who would otherwise have to pay for Microsoft Office.
Please see the links on the menu to the left of this page to get more information about accessing the Linux service and the software that has been installed.