UPS Outage

The UPS at the co-location facility where we have our equipment located has failed.  They are working on repairing it.  In the meantime, if city power fails in Bellevue, a brief outage will result while equipment is switched to generator.

Maintenance 9/21/14 00:05 – 02:00

I will be performing maintenance tonight that will involve a reboot of the main file server to make a new Linux kernel active, and then taking down other machines, specifically shellx, scientific, mail, and ftp, for imaging.

I will not be taking down the other shell servers during this interval, so except for the initial file server reboot, the others will remain functional.  The file server reboot will take place between approximately 00:05 – 00:30.

Debian Down for Approximately 1Hr

I accidentally installed Kerberos on (which overwrote the Pam configuration files breaking authentication).  It will be down for about an hour.  If you wish to use a Debian based shell server in the interim, please use either or, both of which are derived from Debian.

X2Go on Mac OS X

I’ve got X2Go working properly on a Mac with OS X 10.7.5, and it should be able to work on newer versions as well.  The issue was the native X server provided by 10.7.5, it is garbage.

I loaded XQuartz and not only did the issues with X2Go as far as keyboard translation and display resolve (sound is still borked), but it also fixed another annoying problem and that was  marginally functional, sometimes not at all, cut-n-paste.

If you have a Mac OS X 10.7 or earlier (but still OS X) install XQuartz (very easy just download and click on the file, then log out and in again) and you can use X2Go to access all of our servers graphically.  It will also fix cut-n-paste issues the native X server has.

Using OpenNX, FreeNX, NX-Client 3.5 or NX-Player 4.0 to Connect to Shell Servers

There has been a change in the configuration of NX on the shell servers such that it is no longer necessary to import a special key.  You still need to check “Use NX login”, but do not specify an alternate key or cut and paste one in.

I discovered how to do this in the process of setting up new servers so changed the existing as well since it simplifies setup for the end user.

Operator Malfunction ~10:28-11:08 9/5/2014

The outage where everything just stopped for about half an hour was operator malfunction.  I was trying to make some changes to NFS configuration (version 3 to version 4 on some machines) and had intended to reboot the client which had nobody logged in but accidentally rebooted the server instead.

Shell Servers

Available Shell Servers

We a SunOS server and a variety of Linux Servers available for your use. Of the Linux servers there are two basic lines, those derived from RedHat, such as Fedora, Centos, and Scientific Linux, and those derived from Debian such as Debian, Ubuntu, and Mint. Of the two flavors, the Redhat servers tend to be the most solid and stable but have fewer applications. The Debian servers are much more feature rich but require a graphical connection and a high bandwidth connection to take fullest advantage of them.

All of these servers are available if you have a shell account here. You can use them to learn various versions, decide which to install, and as one place you can develop applications for all versions. We install a wide variety of development tools on all of our publically available servers.

This is a recently added shell server based upon the newly released Centos7 Linux distribution (based upon Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7). To connect to this one graphically, you’ll need to use x2go and select the Mate Desktop. The native Gnome3 Desktop does not work with x2go but Mate, which is a continuation of Gnome2, is much nicer anyway.

There are no games on this machine but if you are interested in developing or learning the most recent version of Centos or RedHat Enterprise Linux upon which it is based, this server will provide these capabilities.

We have all of the available development utilities, headers, libraries, and tools that are available for Centos7. This includes tools for C, C++, Java, Go, Erlang, Perl, Ruby, PHP, F77, and shells.

This server is running on Debian Jessie. It has a rich assortment of software installed, including hundreds of Games, a huge variety of Office Productivity software, many Educational and Scientific applications, a variety of Integrated Development Environments, and many programming languages. All of the documentation available online these applications is also loaded.
This is our oldest shell server. It is an SS-10 running SunOS 4.1.4. It has aftermarket 125Mhz CPUs instead of the stock 40Mhz CPUs provided by Sun. It is equipped with a whopping 512MB of RAM. The only way you can access a desktop remotely is manually start openwin redirected to the display on your computer and then the graphical tools available are few. It is most suited to command line applications that were in vogue in the 1990 timeframe.

This machine has a bunch of old BSD games like Rogue, Hack, Adventure, Trek, Phantasia, and a lot of early utilities like the Zoo archiver. It has both gcc and a K&R C compiler, cc. There are a variety of shell based mail programs like mutt, elm, pine, and BSD mail.

This server runs Fedora 23. It can be accessed graphically using x2go and the Mate desktop. It has the most applications of any of the Redhat derived servers. I install just about everything I can get to work on this machine so it has a huge variety of applications installed.
This machine runs OpenSuse Harlequin 13.2. It has a variety of applications available. It is RPM based like Redhat machines but uses a unique package maintainer that both handles installation, updates, and configuration all in one application, called Yast. This resolves dependencies in real time as you select or deselect software. Makes it very easy to construct a very complete Linux environment.
This is another recent addition to our shell servers. It is running Mint, although we have the Mate Desktop installed for graphical access. This is necessary because Unity and other compositing Desktops are incompatible with x2go and really work very roughly with vnc. If you like games, this is a good server to use and there are many installed. Mint is a derivative of Ubuntu which in turn is derived from Debian and this server thus follows the structure and layout of Debian and Ubuntu.
This server is a virtual machine running on an Intel i7-2600 based system. The physical box has 32GB of RAM of which 8GB is allocated to this server. This machine is running Scientific Linux 6.7. It has many additional libraries and applications from additional Enterprise Linux related repositories. This server is very similiar to Shellx but brings some newer capabilities owing to better compatibility between the Scientific Linux and Enterprise Linux applications and libraries.
Scientific7 is very much like Centos7. This machine can be accessed graphically using x2go. I recommend the Mate Desktop, Gnome will not work with x2go on this machine because it is Gnome3 which is a compositing Desktop that is incompatible with x2go. Both Scientific Linux 7 and CentOS 7 are derived from RedHat Enterprise Linux 7. However, in my experience, Scientific Linux tends to be slightly more complete with more add-ons available. In theory both Scientific Linux and Centos are compiled from the same RedHat Enterprise Linux source, but I’ve had better luck getting things to work under Scientific Linux, hence when it comes to newer applications you’ll find the Scientif Linux machines slightly better equipped than the CentOS machines, though shellx has a richer set of older applications that we ported from the old SunOS based machine.
This server is running CentOS 6 Linux.

This shell server brings a lot of capabilities to our customers. The option of using a graphical environment, either KDE or Gnome Desktops, an integrated software development environment, Eclipse, Office Productivity Software (both OpenOffice and LibreOffice), and a huge assortment of software, graphics, and text development tools.

If you want to run a Moo or a Mud or an IRC bot, or MMORPG server, this would be a good machine to use.

This is Ubuntu 15.10. It can be accessed graphically using x2go and the Mate Desktop. The native Unity desktop is a compositing desktop which is incompatible with x2go. This machine is equipped with many applications including a huge number of games, a rich assortment of development tools and computer programming languages, a huge assortment of Office productivity software, many scientific, electronic, and educational tools.