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Using your CompSoc Account

What is my Compsoc account?

Compsoc provides all of its student members with an account, just like your University ITS account. The only difference is that you have to login in a slightly different way, you can't walk into a Compsoc computer room and use a computer there.

The methods for logging into and transferring data to your account are described below. Although this guide is Compsoc specific, most of the instructions will also work for the University's 'vega.dur.ac.uk' server.

Logging into your account means using 'SSH', a secure network connection protocol. It's a Linux protocol, but you can use it easily from Windows if you have the right program (see next section).

You'll have to access your Linux account using a terminal, entering commands into a text box. This can seem a bit daunting at first, but don't worry. Some basic things to do are outlined in the 'What can I do?' section, and it's easy learn how to get going.

Using Windows: PuTTy

PuTTy is a program that lets you connect to your Compsoc account from within Windows. It's easy to get, and should work on all Windows versions. It is also available for Linux if you want to use it, but is not the only way to access your account..

You can download PuTTy from its website. Once downloaded, run the .exe to install it just like any other Windows program.

Next, open the PuTTy program. You'll be presented with a window something like that in Figure One.

Figure One: The default PuTTy window, before filling in server etc

Figure One: The default PuTTy window, before filling in server etc

Figure Two: The PuTTy window with everything ready to connect to the Compsoc server

Figure Two: The PuTTy window with everything ready to connect to the Compsoc server

To just use PuTTy's basic abilities, you just need to fill in the boxes to make the window match the next image (Figure Two). When you've put in a host name (leave the port as '22'), you can save these settings.

You'll next be presented with a terminal window (see Figure Three), you've connected to the Compsoc server! You'll be asked for a user name ('login as:') and password, which should have been sent to you in an email shortly after signing the Compsoc server acceptable use policy.

Figure Three: The terminal window you get upon successfully contacting the Compsoc server

Figure Three: The terminal window you get upon successfully contacting the Compsoc server

Once you've done this, you've successfully logged onto your Compsoc account, congratulations. For a general idea of what you can actually do, see the 'What can I do?' section.

The first thing you should do is change your password! Type 'passwd' and follow the instructions.

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Using Linux

SSH is a native Linux protocol, so it's really easy to access your Compsoc account.

First of all, you'll need to open a terminal program. This will probably be listed in your menus as 'xterm' or 'konsole' depending on your Linux distro. If you can't find these options, try pressing alt+F2 and typing in the program names.

When you get to a terminal, just put in the command:

ssh username@compsoc.dur.ac.uk

You may be asked if you trust this server. This is a test of whether you are connected to the real Compsoc server, or something else pretending to be it (this is extremely unlikely). You are connected to the Compsoc server if the stated RSA key is 'a9:b0:48:61:99:0e:1c:e0:61:dd:ca:14:3c:ef:2f:a3'. On future connections, this is automatically checked to make sure you are connected to the right place.

You will need to enter your password (sent to you in an email), then will be successfully connected to the Compsoc server.

The first thing you should do is change your password! Type 'passwd' and follow the instructions.

After this, you can have command line access to a normal linux system. If you're unfamiliar with the command line, see the 'What can I do?' section below.

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Uploading files to your account

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Using Windows: WinSCP

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Using Linux

You can upload files to your account from the Linux command line, just as you can use the ssh command. First of all, you'll need to open a terminal program. This will probably be listed in your menus as 'xterm' or 'konsole' depending on your Linux distro. If you can't find these options, try pressing alt+F2 and typing in the program names.

To upload a file, you will need to know its location on your hard drive (as a filepath). Other than this, there are no strictures, and you can upload essentially anything.

Use the following command to upload your desired file:

scp filepathtofile username@compsoc.dur.ac.uk:filepathforfile

Here, 'filepathtofile' should be the location of the file on your computer. 'filepathforfile' should be where you want the file to be stored on the Compsoc server. Setting this as './' or '~/' will place the file in your home directory. 'username' should be your Compsoc username.

For some more general syntax for placing a file, see the 'Basic Commands' section towards the bottom of this article.

Finally, the scp command can be used to transfer entire folders. The following syntax should be used:

scp -r filepathtofolder username@compsoc.dur.ac.uk:filepathforfolder
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Using sFTP

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Email

You get an email address with your Compsoc account, username@compsoc.dur.ac.uk.

As well as normal email functions, it is possible to set your Compsoc account to download emails from the ITS Microsoft Exchange webmail interface. The method is much better than Exchange's inbuilt forwarding options, as it preserves header information (so you can just press 'reply' and everything will work). Using a Compsoc account also means that you can download your email using IMAP!

Compsoc email has its own page in the wiki, Toast/Email.

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What can I do?

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Basic commands

The Compsoc server, named toast, runs a Linux operating system. The command line is called 'bash', so any normal 'bash command' you find on the internet will be compatible with it.

Some general commands are:

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Web hosting

Your Compsoc account has an inbuilt easy way to host files online. To make the files available, just place them in the 'public_html' folder in your home directory.

To visit your compsoc webspace, go to:

compsoc.dur.ac.uk/~username/

You can also host a website in several different forms. To do this, create your homepage and name it 'index.html' or 'index.php' (depending on what the page is written in). Place this in the public_html folder, and it will automatically be opened when you visit your webspace.

The server also supports CGI scripts, created from languages like Perl, Python, C, Kaya etc. To be run, these must be placed in the folder ~/public_html/cgi-bin/, where they can be accessed online at compsoc.dur.ac.uk/~username/cgi-bin/filename. Alternatively, name the script or program 'filename.cgi' and it can be run as CGI from any folder. On toast, CGI scripts are run using 'suexec', which means that they run as you and have access to any file that you have access to.

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Programs to run

Certain programs are designed to run in your terminal window, in a text only mode. You might like to try:

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I have more questions!

If any of this guide doesn't make sense, or you come across any kind of problem, just get in touch with Compsoc. There are two easy ways:

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Compsoc Account SSH general information

Server: compsoc.dur.ac.uk
Port: 22

Last edit: Wed 13th Aug, 01:39 p.m.

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