First time logging into

  1. First, you have to be connected to the Internet (dial-up is fine).
  2. Next, you need an account on the CS machines. If you are taking a CS course, then you are eligible. If you've already created your account, skip down to step III.

    1. Before we get there, you need your ID that the university gave you. It will be 4 or 5 characters, your initials followed by some numbers.
    2. You'll need that password that goes w/that ID, the one you use to read your Drexel mail.
    3. Now, go to this link:
    4. You'll see this screen:
      Just a webpage.  Contact me, I\'ll fix this link.
      Type in your ID and your password (it is masked, so feel safe).
    5. Click the OK button once.
      If you get any noise about certificates, just click through them.
  3. Now you need terminal emulator that connects over the SSH protocol
  4. From Mac, or Linux

    You needn't install anything. Open a terminal, and invoke SSH via the command-line:


    From Windows

    PuTTY is free, and runs stand-alone (doesn't require installation). It can be found at, along with other useful binaries, like pscp (putty scp), psftp (putty sftp), and puttygen, which will generate keys for you (for SSH to use).

    I also recommend you visit . You'll find a bunch of programs which have been modified to be run from a stick. Settings are stored on the device, rather than in the registry, etc. Some of the useful ones: Firefox, PuTTY, gimp, VLC, Thunderbird, Sumatra PDF reader, gnucash, and many others.

  5. Whichever program you use you will connect to That is a server farm. It's actually a bunch of (64-bit) Linux boxes, you'll be sent to one that's not too crowded.

    Assuming your username is me123, you might connect like this:

    me@caucus Ref> ssh
    me123@tux3 ~ $

    Note that you're now logged into tux, and when you type it will be tux that responds. You are done interacting with SSH (directly) for the moment.

    I think we now start you in the bash shell (may be tcsh), the program that allows you to talk to the OS. You can change that, if you have a preference. It is just one of several common shells, and the one that I use, but you'll have to learn and pick your own. Things I show you here are common to all shells.

  6. Getting used to Unix, and compiling your first program:

    Take a look at my Unix cheat sheet

    1. First, use pwd to see where you are (I'll make stuff that you type this color):
      me123@tux3 me123 $ pwd

      This is your home directory. It's your space. All your stuff will go under here somewhere, hopefully into a subdirectory. Note: This does not mean that other people can't see your files. We'll examine this shortly.

    2. This next step is just a little file that you'll copy from me, to make your VI experience a little more pleasant.
      me123@tux3 me123 $ cp ~me123/Public/.vimrc .vimrc
      me123@tux3 me123 $ ls

      Hey, where is it? That 3rd command you entered was supposed to list out your directory. Where is that file you just copied? (If you've already used your CS account, your results may differ a little.)
      me123@tux3 me123 $ ls -a
      ./    ../    .bashrc   .bash_profile    .bash_history

      Ah, okay. Files that start w/a period (.) are hidden, by default.

      Note well: Capitalization matters to Unix, both in commands and in file (and directory) names.

    3. Now, let's create a directory that you will use for all of your work in my class, and lock it down so that only you have access to your homework files. (I will, occasionally, run a script that searches all of your directories for current homework. If I can see it, then others can too. Trouble.)

      Assuming the course is CS260:

      me123@tux3 me123 $ mkdir CS260
      me123@tux3 me123 $ chmod 700 CS260
      me123@tux3 me123 $ ls

      Okay, we see the directory there. (Note that the '/' character isn't really part of the name, it's just a more legible format that you asked for.)

    4. Now we'll go into that directory w/the cd command and take a look around:

      me123@tux3 me123 $ cd CS260
      me123@tux3 me123 $ pwd
      me123@tux3 me123 $ ls
    5. Hey, there's nothing there! Well, it's a brand-new directory. Let's create a simple little program there:

      me123@tux3 me123 $ pico

      You'll be in the Pico editor. In lieu of creating the screen, I'll just stick a screenshot here:

      Picture's coming

      Type in a simple program:

      #include <iostream>
      using std::cout;
      int main()
        cout << "\nHello!\n\n";
        return 0;

      You save the file by hitting ctrl-O, and following the prompts. You can then exit by hitting ctrl-X.

    6. List out the directory, see your source code there:

      me123@tux3 me123 $ ls
    7. Okay, now we can compile the program:

      me123@tux3 me123 $ g++
      me123@tux3 me123 $ ls -CF
      me123@tux3 me123 $ ls

      a.out is the name of your program. The asterisk isn't part of the name, it's just pretty formatting telling you that that file has execute permissions on it. Give it an ls to see it without the formatting.

    8. To run it, simply type the name of the program:

      me123@tux3 me123 $ ./a.out

      Note that the leading ./ tells the shell to look in the current directory for the command. See the PATH environment variable in the bash man (or info) pages1. See also the variable PWD and the command pwd

      1Note: If you add the current directory (.) to your path, add it at the end.

    9. Since program files are comparatively large (do an ls -l to see the sizes) and you have the source code, go ahead and remove the program you just made:

      me123@tux3 me123 $ rm a.out
    10. You can rename the program from a.out, or tell the compiler what name you'd like the program to have using the -o option:
      me123@tux3 me123 $ g++ -o myProgram
      me123@tux3 me123 $ ls myProgram*
      me123@tux3 me123 $ ./myProgram
      me123@tux3 me123 $ rm myProgram
    11. When you're done don't forget to exit the shell. Don't simply kill the program that is providing the connection. You want to tell tux that you're leaving. Do this by typing exit. It will be obvious when you are disconnected.

      me123@tux3 me123 $ exit

      Your files are safe. In fact, some very capable people in the department back up all our files nightly, and, you can get to them from anywhere, as long as you have access to the Internet.