There are numerous free software packages available to work with a networked *NIX computer from your personal desktop or laptop. If you happen to be running Linux, you won't need this page. But it is likely you are running a Windows or Mac machine and will need some additional software to have a good setup for working remotely on galileo.
Executive Summary: In order to work on your assignments from home, you will need to be able to communicate with Galileo through both text and graphics. There are many options to choose from. Several are summarized below.
Some fine print
It is not practical for us to offer individual support for software on students' personal computers. The information below provides useful pointers to tools that you can install on your Windows PC or Macintosh to connect to galileo complete your classwork. ITS-managed computers are available at many locations on grounds. These may always be used to access galileo outside of the lab hours for Room 22. We will strive to update these pages with informative links to easily available software you can use on your Windows or Mac OS to connect to galileo. While we can offer advice, the staff for PHYS 2660 will not be available to install and configure software on students' personal computers.
Note: Don't forget to read the documentation for any programs you wish to install!
Text: The most basic piece of software you need is a terminal emulator that can connect to galileo over the internet using a secure network protocol. This will give you a text-based interface to galileo (an interactive shell).
Graphics: If you want to display graphics from programs you run on galileo (and this includes anything that makes use of your mouse), you will need to have a standalone X server running on your local machine or be using NXClient. This software interprets requests from the remote machine to draw windows and react to mouse events on your local machine. This allows you to run (almost) anything on the remote machine, while viewing and controlling the results locally.
For PHYS 2660 much of the work can be accomplished using only a text shell. However, you will probably find editors with graphical interfaces such as emacs or nedit more intuitive. Furthermore, data visualization projects will certainly need graphics support.
SSH clients allow you to get a text-based terminal window that talks to Galileo. By installing an SSH client and an X server (see below) you can do both text and graphics on Galileo. An ssh/X connection to Galileo will typically be slower than an NXClient connection when you are working from home, over a slow network connection. On grounds, the difference in speed is less noticeable.
Preferred option: PuTTY
Secondary option: SecureCRT
Also useful: WINSCP
You should be downloading two distinct .exe files, corresponding to the setup executables for the above two packages. Once downloaded, run the Xming setup executable first (clicking through to accept all defaults, including the creation of the desktop shortcuts) and then the Xming-fonts setup executable (again accepting all default options). Once installed, you will be able to start the Xming program via the “XLaunch” shortcut on your desktop. Choose “Multiple windows”, press Next, then “Start no client”, press Next again, then Next again, and then finally Finish. This will set up an XWindows server on your personal Windows computer allowing you to open up graphics produced by a remote machine. Note: you must start the Xming program before you connect with your PuTTY or SecureCRT program.
Last note! You have to have X11 forwarding enabled for this to work. See the PuTTY or SecureCRT instructions above. See Xming for more information on Xming.
First check to see if you already have X11 installed, it would be located in Applications → Utilities → X11.app
If X11.app is not there…
For OS 10.6x: See the instructions at:
If you are running an earlier version of Mac OS X, please notify your instructor.
There can be some issues with cutting and pasting between windows managed by X11 and those by the Mac desktop. After starting X11, go to your preferences/settings menu and you'll find several options (“Emulate 3-button mouse” ,etc). Try checking all the options and things should work reasonably well. You may also find it vastly more convenient to simply use a 3-button USB mouse.
A nice solution for connecting to Galileo from remote locations is probably “NXClient”. This is a free product produced by a company called “NoMachine”. Note: I do not recommend doing this for people running Mac OS X (the tools described above are more than adequate), but if you are a Windows user this is a good option.
You can install a standalone version of NXClient on your computer. This can be downloaded from the company's web site:
After you've installed NXClient on your computer, you will also need an NX session profile file for Galileo. You can download this from Galileo's web site:
Note: If you are running Windows and you have problems with your fonts, download the additional font packages from this link as well
Additional note: If you are running Windows and you cannot see the text in an emacs session (like it all appears as empty boxes) run emacs via
emacs -fn 9x15 filename &
Note: If you're using an Apple computer running OS X, you may find that the “e” key behaves like a backspace when you're using NXClient. To fix this, see the OSX_nxclient_keyboard_fix page. Again, I do not recommend using NXClient if you have a Mac, the above connection methods are straightforward and more than adequate.
The tools above will work just fine for all of your Phys 2660 work. But you can check out this section if you're interested in exploring some more interesting technology. With the exception of Cygwin and the LiveCD's, these are beyond the scope of our documentation here and are not recommended for beginners.
With Cygwin you can install a linux based environment on your Windows PC, including all necessary communication and X-server software. See the local Cygwin Page for instructions on how you can install Cygwin.
You may install the X-server via Fink, the OS X project that brings most of the open-source Linux tools (graphics programs, office programs, libraries, etc) to your Mac with a convenient installation management tool. The specific link for installing Fink is: here, but that's just the first step. Note: It is not necessary to do this for people running Mac OS X (the tools described above are more than adequate).
An alternate approach for Windows PC owners – don't install anything! There are a number of “Live CD” distributions available these days that provide a complete Linux distribution on a boot-able CDROM. Just put the CD into your computer and reboot (make sure your BIOS is set to boot 1st from the CDROM). Then your PC will come up running Linux, just like the LAB PCs and, presto!, you have a Linux box. During the boot process, the code will detect your hardware and load all drivers seamlessly for an amazingly wide range of hardware options.
Here are some options:
Note: we recommend using a live CD only if you use the ethernet port on your computer to connect to the network. Many win-modems are not well supported, so dial-up access may be a problem. But almost all 10/100/1000 ethernet cards are well supported with no configuration work necessary. Many wireless cards are supported, but some may not have native support in the Linux kernel YMMV. If you do use wireless with a live distribution, we recommend using the wahoo network and not cavilier. Any special modifications needed to configure your hardware are beyond the scope of our documentation.)
Many other live CD projects are available for Power PC, Intel, and AMD platforms, each customized in different ways.
Virtualization is a very hot subject these days, you'll probably be hearing about it more and more in the near future. Many solutions are already available to allow you to install a second (third,…,etc) operating system under a virtual machine (VM) running on your computer. The VM looks just like a full-fledged computer to the new OS, but the whole VM runs as a regular process on the host computer. For example, you can have a VM running Linux on a Windows host or visa versa. Or you can have a VM running another flavor of Linux(Windows) under a Linux(Windows/Mac) host etc. Why would anyone want to do this? There are many reasons (testing code under many OS's on a single machine, having a convenient development platform for system code, fault tolerance, etc). Though the VM has all the functionality of a fully configured computer, it's just a file that can easily be moved from one physical machine to another with ease and practically no issues of hardware compatibility!
A detailed review of VM tools is beyond the scope of this page. But there are a number of easily installed options that will give you a usable VM with ssh, X-server, etc.