NetTop Usage

Overview

CS Nettops are basic machines that load their software off the network.
This approach has its advantages, as well as several pitfalls.

The nettops run a custom installation of the Ubuntu operating system

Getting Started

If you have never used Ubuntu before, it might be a good idea to read Getting Started with Ubuntu 12.04 - 2nd Edition
  • You may wish to skip to the section "The Ubuntu Desktop" on page 21 of the manual, and avoid reading the sections: "Installation" and "Software Management"

If demonstrations are more your style, this video should show you all the basics, and then some:

For those who are somewhat familiar with a Linux or UNIX system, but not familiar with Ubuntu, you might want to take a look at the Unity Quick Reference Poster

Key Differences from Typical Machines

The nettops, as briefly mentioned earlier, load all system software off our network.
Because of this, they are configured somewhat differently than the others.
Some of the key differences are listed below:

  • Network connection is an absolute necessity
    • If the unit is not connected properly, it will not start at all
    • While the unit is disconnected from the network, it will freeze, and become unable to perform any work
      • It won't be able to recover if it is disconnected for too long

  • The nettops don't have a hard drive
    • Only the Home directory is preserved when the unit is shutdown, it is stored on the network
    • System updates are made to the central server, and are loaded by the nettops when they restart

Known Issues

  • Users can't install or update software
    • Currently, only system admins can install software onto the Ubuntu system
    • Rebooting the system will reload the machine with the latest available software from our server

  • Sound doesn't work

  • Machine will not shutdown/restart/sleep/hibernate
    • This is an issue with our setup, not much can be done about this right now
    • To turn off the nettop, press and hold the power button, until the machine turns off
      • Push the button when it is off to turn it back on

Connecting to Unix/Linux machines

To connect to another Unix/Linux machine, you will need to use SSH
To ssh into another machine, simply open a terminal, and type in ssh -X servername

For example, to ssh into linux.cs, we would:

  • Open a terminal (Press Ctrl + Alt + T)
  • Type into the terminal: ssh -X linux.cs
    • If -X is not in the command, you will only be able to use terminal(text-only) programs from the server
  • Press Enter

The first time you ssh into a server, you will be asked if you trust the server you are connecting to.
You will be disconnected from the server if you choose not to trust it.
the openSSH fingerprint dialog

The server will then ask for your password:
the openSSH password dialog

When the connection has been established, you will now have a shell access to your account on the server.
You can now run applications that are installed on the server, but are not on your machine.
To log out, enter exit into the terminal, or on a blank line, press Ctrl + D

It is also possible to connect to a server without entering a password.
Instructions on doing this are found here

Connecting to Windows servers

If you'd like to work with a Windows environment, you'll need to connect to a Windows server.
The CS Grad server is windows.cs

We recommend using the Remmina Remote Desktop Client to connect to Windows servers.
When you first open Remmina, it does not know where to find our server.

We will start by making a new server connection:
creating a new connection in Remmina

A window will appear with various settings, it should be filled in like this:
These are the recommended settings if you plan on using Windows in fullscreen.
recommended settings for Remmina

If you want to connect in a window, we recommend setting the screen resolution to 1280x960 or lower:
changing the resolution in Remmina

To save these settings, press the 'Save' button, or the press 'Connect' to save these settings and connect to the server.
If you did not enter your userid and password into the settings screen, you will be asked to enter them every time you connect:
Remmina prompting for login info

The first time connecting after a settings change, or connecting to a new server, Remmina will ask you if you trust this server.
Remmina will not connect if you tell it you don't trust the server on the other end, or if you entered in your userid or password incorrectly:
Remmina asks us if we trust this server

After you tell Remmina to trust the CS Grad server, you will be greeted by a screen like this:
The server's greeter message screen
Press OK, and you will be logged in to Windows.

Useful software tools

Printing

Printers have already been setup for use by the nettops.
Most CS Grad printers should be available for use when a document is printed.

Selecting a default printer

Setting a default printer will save you the trouble of selecting one every time you print.
Start by opening "System Settings", its icon looks like this:
System Settings icon

After we have opened system settings, click on the printer:
It takes a few seconds to respond, so don't worry if nothing happens at first.
Settings window with the printer highlighted

A printer settings window should open, it looks something like this:
Printer settings

When you find the printer you want to use, right click it, and select "Set As Default"
This dialog should pop up:
Default printer dialog
Make sure you choose "Set as my personal default printer", nettops will not let you change system-wide settings.

Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
PNGpng default-printer.png manage 46.5 K 2012-11-05 - 13:16 RaymondTruong Default printer dialog
PNGpng printer-settings.png manage 74.7 K 2012-11-05 - 11:51 RaymondTruong Printer settings
PNGpng remmina-cert-dialog.png manage 72.8 K 2012-10-18 - 15:32 RaymondTruong screen capture of certificate dialog
PNGpng remmina-login-dialog.png manage 67.9 K 2012-10-16 - 16:26 RaymondTruong login dialog if credentials aren't saved
PNGpng remmina-new-connection.png manage 88.2 K 2012-10-16 - 15:48 RaymondTruong Making a new connection in remmina
PNGpng remmina-recommended-settings.png manage 164.0 K 2012-10-16 - 16:19 RaymondTruong recommended settings for remmina
PNGpng remmina-screen-resolution.png manage 151.1 K 2012-10-22 - 09:11 RaymondTruong Screenshot highlighting resolution settings
PNGpng remmina-session.png manage 47.7 K 2012-10-22 - 09:50 RaymondTruong greeting message from barbarus
PNGpng ss-icon.png manage 5.7 K 2012-11-05 - 11:38 RaymondTruong The icon for System Settings
PNGpng ssh-pw.png manage 34.2 K 2012-10-16 - 13:59 RaymondTruong ssh password dialog
PNGpng ssh-shell.png manage 79.0 K 2012-10-16 - 14:05 RaymondTruong ssh shell session
PNGpng ssh-trust.png manage 24.7 K 2012-10-16 - 13:57 RaymondTruong Picture of first login dialog
PNGpng system-settings.png manage 177.3 K 2012-11-05 - 11:42 RaymondTruong Screenshot of the system settings window
Topic revision: r10 - 2012-11-16 - RaymondTruong
 
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