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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    General Info

  1. How do I get help?
  2. How do I get an Account? For a visitor?
  3. How do I login? What are my options?
  4. How do I logout? How often should I logout?
  5. What can I do about SPAM and how can I protect myself from suspicous/malevolent emails
  6. How do I reboot? Should I reboot?
  7. What is backed up and how often? How do I restore a file?
  8. How much disk space can I use?
  9. How do I print from Linux?
  10. How I setup a personal/class webpage? How do I change information on my Departmental Webpage?
  11. Hardware Resources

  12. Where are the public printers?
  13. What classrooms have computers and how do I use them?
  14. Do we have a scanner and how do I use it?
  15. How do I use a Floppy (or CDROM) under Unix
  16. Where should I run large computational jobs? Do we have a cluster?
  17. Basic Applications

  18. What is a command prompt and how do I get one?
  19. How do I read my e-mail?
  20. How do I change my password?
  21. How do I set my default printer?
  22. What program do I use to do ... ?
  23. How do I burn a CD-ROM?
  24. Advanced Software Questions

  25. Where can I find documentation on Latex (TeTeX)?
  26. How do I create a PDF file from a Postscript or DVI file?
  27. How can I use graphics with pdflatex?
  28. How do I Move, Copy, or Delete a File from the Command Line?
  29. How can I post password protected web pages and files?
  30. How do I allow certain users access to my files? What are ACLs?
  31. How can I use PGP with Pine?
  32. Home Computers and Laptops

  33. How do I access my account remotely?
  34. How can I use VNC for remote sessions?
  35. Can you install linux on my home computer/laptop? Can you fix my home computer/laptop?
  36. Can I print from my laptop via the wireless network?
  37. How can I mount my home directory from my home Linux machine?
  38. How can I mount my home directory from my home Windows or MacOSX machine?

How do I get Help? Who do I call?

The best, fastest, and most efficient way to get help is to mail with a description of your problem. This will send your message to all our systems administrators and allow them to respond from where ever they may be at the time. Email is by far the best way to reach us. You should receive an automated confirmation message letting you know the email was received by the system

Calling your Systems Administrator should be reserved for emergency situations.

An Emergency is defined as when you are unable to Email.

We ask that you do this for a couple of reasons. First is that we are frequently juggling several tasks and a phone call essentially disrupts this process and forces us to address your questions immediately without time to think about it. You will get better, more complete, and more polite answers we are not interrupted regularly. If a more involved discussion is required, we can make an appointment and meet with you or arrange a call to work on the problem. The second reason is that it establishes a record of problems that we have worked on and solutions we have devised. There is nothing more frustrating than to have a user call with an unusual problem, which we work on solving and answering after recommending they use email, only to have another user encounter a simliar problem months later and we can't remember how we solved it the first time. Email creates a nice paper trail, especially for the administrator that didn't work on the problem the first time.

Finally, we are often not at our desks, but can get to email virtually anywhere. When possible, we answer your email as soon as we get it. We try to stay on top of problems and solve them as priority will dictate.

How do I get an Account? For a visitor?

Account applications are made online at All regular members of the Mathematics Department (undergraduate major, graduate student, postdoc, faculty, or staff) are eligible. If an account is required for a visitor or someone who is not a regular member of the Mathematics Department, either apply online or have them apply online and be sure to include the name of a faculty sponsor and/or the number of a Mathematics Class for verification. We reserve the right to refuse any application.

How do I login? What are my options?

Logins are done through a graphical screen with fields for Username and Password. If the computer is at a text screen with a Login:prompt, then it is not ready for use. Try pressing ALT-F1 to see if the usual graphical screen comes up. If not, try another computer and email req@math.duke.eduso we can fix the problem.

To login, enter your username, press Tab to switch to the password field, then enter your password. Asterisks (*) will appear as you type your password so that others cannot read it. To login with the default environment, press Enter after entering your password. You can select the environment to login with by choosing from the Menu:button and then from the Session Typemenu. The most common selections are GNOMEand KDE although there are several other, less functional but also faster, desktop environments available.

How do I logout? How often should I logout?

Logging out is dependent upon the desktop environment you are currently using. If you are using the default, the KDEenvironment, right click on the desktop and select Log Out <Username> or click on the menu icon (usually a Red Hat on the left side of the task bar) and select Log out... You will be asked to confirm your decision. If you are using Gnome, select the Desktopmenu from the top bar and then choose Log out.

In a pinch, if applications have locked up or the logout process is having problems, press the keys Control-Alt-Backspace at the same time. This will do a forceful logout.

WARNING : Data from applications that are open will not be saved and no confirmation will be given. Use carefully.

How often should you logout? Logging out frees memory from applications and generally cleans out things. If things seem to be running slower than usual, logging out and back in might be the easiest way to return to normal. As a general rule of thumb, if you have a computer for personal use on your desk and you are going to be away for more than one day, it would be good to logout (such as a weekend). If you are using a public computer, such as one in the labs or a common computer in a graduate office, and are going to be away for more than one hour, you should logout to allow others to use the computer while you are gone. Another reason to logout is that we are constantly performing updates on systems in the department. On rare occasions, a reboot is required. Fortunately these are much rarer than on Windows. We try to arrange reboots around times when people are not logged in, but there are always a few users who do not logout for months and special attention is required to arrange a time to reboot their machine. Logging out when you are out of the office for a couple of days gives us the chance to reboot with disrupting your schedule or our schedule.

What is a command prompt and how do I get one?

The command prompt is a text based application that provides direct interaction with the Unix system. It is similar in context to MSDOS or the Command Prompt window you can bring up on Windows systems. A listing of basic commands with documentation is available at In general, most things can be done through the graphical user interface. But sometimes we will ask you, or it may be quicker and easier, to use the command prompt.

If you are using the KDE environment (the default), the command prompt can be found in the RedHat menu under System Toolsand is called Konsole. If you are using one of the other environments, ask us if you cannot find how to bring up a command prompt. As a shortcut, you can also press ALT-F2 which brings up a Run box. You can enter any command here that you would enter at the command prompt and it will execute directly.

From the command prompt, you can execute almost all programs by just typing the program name, sometimes with an argument such as a file to edit or display. For example, you can run the following programs by typing their command names :

  • mathematica
  • xmaple
  • matlab
  • firefox
  • gpmail
  • gaim

There are many more programs available than are possible to list. If you are looking for something specific, email and ask, we'll be glad to help.

How do I read my e-mail?

There are many applications available for reading email and fortunately, most are compatible with each other and can be used interchangably. The recommended mail client is Thunderbird in the K Menu under Internet (or from the command line, thunderbird). You can pre-configure Thunderbird by running the program thunderbird_setup from the command line to configure it properly for IMAP mail access. Other programs available, but not supported include evolution, kmail, and balsa.

From the command line, we recommend pinebut mutt and mailare still available if needed.

Finally, from the Web you can access your email securely via Horde WebMailor TWIG.

How do I change my password?

To change your password, bring up a command prompt console (in KDE it is under the RedHat icon, System Tools, then select konsole) and execute the command passwd. After entering your current password once, you will be prompted for a new password twice, then your password should be changed.

How do I set my default printer?

You may select one of the public printers or a private printer (with the proper permission) as your default printer. Then any jobs send to a printer without specifying which printer, will go to your default printer. To specify a default printer, you first need to know which shell is your default. Run the command echo $SHELL from a command prompt. It should return one of the following :

You then need to add a line to a file in your home directory that the shell uses when you login.

For the C Shells/bin/csh and /bin/tcsh you edit the file called .cshrcin your home directory. (If you are un sure how to do so, try the command gedit ~/.cshrcfrom the commandline). Add the following line to the end of the file :

setenv PRINTER lw0

where lw0is an example of one of the public printers. For the Bash Shell/bin/bash you edit a file called .bashrcin your home directory. Again, you can use gedit ~/.bashrcto edit this file from the commandline. In this file you add the following line at the end :

export PRINTER=lw0

where lw0is an example of one of the public printers.

You will need to logout and login again for this change to take effect.

How much disk space can I use?

Short Answer: New users have a home directory quota of 20GB. There is
no quota for local disk space in /xtmp or /ytmp.

Long Answer: In the last couple of years, the amount of disk space
required has doubled about once a year. While disk space is relatively
cheap, backup space (which is an absolute necessity) is not.

Thus our first step in this process is to try to eliminate from our backups
all files that really should not be backed up to offline storage. This
includes all personal MOVIES, MUSIC, PICTURES (those not intended for
web distribution on your personal page), and other such files.

We have three categories of disk space available to you (listed in order of
cost of resources, highest first) :

A) Home Directory Space (~username)
* Backed up nightly
* Available simultaneously from all machines
* Not as fast

B) Workstation Local Disk (/xtmp)
* Backed up nightly
* Fast
* Available only from local machine (or via ssh connection)

C) Workstation Local Disk (/ytmp) :
* NOT Backed up
* Fast
* Available only from local machine (or via ssh connection)

The /ytmp directory was created to accomodate the large amount of personal
files that are being created on our systems that have no business being backed
up nightly (or at all for that matter). If you need to have games, MP3 music,
RM, AVI, MPG, DIVX, or any other personal material on your office machine,
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE put these files in /ytmp so that they will not consume
public disk space or backup resources.

A general rule of thumb is that email, papers you are working on, and code you
are writing that needs to run on several computers should be placed in your
home directory. Large files, data sets from code runs, archived documents,
and anything else that needs to be backed up should go to /xtmp. All other
files should be placed on /ytmp.

What is backed up and how often? How do I restore a file?

For a summary of what is backed up, refer to the FAQ on Disk Usage. Backups are done nightly at 1:30am, although due to the volume of data backed up may not complete until after 3:00am or later. We archive monthly backups for up to 1 year and yearly backups perpetually.

If you delete a file, or worse, many files, email with a listing of what you need recovered and the approximate date of when you want the data recovered from. We will restore the files, possibly in a separate directory, and notify you when the data is available.

What program do I use to do ... ?

Linux is a very capable operating system that has many applications, several of which perform simliar functions but have a wide range of different/missing/extra features. Here are a few applications that are use for common tasks with their names for use from the command line. Most of the programs are also found in the KDE and Gnome menus under the appropriate headings.

How do I scan a document into my account?

There are two ways available to scan documents into your account. Alternatively, there is a scanner hooked up to the Windows XP machine in room 102 that can be used. Instructions for this scanner are available here as well as posted above the computer attached to the scanner.

How do I burn a CD-ROM?

To burn a CD, first check if your machine has a CD drive capable of writing to discs. Stenciled on the front of the drive door should be a logo proclaiming either Compact Discor Compact Disc Rewritable. If you have a drive with the latter (Rewritable), then you can burn CDs on this machine. Run the program k3b. It should be self explanatory from the menus and prompts, but in short, you tell it to create a new Data CD, drag the files/directories you want to burn to the bottom area, then hit the "Burn" button after inserting a black CD-R in to the disc drive.

The command line programs mkisofsand cdrecord are also available for advanced users.

How do I reboot? Should I reboot?

Linux machines rarely need rebooting. Several machines in the department have been up and running, and in use, for over 200 days at a time. Occasionally we will need to reboot the machines to install security updates or to perform hardware upgrades. However, one thing to keep in mind is that you are not necessarily the only user using the machine when you are thinking about rebooting. Even it is your personal office machines, administrative scripts may be upgrading software packages, running scans, or managing maintenance tasks. Thus it is preferable to only reboot when absolutely necessary.

If you machine appears to lock up, the first thing to take note of is whether the mouse cursor can still move. If so, the machine is not totally locked up, only the graphical interface. And it may be waiting on some application that is causing the machine to appear hung. First, give the machine about 1 minute to see if it recovers. Restarting file servers, which happens rarely, but does happen, can cause machines to hang for about a minute while the server reboots. After that minute or so, consider whether you really need to recover control and get back to your programs that are running or if logging out is a sufficient alternative. Pressing CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE should kill the graphical session, log you out, and allow you to login again. If that fails, you can try contacting us by phone and then hit the reset button to reboot the machine. If you want to try regaining control, you can remotely login to your machine via ssh from another machine, and if you gain access, kill off processes one at a time until you regain control or it becomes clear a logout is the only solution. You can contact us to take a look at a machine remotely to help you kill processes.

If the mouse no longer moves, it is very likely the machine is totally hung. It would be preferable to check CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE and possibly try logging in remotely via ssh to verify the machine is inaccessible, but after, rebooting is your only option.

IMPORTANT NOTE :If you machine crashes regularly, that is a good indication of either a major hardware problem or a bad software issue and we should attempt to correct it. It is difficult for us to know the difference between a reboot caused by tripping over a power cord and one caused by a machine locking up. So if you are having consistent problems with a machine, let us know so we can take a more detailed look.

How do I access my account remotely?

There are several ways to access your account remotely. The simplest way is through the command line interface provided via ssh. There are SSH clients available for Mac OSX, Windows, and Linux that will allow you to access a command prompt for almost any machine in the department. From the command prompt, you can run any text-based applications, and with a fast enough connection and a X server capable local machine, even run graphical applications remotely.

The second way is via the web. The suite of programs at you with access to email, files, mail forwarding, vacation message management, a web proxy (coming soon), and SSH access.

Finally, the third way is via VNC. All systems should have VNC servers running on the primary X display which allow the owner of the console to access the display remotely. To do so, first create a vnc password by running vncpasswdat the prompt and entering a password twice. Now you should be able to connect to a screen by using a VNC client to connection to machinename:0 and entering that password. Note that you must be logged in on the system to use this method, otherwise root will own the console and you cannot connect. This connection can be slow and have problems, like multiple keystrokes registered for single keystrokes (run xset r offto fix and the xset r onwhen you are done, this disables/enables key repeat when you hold it down).

Since our department employs a firewall that blocks VNC, to use it from outside the department you need to tunnel your VNC connection over SSH. From unix, this is easy with RealVNC via the command vncviewer -via machine:0which will create an SSH connection as user usernameto computer and after asking for your SSH password, create the tunnel and ask for your vnc password to complete the connection. From Windows and MacOSX machines, you need to establish an SSH forward from local port 5910 to the remote machine you are connecting to port 5900 and then connect your VNC client to host localhost:10. Detailed instructions are dependant on the SSH client used to connect to the department.

How can I use VNC for remote sessions?
Why VNC?

VNC is a remote display protocol that works well over slower connections. It will
let you run graphical programs such as Matlab and Maple remotely in a virtual session.
In addition, this session will continue to run until explicitly terminated. You use
a VNC viewer to connect to the session and control it but you can disconnect at
any time and return later.
Initial Setup
First, connect via SSH to the machine you want to run your VNC session
on, would work or you can use the machine in your office
if you have one.

Once logged in, run :

vncserver -geometry XxY

where XxY is the resolution of the virtual screen you want to create,
800x600 or 1024x768 are good choices. The larger it is, the slower,
but over Duke LAN connections, it doesn't make too much difference.

When you run this command, it will return the screen ID to you,
something like cauchy:5. Remember this. This screen (cauchy:5) will continue
running until you expicitly kill it or the machine reboots so you can keep
connecting and using it. Just closing the VNC viewing window will not
kill the session.

Now set your VNC password by typing :


and entering a password twice. You only need to do this once, after
that, the vnc password will be set for all future sessions.
Connecting from Linux
Thats the setup part, now to connect to your screen whenever you want to
do some work, you need a VNC viewer with SSH capability.

If you are running linux on your machine, you can try connecting with
the command :

vncviewer -via username@remotehost remotehost:display

which following our example above would be something like (replacing joe_user with your username):

vncviewer -via cauchy:5

This will ask for your SSH password first, then your VNC password.
Connecting from Windows
The simplest way to connect to your VNC connection is by going to the link :

SSH/VNC Java WebStart.

This application does require that Java WebStart is installed on your system. This website can help you install Java WebStart if it is not already installed :

Install Java WebStart by Elluminate

When it has loaded, tell it to "Create a New
Connection" under the file menu, and connect to :

hostname : (whatever host you setup the vnc server on)
post : 22
username : Your Username

Then go to the VNC settings TAB and select "Linux/Unix Variant", leave
Host as "localhost" and set the Display value to the number of the screen ID
(in the example way up above, it was 5).

Then hit connect. Enter your Unix password for the first prompt, then your
VNC password for the second one.

Alternate Windows Connection
The Java based method has some disadvantages, no fullscreen support, some keys are not supported, etc. An alternate way that will provide fullscreen support as well as enhanced speed is to install the SSVNC viewer, available here :


Tell it to use SSH for the connection, use as the proxy/gateway, and connect to your VNC session you set up in the initial setup, in this example cauchy:5.
Closing the connection
Just close the window when you are done and you can reconnect anytime later 
and resume your session.

To really kill the VNC session, logout of the Panel and it will close the VNC

Where should I run large computational jobs? Do we have a cluster?
We do have a cluster of machines running Sun's Grid Engine software to manage jobs. The machine through grid16.math.duke.eduare available for running long computational jobs, but it is preferable to submit these jobs through the Sun Grid Engine (SGE) interface on so that resources are utilized with maximum efficiency. Read the documentation for submitting and monitoring jobs at

Can you install linux on my home computer/laptop? Can you fix my home computer/laptop?
We are available to assist you with your home computers and laptops, however keep in mind that our primary jobs are maintaining the 140 or so computers in the department and supporting the 100 or so regular users so our assistance will be strictly as time permits. Contact us in advance to discuss what needs to be done and to schedule a time when we can work on your machines.

We can install linux on your computer with the exact same setup as the ones in the office (with the exception of Matlab for which you will need to purchase a license) and can even install it alongside an existing Windows installation. You will need at least 10GB of free disk space for linux. A typical install will take about 3 hours for a clean install, 5 hours for an installation along side Windows, or about 5 hours for an upgrade (since we have to backup your old data first, then install, then restore your data). As you can see it can be rather time consuming so if you are bringing by your computer, be sure to get it here in the morning (before 10am) if you expect it back by the end of the day.

How I setup a personal/class webpage? How do I change information on my Departmental Webpage?
Creating Personal/Class Webpages
You can set up personal or class webpages inside your home directory within a subdirectory called public_html. All files and directories placed in this subdirectory will, with proper permissions, be accessible via the web at where username is your login name. If you omit the filename, as in this example, the file index.html will be displayed if present or an error given if it is not present.

To setup a personal webpage, here are the basic steps. Run these from a command prompt :

Changing your Dynamically Generated Departmental Webpage
We have created a Faculty Database system that is designed to be a central respository of all information related to your employment with the Duke Mathematics Department. Through the web interface at you can enter all sorts of information such as :

  • Contact Information
  • Picture of Yourself
  • Degrees
  • Research Interests
  • Classes you are teaching
  • Students you are mentoring
  • Papers published
  • Committees and other Activites
  • Links to Personal Pages
  • Submit your annual reports
All of this information can be optionally included in a dynamically generated web page that is created to give a uniform look to all official web pages of members of the Mathematics Department. You can view the current state of your webpage by following the appropriate links (Faculty/Staff/Graduate Students) from the main web page at Please contact the front office staff if your name is not listed or listed in the incorrect place.

How do I print from Linux?
In general, the best way to print any type of file in Linux is from an application capable of viewing that file. So, print PDF files from a PDF viewer like acroread or evince. Print a DVI file from a DVI viewer like kdvi or xdviand print Graphics files from an image viewer like kviewor display.

You can print some files from the command prompt, these include (to printer lw3 in this example) :

Most other files should be printed from their applications.

Where are the public printers? Can I print from my laptop via the wireless network?
Public Printers
There are 6 public printers in the department. A listing of these printers, their locations, and other facilites available within the department is available at

Printing from the Wireless Network
The public printers are all accessible from the wireless network or from any Duke IP address. You should use IPP printing to connect to the server ipp:// with queue name /printers/lw0for example. Full instructions for connecting to these printers and what drivers to use are available at

What classrooms have computers and how do I use them?
There are computers managed by the Mathematics Department in classrooms 05, 120, 205, and 216 in the Physics Building. These rooms also provide cables for hooking up laptop computers for display via the over head projector. All computers in classrooms run the Linux operating system and should operate identically to the other Linux machines in the department. They also have the ability to run Windows applications via emulation. You should select Windows from the login screen to access this emulation capability.

There are also computers, managed by Arts & Sciences computing, in rooms 113 and 114. They run Windows XP.

The computer in room 120, 113, and 114 are protected also by a touch screen login panel. It has a telephone pad on the screen that you need to enter the 4 digit password to use. Ask in the front office for the password.

Do we have a scanner and how do I use it?
The department has a few of scanners available for your use. 

The simplest method is to use the photo copier. It is capable of scanning many pages per minute and will send you an email with a PDF attachment of your scanned document. The only restriction is that scans will not be in color! Full instructions are available at as well as posted in the copy room.

The is also a scanner in room 102 attached to the public Windows XP machine. Login with your unix usename and password and then run the program Photoshop from the desktop. Further instructions are available at

Finally there is a scanner in the front office (Room 117) that has a document feeder available for scanning several pages at once. Login to the Windows XP machine attached to this scanner and use the program Acrobat to scan directly into a PDF file. The front office staff should be able to assist you with your scanning on this machine.

How do I Move, Copy, or Delete a File from the Command Line?
Here are some useful commands to help you in managing your files :

  • ls: This command stands for List. If you type ls and press enter, a list of files in the currend directory will be displayed. Useful options include ls -Cwhich will show the list in a column format, and ls -lwhich will show the list is a long format with more information. You may also combine these with the option -a to show "All" files, including those that begin with a . and are thus called "hidden" since they do not display without the -a option, e.g. ls -al. Another useful option is ls -Fwhich will differentiate file types in the listing by adding a @ to links, a / to directories, and a * to executable filenames.
  • cd : This command stands for Change Directory. If you have a subdirectory you wish to enter, you would type cd directory name. To go up a directory, you would type cd .. ( ..stands for one directory up, . stands for the current directory. )
  • cp : This command stands for Copy. It accepts two arguments , source and destination files. If the destination filename is a directory, the file is copied to that directory with the same filename as the source file. E.g. cp filename ~will copy the file filename to ~ (your Home Directory).
  • mv : This command stands for Move. It works similar to copy but the source file is removed after the copy.
  • rm : This command stands for Remove. It can accept any number of files. E.g. rm test.1 test.2 test.3will remove the files test.1, test.2, and test.3.
  • mkdir : This command will Make a Directory. It can accept any number of directory names. E.g. mkdir test final groupwill create directories test, final, and group under the current directory.
  • rmdir : This command will Remove a Directory. In can accept any number of directory name BUT the directories to be removed must be empty.
NOTE SHORTCUT! : If you are using the default command shell, csh, or tcsh, then any reference to your home directory can be abbreviated by the character ~. For example, cd ~/bin will change your "current directory" to /bin.

How do I use a Floppy (or CDROM) under Unix?
If you are using the KDE or Gnome Desktop Environments, using a floppy or CDROM is as easy as inserting your disc and clicking on the appropriate icon on the desktop. You can then read, copy, or delete files (delete from floppy only) to and from the device. It is VERY important to unmount the media before removing it from the drive. In fact, CDs will not let you open the tray unless they are unmounted. To unmount a disc, close the window showing the files and close any files you are using on the disc, then right click on the same icon you used before and select Unmount. Then you can safely remove the disk.

You can also access the devices from the commandline, its a bit more complicated but here are some simple instructions :

To access the device,  run the command lsdev and select the device you wish to mount or unmount from the list.  If successful, the command will report which directory the device was mounted upon.  When you are done, run lsdevagain and select the device to unmount it.  You can also specify a string as an argument to lsdevto automatically select an item from the list, for example lsdev CDwill usually mount or unmount the CDROM.

How can I use PGP with Pine?
It is possible to configure the
pinemail reader to use PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) Encryption when sending and receiving mail.

Configuring PGP

    You need to first create your PGP key. Type pgp -kg, select the level of encryption, enter your name and your email address as shown in the example, enter a Pass Phrase (Important, you will need to enter this often, do not forget it), and then follow the directions on the screen. This should tell you it has generated a key. It will store this info in ~/.pgp. In general the defaults are sufficient.

Configure Pine to use PGP

  • Start Pine and go into the Setup -> Config menus.
  • The following is assuming the binary papp is located in /usr/local/bin. If not, please change the paths accordingly.
  • Near the end of the configuration options, change display-filtersto this value :
    "-----BEGIN PGP" /usr/local/bin/papp -passfile _DATAFILE_ -key _PREPENDKEY_
  • Then change sending-filters to this value :
    /usr/local/bin/papp -encode -passfile _DATAFILE_ _RECIPIENTS_ -key _PREPENDKEY_
  • Now save the configuration and restart pine

Using PGP within Pine

Pine will automatically attempt to decode messages received that are encoded with PGP. It will prompt you for your passphrase and decode the messages automatically.
To encode a message, compose you message as usual, but after hitting CTRL-X to send the message, you can either use the default filter (no encoding) or use the PGP filter by pressing CTRL-N (next filter). If you use the PGP filter, the message will be send encoded with the recipients PGP public key if available. If not, it will warn you that you don't have their key. To add keys to your PGP keyring, run pgp -hfor assistance.

Where can I find documentation on Latex (TeTeX)?
Check out this page
LaTeX/TeX (Courtesy Michael Kozdron and Laura Taalman).

How can I use graphics with pdflatex?
See page 7 of the
pdfTeX FAQ

How do I create a PDF file from a Postscript or DVI file??

Converting a dvi file into a pdf file:
To convert the dvi file filename.dvi into the pdf file filename.pdf, type
dvipdfm filename

Converting a dvi file into a postscript file:
To convert the dvi file filename.dvi into the postscript file, type
dvips filename
By Default, dvips now creates a ps file rather than directing the file to the printer.

Converting a postscript file into a pdf file:
To convert the postscript file into the pdf file filename.pdf, type

Converting a EPS file into a pdf file:
To convert the postscript file filename.eps into the pdf file filename.pdf, type
pstopdf filename.eps

Converting a pdf file into a postscript file:
To convert the pdf file filename.pdf into the postscript file, type
acroread -toPostScript filename.pdf or pdf2ps filename.pdf
You might want to try both to see which result looks better for your particular document.

Viewing and editing pdf files:
Acroread allows you to view your pdf files. To view filename.pdf, type
acroread filename.pdf
Very limited PDF editing may be done with the pdfedit application. To edit filename.pdf, type
pdfedit filename.pdf

How can I post password protected web pages and files?
You can create subdirectories of your web tree in ~/public_html that are accessible only to those with a username and password you designate. Here are some instructions and warnings about this process at

How do I allow certain users access to my files? What are ACLs?
ACLs are Access Control Lists. They allow you to set very fine grained permissions on files to grant permission for individual users, or groups of users, to read or write files that you own. Currently, you need to manage your ACLs from the command prompt and the configuration of ACLs is not trivial, it requires some knowledge of how permissions work on a unix system with regard to owners, groups, and others.

The best documentation I have found is available online at this page on
Using ACLs with Fedora Core 2. Start there and let us know if you are having any problems. We can update our documentation here to help others if you have any suggestions.

How can I mount my home directory from my home Linux machine?
The best way to mount your department home directory on your home linux machine is to use the Fusekernel module and the Fuse program sshfs. This is installed on all machines manage that are running at least Fedora Core 4. If you need help installing it on another linux system, first check the
sshfshomepage for info and then check with us if you need assistance.

To use sshfs, create a directory where you want to mount your home directory on your home machine, something like ~/mathis approriate. Then run the command :

sshfs ~/math

It will ask for your password (if your username is different on your home machine from the department, use for the first argument where username is your user name on the department systems).

Now your math department directory is mounted on the directory ~/math on your local machine. When you want to unmount it you can either run the command :

fusermount -u ~/math

or in a pinch, kill the sshfs process that is running (killall sshfswill work).

How can I mount my home directory from my home Windows or MacOSX machine?
WebDAV stands for "Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning". It is a set of extensions to the HTTP protocol which allows users to collaboratively edit and manage files on remote web servers. What that means is that you can store files in your home directory on the server and securely access them via standard https links for both upload and download. This allows you to store a ICS Calendar file for use with applications like Apple's iCal, Mozilla Sunbird, Evolution, KOrganizer, or any other WebDav enabled calendering application. Furthermore, it provides a method for mounting your home directory via the web on your home machine or laptop. For further infomation, see our page on
WebDav Access.

Maintained by: System Support Staff