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Connecting to the CAE Lab File Server (Off-campus Unix Users)

The following instructions should help you to connect to the CAE Lab's central file server from locations outside of campus, assuming some type of relatively modern Unix is installed on the local system.


Different Unix and Unix-like systems will have different programs installed to let them connect to the CAE Lab file server. If none of the instructions below are applicable to your system, please contact Mike Renfro (CH314, x3601) for more help.

Systems with gftp Installed

Start gftp, and enter the following at the top of the gftp window:
  • Host:
  • User: (your CAE Lab username)
  • Change the protocol dropdown box to SSH2

Click the connect icon to the left of the hostname box to begin connecting to the file server. If this is the first time you've connected to the file server from this system with gftp, the following dialog box will pop up. Click the Yes button to accept the server's encryption key.

Next, the password dialog box will pop up. Enter your CAE Lab password there, and click the OK button.

Assuming your password is correct, gftp will show you your home directory on the file server on the right, and a directory on your local system on the left. You can then drag files between the two sides of the gftp window, or to and from other windows in the Gnome file manager.

You'll want to ensure that files you upload to the file server cannot be read by other users on the server. There are several ways to do this. One is to select the FTP menu, and then select Options. Under the General tab, you can verify that the checkbox marked Preserve file permissions is checked.

Then, if your file permissions on your local Unix system are set such that no other users can view your files, gftp will keep those same permissions as it uploads files to the file server. Another method is to set the permissions of files that are already on the file server. Right-click a file in the right side of the gftp window, and select the chmod menu option. There, you can make sure that the User frame has its Read, Write, and possibly Execute checkboxes checked, and that the Group and Other frames have all their checkboxes cleared.

Systems with sftp Installed

sftp is a program similar to the traditional command-line ftp clients, but encrypts its activities with the secure shell (ssh) protocol. If you're familiar with command-line ftp, you can use sftp almost identically. You can start up an sftp session by typing:


where username should be replaced with your normal CAE Lab username. A sample sftp session is shown below.

Systems with rsync Installed

rsync is a convenient and efficient program for copying and synchronizing sets of files from one location to another. It is probably the simplest way to download a copy of a directory tree on the file server to the local system, modify it, and re-upload the changes. The following screenshot shows an example of downloading a directory off the file server to the local system:

rsync can also be used to upload directories from the local system back to the file server. If you made changes to only one file in the folder downloaded, when you re-upload the directory with rsync, only the changes (and any new files) will be sent, making for much quicker updates over slower or more remote connections. The following screenshot shows an example of an rsync upload after making a change to one MATLAB file that was downloaded:

Check the man page for rsync on your local system for more information on rsync flags and usage.

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