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ECE Linux Lab

Important Note About Upcoming Linux Lab Downtime

Starting Monday, August 23 (right after the end of Summer quarter), the ECE Linux Lab - both workstations and servers - and the ECE Linux file server will be UNAVAILABLE for up to two weeks for maintenance and reconfiguration work. Existing login sessions will be terminated - so be sure to finish and save all of your work before that date.

Any questions should be directed to .

The ECE Linux Lab is intended for academic (course-related) use only, and is accessible to all students currently enrolled in at least one ECE course. The current Linux Lab workstations were funded by the Student Technology Fee.

Important note: Remote access to the ECE Linux Lab requires use of UW's Husky OnNet VPN.

The lab comprised of the following workstations and servers:

  • 40 desktops in ECE 159, named through (001 through 040 were older systems which have now been retired).
  • Special note: the machines,, and are currently being used for testing and are therefore not available
  • The main remote access server, which has more CPU and memory than others
  • Older remote access servers,,,,, and

The Linux Lab systems linux-lab-041 through linux-lab-080 have the following hardware:

  • Dell Precision 3630 Tower
  • Intel Core i7-9700 3.0GHz (Cannon Lake)
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB Samsung SSD
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060

OS and other details:

  • The Linux Lab is purposed for coursework. Research tasks should not be run on these machines.
  • Nodes run CentOS release 7 (64-bit). For specifics on the CPU, memory, and OS, check /etc/redhat-release, /proc/cpuinfo, and run the free command.
  • You may login at the console or remotely via SSH. i.e. ssh where NNN is the node number, or for the many-processor system with lots of memory. Unix and Mac OS X systems should have a ssh command available from OpenSSH; Windows systems will need to have a SSH client installed.
  • Remote X11 forwarding for graphical programs such as cadence requires a X11 server to be installed on the client system, such as XQuartz on Mac OS X or Xming on Windows. VNC is another option, though requires starting a server on ideally one of the linux lab server room systems.
  • Always lock your screen when you are away from the system.


The UNIX Tutorial for Beginners covers how to use Linux systems. Another option is to read or ask questions at the Unix & Linux Stack Exchange.

  • Your Linux lab home directory will be the same on all the linux lab systems. This means if firefox crashes or otherwise leaves a stale lock behind, firefox will not start on any of the linux lab systems until that lock is removed.
  • ls -al ~/.mozilla/firefox/*.default/ | grep lock

    Another problem may be from libreoffice lock files:

    find ~/.config/libreoffice/ | grep lock

    Which should be a text file containing the hostname libreoffice was run on. If that instance is no longer running, it should be safe to rm that lock file.

  • Please do not uncable, reboot, or shutdown the machines; other people may be logged on remotely (type the who command in a terminal to see who else is logged in). If your session has frozen on one computer, it is likely that you can SSH in from a different system and kill off any problematic processes. Never use kill -9, as this will likely leave orphaned lockfiles (especially for Gnome or Firefox) that will cause problems.


All the linux lab systems share a common NFS server; this is where the user home directories, project dirs, and lab applications reside. There is a quota on disk space usage; if large amounts of disk space are required please instead use /tmp or /var/tmp which reside in the local system memory or on the local system disk. These directories should be significantly faster than the shared NFS server, and will not slow down all users if too much load is generated on the shared NFS server.

  • Use the following command to see how much local memory or disk space is available:

    df -h /tmp /var/tmp
  • Files can be more or less transparently moved to one of these directories via:

    mv somebigdir /var/tmp
    ln -s /var/tmp/somebigdir

If you need help with a quota issue please contact ECE computing.

Linux Lab SSH Access

It is strongly recommended that you use a profile for connecting to the linux lab hosts via SSH. For OpenSSH this might look like a ~/.ssh/config entry along the lines of

Host linux*
  User yournetid
  ControlMaster auto
  ControlPath ~/.ssh/.ssh-cm2.%r_%h_%p

as otherwise your client system may send an incorrect username (the one local to your system) that does not match your netid. Note also that yournetid is only the username portion, and not the full email address.