CSC128: Introduction to Linux

Using Linux for the first time

Location of the machines:

The main server's name that we all have our accounts on is, also known as which is where your web site is also located (more about this later in the semester).

The machine that we will be working on,, can only be accessed using a secure connection using putty and port 22. If you have a MAC you use terminal and type: ssh and login using the MAC terminal.

If you want to transfer files to your account you can download and install WinSCP which also uses the secure port 22.

Logging in:

You will either use the telnet or ssh program to log in to the lab if you are logging into the class machines remotely, or if you are in the class at a terminal console you will type your username and your password in the spaces provided.


Your username is typically your first initial and last name. You should have received your username from Parkland along with your confirmation that you are signed up with the class.


Your password will initially be in this format:


These fields are:
DD=day of your birth like 04, you were born on the 4th of the month
La=Last name's first 2 letters with one in caps. Mine would be "Ma"
*****=The first 5 digits of your new student ID number.

Change your Password

It is imperitave that everyone change their password the first time they log in. To change your password type you must connect to . Once on shaula type passwd, at this time the passwd utility will ask you to enter your OLD password and then press enter. You will then type your NEW password, press enter; and, then re-type your NEW password pressing enter after you re-type it.

Note that password changes on the Linux systems are propogated once per hour, so when you change your password on it may take up to 1 hour for your password to change on all of the lab machines that are located at: .

You should choose a password that has upper and lower case as well as numbers and special characters in it so that your account cannot be broken into by running a computerized dictionary against your user name in an effort to break into your account. You should never share your password with anyone, even the instructor. You always press enter to send a command to the system. With the shell we are using (bash) you can always push the backspace arrow or the back arrow to edit the command line before pressing enter. This is a big advance over older shells that did not allow you to edit the line that you were working on.

What if I make a mistake?

Often when working at the command line you type something and the shell cannot interpret it correctly and 'hangs'; to fix this situation you need to interrupt the execution of the program by sending the hung process a 'interrupt execution' signal. This is done by sending a ^c to the process (that's control-c) which is done by holding the control key down and hitting c at the same time. The ctrl-c should return your shell to interactive mode.

Finding Help

Unix has several ways to allow the user, whether a beginner or real expert, to find help on nearly every subject/utility etc. in the Unix system. The most common method of finding help about something is to access the man (manual) pages for a particular utility. For instance, someone wanting to find out how to use the ls command would issue the command man ls and the manual page for the ls command would come up. To page through the man pages the user will hit the spacebar, to quit the man page before reaching the end you would hit the q key which would return you to an interactive shell prompt.

If you do not know what command you are looking for you need to issue the apropos command. For instance apropos list will show you all the Unix utilities and other constructs with the word list in their database. See Appendix B.1 for a more complete listing of how to find help using Unix.