CSA Computing Lab Basics - FAQs

  1. How to log-in to a text-based console ?
  2. How to log-in to GUI?
  3. Somebody has locked his Xsession. How can I log-in to my Xsession?
  4. How do I access my CSA mail?
  5. How do I check CSA newsgroup broadcast?
  6. How do I check my CSA mail from home?
  7. How do I browse the web?
  8. How do I get a SERC account! Do I need it?
  9. How do I get a Wireless LAN account?
  10. How to use the CL Printer?

  1. How to log-in to a text-based console?
  2. You can switch to any of the 6 virtual text-based consoles by pressing Control+Alt+F1 to Control+Alt+F6. Entering your log-in id and password, should bring up your log-in shell. You will find this mode very useful, if someone has locked his Xsession or if Xserver has locked up. Do not forget logging out after you are done. You can log-out by "exit" or "logout" commands.

  3. How to log-in to GUI?
  4. If you are not presented with graphical log-in prompt (Display Manager), you can switch to it by pressing Control+Alt+F7.

    However on some machines the Display Manager will not be running. On such machines you have to log-in to console and run startx. Logging out of your Xsession will bring you back to console.

    If some one is already running a Xsession, then again you have to log-in to a console and run "startx -- :1".

  5. How do I access my CSA mail?
  6. The default method is to use "pine". Here is a sample pine configuration. You have to copy this file into ~/.pinerc. The sample configuration has set most necessary keys (smtp-server, user-domain and inbox-path). You can further configure your pine within pine by navigating to Setup/Configuration.

    You can also check your mail with other mail clients which support UNIX mbox (eg. mutt, thunderbird, evolution). However they are not guaranteed to be installed in all machines. [Note: sending mail through mutt doesn't seem to work, since mutt has no inbuilt smtp-client and hence relays the message to local delivery agent which are not configured to do it] You will have to set the inbox path as "/var/spool/mail/deimos/loginid" and smtp-server as "deimos.csa.iisc.ernet.in". IMAP service is also provided. You can connect to deimos.csa.iisc.ernet.in using IMAP over SSL (port: 993). However connections are pretty slow.

  7. How do I check CSA newsgroup broadcast?
  8. The default method is to use "rtin". Running rtin should by default connect to news.csa.iisc.ernet.in. It will initially show a blank list of subscribed newsgroups. To subscribe to a newsgroup, press "y" to show a list of newsgroups available. You can subscribe to any of those by pressing "s".

    You can also check your newsgroup messages with thunderbird, mutt etc, by configuring the news server as "news.csa.iisc.ernet.in".

  9. How do I check my CSA mails from home?
  10. A simple method is to forward your mail to another mail account which you can access at home (say gmail, yahoo). To do this create the following file : ~/.forward Add to this file the list of mail addresses to which it has to be forwarded to.For example: \user, user@gmail.com, user.backup@yahoo.com The first mail id (\user) is added to keep messages in local mailbox.

    Another method is to ssh into deimos.csa.iisc.ernet.in and check your mail. However connections to deimos are generally slow.

  11. How do I browse the web?
  12. You can use the popular Firefox (a.k.a "firefox" or "mozilla-firefox" or "iceweasle"). However nothing can stop you from using Konqueror, Epiphany, lynx, links etc. as long as you have configure the proxy settings as below. The (http/ftp) proxy server as "iiscproxy1.serc.iisc.ernet.in" and port as "3128".

    To configure it in "firefox", run "firefox" and navigate to Edit->Preferences, switch to Advanced->Network->Settings. In this dialog, select "Manual proxy Configuration" and set the "HTTP Proxy" to above mentioned value, and port to "3128". select the checkbox "Use this proxy settings for all protocols". You should also add ".csa.iisc.ernet.in" to "No proxy for" textbox. [Note: In some versions of firefox, it is available by navigating to Edit->Preferences and then to "Connections Settings".]

    In some machines DNS server entries are not right, so you may have to use the IP address of the proxy instead. Currently proxy IP address is

  13. How do I get a SERC account? Do I need one?
  14. You can get a SERC computing account by submitting a form (signed by your Faculty Adviser, as far as I remember). The forms are available at SERC Office (First Floor). You will need to have a SERC account to apply for Wireless access and to use licensed software like Matlab for your assignments/projects (ModSim students will surely need this).

  15. How do I get a Wireless LAN account?
  16. It seems you should have a SERC account to begin with. Once you have a SERC account, you will have to submit a form at SERC Office (First Floor). The forms should be available at SERC Office. You can also find an online form here.

    Instructions to configure your laptops to access WLAN are available here

  17. How do I use the CL printer?
  18. You have to contact the printer admins(currently: Rupesh Nasre and Shobhit Singh) to open a new account (This account is different from your log-in accounts). You will have to pay a initial balance amount (say Rs.100/-), since printouts are charged a nominal amount.(A dual-side printout costs 50p per sheet. Check out the details with the printer admins.)

    The printer program is available at /home/scratch/Printer/clpr. You can create a symbolic link to it in you home directory. This is a command-line utility. So run it on a terminal!

    	"clpr -b" displays the credit balance left [They are updated as you take printouts]
    	"clpr -f " prints out a file.
    Currently only Postscript Level 2 files (.ps extension) can printed. You can convert a PDF into a Postscript file using "acrobat" (Adobe Acrobat Reader) and printing to a file.