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Mihai's links about computing environment setup

Connecting remotely using an X-server.

Note: Some of the details apply only to the University of Chicago Stats Setup. It assumes password access, it would have to be modified for key or certificate acces.

I will give some of the details as independent of a specific link as possible. If a link is broken, search by key with Google.

In Windows -- using Xming.

1. Installation.

  • Find and download the latest version of Xming. I have tested version Xming-6-9-0-31, which I found on sourceforge at this link.
  • Double click on the .exe installer from where you installed it.
  • Press Next on the following options. Make sure the package item " Normal PUTTY Link SSH Client" is selected.
  • Choose "Create Desktop Icon for XLaunch" when you get to this option.
  • Press "Install" when you get to it, BUT do not choose run "Xming"
  • If somehow you did not follow the previous step :-) be sure no Xming is running. On the lower right, on the StartBar, you will otherwise see an Xming icon. Right-click on it and press exit.

2. Configuration for Xming Standalone (other versions exist, it is my favorite)

  • Double click the XLaunch Icon. If you cannot find it, Do Start->Xming->XLaunch.
  • In the opened Window: Check "Multiple Windows". Press Next.
  • Press "Start a Program". Next.
  • Choose "Start Program" as "xterm". Check "Using Putty". At "Connect to Computer" enter your favorite U of C Stats computing server (e.g. "", though I suggest not to have it as your first choice). At user and password enter your credentials that you use in the lab go login (I will guess they are Stats credentials).
  • Press Next
  • IMPORTANT: Save configuration to a place you can easily access. I save mine on desktop as "config" -- it should display an Xming icon.
  • Kill the Xserver (unnecessary, but to simplify next explanation). Right click on the X icon in the Start bar at your right and select "Exit"

3. Use Xming Standalone connection to access U of C Stats lab workstation.

  • Double click on the "config" file.
  • A password box will appear. Enter your password.
  • A remote terminal should now appear and you are connected.
  • I suggest opening a new xterm in the background ("xterm &") and, in this one, you can open matlab (again "matlab &"). The ampersand frees the cursor in the calling window.
  • You should now be able to do most things you do in the lab.
  • My preference: Kill the x-server when you do not need it.

4. Use Xming with Putty (If somehow Xming Standalone does not work, but the Xserver does locally).

  • Download the putty package. You can download the executables one by one but I recommend getting the installer. On Jan 5 2010 the beta 0.6 version was here. (though I always recommend using google to search for it since free software links break often).
  • Start only the Xming server. More than one way to do it. For example
    • Double click Xlaunch
    • Select: multiple windows, press Next
    • Select: "Start no client" press Next
    • Press Next (you can save confguration if next time you want to save doing the steps above).
    • Press finish.
  • Configure putty to allow X forwarding.
    • Double click on the putty Icon. (e.g in its installation folder or from start bar).
    • Open the menu Connection->SSH->X11.
    • Choose "Enable X11 forwarding"
    • Open menu Session.
    • Enter hostname (if you use putty you likely have done the last 2 steps before). E.g "aramis ..."
    • Login with your stats credentials.
    • Enter "xterm &" at the prompt.
  • One xterm in Xmode should appear in your screen. Run matlab& and matlab should appear.(or any other linux application on the servers).

In Max OS X and Linux.

  • ssh and the X-server are natively supported.
  • At an xterm prompt, type "ssh -Y <your_user_name>@<statsmachine>" . For <statsmachine> you can use "aramis" though try to find a better less-used-at-the-time computer.
  • If you do "xterm & " and "matlab &" you should be able to run an xterm and Matlab, and you should see windows as you do in the lab.

In Windows, using cygwin.

Cygwin is a package that offers much of the UNIX functionality under Windows. If all one wants to do with it is remote access to matlab or R, it may be on overkill, since it is very powerfull but also quite large in size and many of the installable packages mean very little to the casual user. On Jan 5 2009 it can be installed from here. In the install script, be sure you have chosen for installation a) the X11 package, and b) OpenSSH,

Once that is done, all one has to do is to start the cygwin X server and an xterm (normally a link is provided after the install that does just that). After which one proceeds the same as in the MacOS X or Linux case above.



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Last modified: January 05, 2010