The scope of this manual is a brief introduction on how to get started using powerful Linux command-line utilities.

How to Get Access?

  • Install your preferred ssh client on your local machine (we can help you with this).
  • Users at UC Riverside can apply for an account on our Linux clusters by sending an account request to Support (

Logging in

Mac or Linux

  • To log-in into the remote Linux shell, open terminal and type:

    ssh -X <your_username>@<host_name>

    host_name is the remote server’s domain name (e.g.
    You will be asked to enter your password. Simply type it and press enter.

  • To copy files To the server run the following on your workstation or laptop:

    scp -r <path_to_directory> <your_username>@<host_name>:

  • To copy files From the server run the following on your workstation or laptop:

    scp -r <your_username>@<host_name>:<path_to_directory> .


  1. Open PuTTY and select ssh. Download PuTTY if you do not have it.
  2. Provide the host name (the remote server’s domain name) and session name


  3. Enter your identity information

    username: your username
    password: your password

    Nothing will show-up,
    simply type the password and press enter.

  4. Setup for graphics emulation. Download and install Xming if you do not have it.

  5. Use WinSCP or FileZilla for file exchange. Download and install WinSCP or FileZilla if you do not have it.

Change Password

  1. Log-in to the cluster via SSH
  2. Once you have logged in, type the following command: passwd
  3. Enter your current password (the random characters that you were given as your initial password)
  4. Enter your new password (you will be asked to type it twice for verification)

Minimum password requirements

  • Total length at least 8 characters long
  • Must have at least 3 of the following:
    • Lowercase character
    • Uppercase character
    • Number
    • Punctuation charcter

Why GNU/Linux?

  • Software costs $0
  • Advanced Multitasking
  • Remote tasking (“real networking”)
  • Multiuser
  • Easy access to programming languages, databases, open-source projects
  • Software freedoms
    1. Free to use for any purpose
    2. Free to study and modify the source code
    3. Free to share
    4. Free to share modified versions
  • No dependence on vendors
  • Better performance
  • More up-to-date
  • Many more reasons…

GNU/Linux Distributions

  • Ubuntu - A beginner-friendly Linux OS based on Debian. A good choice for most people.
  • OpenSuSE - An alternative to Ubuntu for new users.
  • Debian - A general-purpose Linux OS with a large software package repository and support community.
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) - A general-purpose Linux OS supported by Red Hat, Inc. Requires purchase.
  • CentOS - A community-supported version of RHEL that’s free to download and use. The UCR HPCC cluster runs on CentOS 7.
  • Fedora - A developer-oriented Linux OS sponsored by Red Hat.
  • Arch Linux - A highly-customizable Linux OS for power users.

Family tree of the GNU/Linux distributions