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 (


  1. Open MobaXTerm Download MobaXTerm
  2. Click on “Start local terminal” in the center of the window.


  1. Download and install XQuartz, this is optional and only needed if you want X11 Forwarding.
  2. Open Terminal or iterm2

Logging in

  • Now that you have a terminal open, execute the following on the command line: 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> .

File Transfers

If you would rather use a graphical interface, instead of the command line, try FileZilla FileZilla for file exchanges.

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