Weeks Lab Computing Policy

Last update: February 19, 2009; written by Jason Boss (in consultation with Eric)

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Technical support issues should be routed to either Art or Jason,
depending on the base operating system of the issue.

Windows related problems should be routed to Art Kleyman
Ph: (404) 727-4734
Email: akleyman@physics.emory.edu

Linux and Macintosh related problems should be routed to Jason
Ph: (404) 727-4089
Email: jboss@physics.emory.edu

Both Art and Jason are fairly busy (we are a growing department)
and in general, with the exception of emergencies, support
requests should be sent to us in email.  This gives us the
opportunity to prioritize and get things done in an efficient

Some projects may take time to accomplish and I (Jason) want to
let you know that it is ok to check on the progress of a project,
but please use common sense. I have recently received multiple
email during the course of one day, concerning one issue and it
took longer to read the letters, than to fix the problem.


While we are happy to see customers try to solve problems
independently, you should be aware of some ground rules.  As with
all rules, some situations would supersede these, such as fire or
flood, again, use common sense.

A) Hardware

No one should alter a lab computer's hardware setup with the
following exceptions:
     1) Jason Boss
     2) Art Kleyman
     3) Jon Carr
     4) Someone who has my blessing

B) Network

Workstations may be removed from the network, but primary
multi-user machines are not to be removed from the network by lab
personnel, other than Eric.

Primary multi-user machines include:
     1) Spicysquid
     2) Curveball
     3) Mockr (the IDL license server next to the Wiki computer)

Before you disconnect a workstation, you *must* check to see who
is currently logged on (the w or who command will give you this
information).  The workstations are being used by multiple people
(running simulations remotely, etc).  It is important that they
log off before the workstation is removed from the network.

C) Software

Generally speaking you are able to install what software you
would like, but you should keep in mind that these are lab
machines and the installation and use of peer-to-peer file
sharing software (just as an example) is an excellent way to
infect subject machines with viruses, spyware, to get banned from
the network (this is done by Office of Information Technology, not me), a violation of
Emory's computer use policy, and is usually not professional.
Additionally, it is forbidden.

Software installation for Linux machines is limited to your
personal use.  If you have a super program you think that
everyone should use, talk with Eric.  If he approves I can add it
to the general distribution set that I use.

Software installation on Windows is limited to customers with
administrative access on individual machines.

rpm -qa will reveal all packages installed on the linux machine,
but beware, the listing on Diomedes, alone, is 18 pages long.

Currently installed 3rd party software:
MatLab R2008B
gqview 2.0.1
gifsicle 1.44
grace 5.1.21
pov-ray 3.6
First Class 8.047
latex2rtf 1.9.16a
pine 4.64
qhull 2003.1
xv 3.10a


A) Remote access

Due to security concerns, remote access is currently limited,
while a more robust solution is implemented.  If you need
specific access to a Linux machine remotely we can discuss
options to find a solution that balances security with usability.
Keep in mind that Eric will have to approve of any plan we

B) Increased privileges

All requests for increased privileges *must* be approved by Eric,
in email.  The easiest procedure for this is to email Jason Boss
with your request, and cc: Eric on the email.

C) Backups

Currently, none of the computers in the lab are being regularly
backed up.  If you are using a windows computer, we strongly
recommend storing your data on //luma/gr_weeks (which *is* backed
up each night).  You are responsible for backing up your data.
Eric.s home directory on Static is currently being backed up and
soon, the Spicysquid home directories will be similarly backed up
in the near future.

D) Screen savers/xlock

Locking your screen with xlock or a screen saver is against the
rules.  It makes it difficult to service or use the machine and
may require an administrator to force a log off (in which case
you will lose your unsaved work).  If you are finished with a
machine for the evening, my suggestion is to log off.  If you
have an ongoing computation (for example, if one were running
overnight) then you may want to post a note on the machine.  If
you aren't sure how to disable the password protection feature of
your screen saver, ask someone in the lab or Jason Boss.

E) Personal machines

Personal machines are a part of the lab, and the technical team
will do our best to help you get your machine working in the lab
environment.  In exchange we expect that you will behave
responsibly when installing software (see above), creating
passwords, etc. and you may need to compromise, to assure the
security of the laboratory (for example: Linux machines in the
lab need restrictive firewalls to help prevent hack attempts.)

Don't let all of this discourage you from contacting us.  We want
to work with you to create a superior computing environment and
need your cooperation to make that happen.