How to gain Remote Access to the CVL over the Internet

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An introduction to graphics on Linux/Unix machines like the CVL

While working on a project from home or campus, you can access the programs contained in the CAD and Visualization Lab. This generally comes in either command-line form or as a graphical application that is launched via the command-line (called a "shell" in Unix-speak). There are many tutorials from which you can familiarize yourself with the basic file operations that can be performed via the command-line shell. Fortunately, not very many of these command-line utilities are required to access and use the software installed in the CVL. Generally listing the files (ls) in your home directory, making project directories (mkdir), and moving files in and out of the directories (mv) are the only operations required.

Here are some examples of tutorials:
UNIX / Linux Tutorial for Beginners
'Introduction to the Unix Shell

The program called "Secure Shell" (SSH) is the supported way of connecting to a command-line shell on the CVL from another machine. This establishes a secure, encrypted connection to a command shell on a remote machine, which has wide support on many operating systems, and even allows file transfers over the same encrypted channel.

Applications on Unix are not restricted to command-line programs.

  • The Unix standard for graphical applications is called "X-windows," or just "X" for short. In fact, the graphics capabilities of this X-windows system are much more flexible than in Windows or MacOS because they allow for interactions (viewing windows, buttons, pointing, clicking, etc) on a different machine than is running the application. All that is required is a network connection between the two, and what's referred to as an "X-server" on the machine that allows the user to physically view the windows and manipulate the mouse. This "client/server" naming convention seems backwards in that the "server" runs on the workstation (e.g. your Windows laptop), and the "client" is the application running on the CVL (e.g. Matlab). Linux clients generally have this X-server installed, but Windows users have to install one if graphical access to the CVL is required.

Accessing the CVL Remotely from a Windows Operating System

In order to access the CVL from a Windows system, you must have a SSH client and a X-windows server installed on your Windows machine. ECE supports PuTTY as our SSH client and Xming as our X-windows server.

To download, install, and setup these programs follow these short tutorials.

Xming tutorial

PuTTY tutorial

At the end of the Xming Tutorial, you will be given the instructions on how to access the CVL remotely.

In order to copy and transfer files to and from your CVL account(e.g. Matlab scripts, data files for processing, etc), you must use a program similar to SSH for transferring files. One very simple application that can be used is called WinSCP. The WinSCP homepage has either a full installation package, or just a single executable file on its download page.

Accessing the CVL Remotely from a Unix Based Operating System

To access the CVL from a Unix or Mac OS X system just open a terminal and type:

  ssh -X

Use the user name and password that you created from the CVL Account creation page.

To copy files to your home directory on the CVL use the command:

  scp -r myfile

or, to get "myfile" from your home directory on the CVL, use the command:

  scp -r ~

This will copy them to your home directory on your local machine.

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