Using the CVL

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CVL Introduction

  • The CVL runs on Linux/Unix servers, primarily Centos (a Red Hat derivative). As such, familiarity with the Unix command-line is a useful skill.
  • You can access the CVL and it's software while working on a project from home or campus. This generally comes in either command-line form or as a graphical application launched via the command-line (referred to as a "shell"). There are many tutorials from which you can familiarize yourself with the basic unix commands 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 CVL software.
  • The most general commands you use to navigate the file system are:

ls: listing the files in your home directory mkdir: making project directories mv': moving files in and out of the directories

Here are some examples of tutorials:
UNIX / Linux Tutorial for Beginners
Introduction to the Unix Shell
Linux Commands in structured order

Connecting to the CVL remotely

  • The standard way to connect to the CVL remotely is with the program called "Secure Shell" (SSH), which has wide support on many operating systems. SSH establishes a secure, encrypted connection from the local shell to a command shell on a remote machine, and even allows for 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 the Windows or MacOS because they allow for interactions (viewing windows, buttons, pointing, clicking, etc) on a different machine than the one 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 local 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 local computer (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 by default, 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.
Note: At the end of the Xming Tutorial, you will be given the instructions on how to access the CVL remotely.
Xming tutorial
PuTTY tutorial
  • 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

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

  ssh -X

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

3. 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 ~

The files will be copied to your home directory on your local machine.

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