Account Specific Questions

Hardware Specific Questions

Software Specific Questions

Who is eligible for an Astronomy Account?

Astronomy accounts are available to any faculty, graduate student, or staff member within the department. This also includes post-doctoral students and adjunct faculty.

Undergraduate students majoring or minoring in Astronomy may receive an account after approval from their advisor.

Accounts may also be issued for collaborative work at the discretion of the system manager.

In order to request an account, please fill out this account request form.

What does an Astronomy Account provide?

An Astronomy account provides access to the departmental unix and linux machines, email, web-space, printing, and disk storage. All users are initially given 1 gigabyte of storage in their home directory, and are allowed more storage with proven academic need.

What are the rules and policies associated with an Astronomy account?

First and foremost, all users of the Department of Astronomy computing resources are bound by the rules in the University of Florida Acceptable Use Policy. Please take a moment to read the UF Acceptable Use policy.

The system manager reserves the right to temporarily disconnect any user, or machine, that causes a disruption in service to other users within the department. Additionally, access to Astronomy computing resources may be perminantly revoked for habitual offenders.

How do I login to the Astronomy network from remote?

Remote access to the Astronomy network can only be made by using Secure Shell and logging into the host You will also need to have the UF VPN client installed and functional.

First enable the VPN client. You can download the VPN client from If you have problems with the VPN client you should contact the UF Computing Help Desk at 352-392-HELP.

After you have enabled the VPN client, you can then open an SSH connection to Once you are logged into our systems, you may use pine to read your email, or ssh to login to another host within the department.

You may obtain a copy of SSH through the UF Soda Shoppe.

What public printers are available, and where are they?

The following printers are available to all users within the department. Some printers have special capabilities, such as duplex and color printing.

Printer NamePrinter TypeLocationSpecial Features
adminXerox Phaser 3610DNSSRB 211Black and White Duplex
mainXerox ColorQube 8900SSRB 226Black and White Duplex
mainsingXerox ColorQube 8900SSRB 226Black and White Single Sided
maincolorXerox ColorQube 8900SSRB 226Color, Duplex
maincolorsingXerox ColorQube 8900SSRB 226Color, Single Sided
thirdfloorXerox Phaser 3610DNSSRB 309Black and White, Duplex
gatirprintXerox Phaser 3635DNSSRB 427Inst. Group, Black and White, Duplex

What are the basic print commands on Suns? Linux machines?

From any of the Linux machines, the following commands are used for controlling print jobs.

To send a Postscript filelpr -P<printername> <>
To send a text fileenscript -P<printername> <filename.txt>
To check the queuelpq -P<printername>
To kill a print joblprm -P<printername> <jobid>

How do I print landscape? portrait? transparancies?

CUPS, the Common Unix Printing System, has some verbose options to change the way your jobs print.

The lpr command takes the -o flag, after which you can specify any number of options. Common ones include: To print transparencies, use the printer 'colort'.
Here are some example command lines to print the file paper.pdf:

lpr -Pdept -o sides=two-sided-long-edge paper.pdf
lpr -Pdept -o landscape media=letter paper.pdf
lpr -Pdept -o landscape sides=one-sided paper.pdf
lpr -Pcolor paper.pdf (for plain paper)
lpr -Pcolort paper.pdf (for transparencies)

More options can be found on this page.

To make things easier, we have created queues for both simplex and duplex modes for all of our duplex printers. The simplex queue is the queue name with the word "sing" appended, for example officesing is the simplex queue on the office printer.

I tried to print a PDF, and the printer says it printed, but nothing happened?

Unfortunately, the postscript interpreter in many HP printers is buggy. Because of this, it's possible for a poorly formatted PDF file to generate malformed postscript which the HP printers do not know how to properly handle. When this occurs, the HP printer will dump the print job, and act as if it was properly printed.

There are two things which cause this problem: 1. The buggy postscript interpreter on HP printers, and 2. A badly formed PDF document.

Although the following steps have worked for other people in the past, they may, or may not, work for you.

Why does this work?? pdf2ps appears to generate clean postscript, even when the source PDF is poorly formatted. The new postscript file should print on the department printers.

You can also try printing the initial pdf file to a postscript file, and then printing the postscript file from within Ghostview. However, the results of this technique are mixed.

What tape drives are available, and where are they?

Text to be added later

Where can I get posters printed?

There is a much less expensive (~4'x3' = about $5), quicker (~30 minutes) option, in a computer science lab just a few minutes walk away from Bryant. Once there, you can ask of the CIRCA computer lab workers (the folks in the blue vests) for further assistance.

They do print up to A0 format on the fly for 5 USD. You only have to bring the pdf file. Oh- and you need your myUFL login. That's how they send you the bill. The quality is actually pretty good, if you can live with the fact that the paper is relatively thin and not glossy.

The library's CIRCA lab with the do-it-yourself plotters: The paper quality isn't great, but that's because you only pay $3 per printout.

Biomedical Medial Services:
When the CIRCA lab is closed, I like to go to Biomedical Media Services in the Communicore Building, in the Shands complex (C3-03 Communicore, 352-273-5044). They have a nominal one business day turnaround, but if they are not busy, I can give them a poster early in the morning and have it dried and trimmed by early afternoon. They make really good-looking posters on glossy paper, and you don't have to worry about any do-it-yourself fiddling- they make sure it comes out well. The cost is typically ~$50-60, but depends on how much paper you use.

There is a poster printing facility in the BMS building near Shands that I have found to be pretty efficient, glossier than CSE lab, reasonably priced, and good quality.

Evidently, UF has some deal with them to print posters for about $20. You may need an account number that is associated with UF. I have not tested this yet.

Credits: Dimitri Veras, Brian Lee, Tom Kehoe, Joern Rossa, Marcos Huerta, Maren Hempel, David Edmeades, Jorg Peters, Eric Ford

What applications are available on the Astronomy network?

Text to be added later

What operating systems are available on the Astronomy network?

Text to be added later

Can you install xyz window manager?

Text to be added later

How can I use the Departmental letterhead from Star Office?

For our Solaris and Linux workstations, running Star Office 6.0, we have created a template with our departmental letterhead. In order to use the letterhead, do the following steps.

Where did my graphical login go?

You're probably in one of the six text terminals. These are accessed by holding [ctrl] and [alt] and pressing F1 through F6.

To get back to XWindows, hold [ctrl] and [alt] and press F7.

What libraries are installed in Linux? Solaris?

Under linux, the following libraries are installed:

How do I configure my environment so I can find the standard IDL functions?

In order to configure your environment so you can find standard IDL functions you must edit your ~/.cshrc file and add the following lines:

After you have edited the file, you can use the command source ~/.cshrc to activate your changes.

How do I use the publisher? Why does it not work for me?

The publisher is an application which is supported only on the host tweety. In order to use the publisher you mush use `ssh' to login to tweety, then you can launch it as "publisher".

If you find that you can not edit text within a publisher document, disable your numlock key.

How do I use hydrasim?

Hydrasim is a package to use the WIYN Hydra device. In order to use hydrasim, you must follow these instructions. Note, these instructions are for our linux workstations only.

Grab the Hydrasim binaries from here.

Extract the files into your home directory by issuing the command: tar xfvz <path-to-file>hydra_simulator.linux.0.1.tgz -C ~

Then add the following items to the bottom of your ~/.cshrc file:

  source ~/hydra_simulator/hydra.env.csh
  setenv TCL_LIBRARY /usr/lib/tcl8.4

The final step is to log out and log back in. The hydrasim utilities should all work now.

Last updated: 01/08/2011, Ken Sallot