OSU Network at your Disposal

Hello [your name here]! If you haven’t already been told by someone, at OSU, you have helpful resources offered by OSU at your disposal. This guide will show some cool things you can do with these resources.

First, it is assumed that you know how to ssh into other boxes, use a command line text editor, use bash, or any other Unix-like command line utilities. If you don’t yet know these things, go ahead and read these guides and remember, “Google is your friend and ally”.

  • How to Use SSH and specifically putty for you Windows users.
  • Basic BASH.
  • vim is a powerful text editor. It is worth learning if you are going to be editing a lot of files or coding in the terminal.
  • Emacs is a worthy editor as well. It is as powerful as vim, but has a very different style. Most of us use vim.
  • Nano is for when you don’t want to take the time to learn vim or emacs, both of which have somewhat steeper learning curves.

Now if some of those things are new to you, go ahead and spend some time getting used to using these tools. It will pay off in the long run. Don’t expect to be fluent in vim or Emacs right away. Becoming a vim master or Emacs guru takes a lot of time and practice. But in the end it pays off to learn either one of them.


Everyone has an ONID account. If you in the College of Engineering, you also have an engineering account. Along with being able to register for classes and rent things at the library with your ONID account, you also get access to web space and shell access to a Linux box called shell.onid.oregonstate.edu, aka shell. You can also refer to oregonstate.edu as o.e.

You can use your ONID user name and password to ssh into shell.

ssh [your onid user name]@shell.onid.oregonstate.edu

On shell there should be a directory called ~/public_html. If it isn’t there, go ahead and make it.

mkdir ~/public_html

Files you put in this directory (with the correct permissions) will be served by apache and be viewable by everyone on the Internet. Try it! Put a test file in that directory and then point your web browser at:

people.oregonstate.edu/~[your onid user name]

For example, mine is:


This is a great way to share files quickly with peers.

Community Web Services also allows you to have a blog. Check them out if you are interested, CWS.


flip.engr.oregonstate.edu, aka flip, is the COE (College of Engineering) shell server. Most of the things you can do on shell, you can do on flip four times faster (generally, this is because shell has two cores where flip as eight).

On flip, you can also access your COE webspace (yup, you have three potential websites, two by default).

people.engr.oregonstate.edu/~[your ENGR user name]

Also, you have root privileges nowhere which is a good thing. If you need to install something, do it in your home directory. There are caps for storage per user as well as for the number of processes you run, so don’t run too wild.


Going a little bit more in depth, flip.engr.o.e is actually a CNAME for three other boxes. domain name pointer flip3.engr.oregonstate.edu. domain name pointer flip1.engr.oregonstate.edu. domain name pointer flip2.engr.oregonstate.edu.

Your home directory is on an NFS mount so don’t worry about which server you are actually sshing into, your home directory will be on all of them. But, on each of those boxes there is a partition called /scratch. This is a per box partition (i.e. if you put a file on flip3’s /scratch it won’t show up in flip1 and flip2’s /scratch). All the scratch partitions are huge and freely used by all users.

If you have any questions, come hang out in the lug IRC room #osu-lug on irc.freenode.net. We are happy to answer them. For help with IRC see our IRC guide

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