Logging into the CSC Unix system

To ensure security and organization on a system with many users, Unix machines employ a system of user accounts. Unix accounts have been created for all students enrolled in CSC classes. This section familiarizes you with logging in and out your own Unix account.

This semester we will be working on two types of Unix machines: two Sun machines named tanner and degas, and two Linux machines names felix and helix. You can connect to tanner or csgate (an old machine that only serves as a gateway) remotely using the secure shell SSH, which you can download on your laptop from

From tanner, you can open an SSH connection to felix by typing it at the shell prompt
         ssh felix
Within campus, you have the option to connect to felix, or any other Unix machine directly from your laptop (without going through tanner).

Logging in

Logging in to a Unix system requires two pieces of information: a username, and a password. To log into tanner, follow the following sequence of steps.

On any Windows machine within the domain villanova.edu, click on Start, then navigate the menus to locate the Socket Secure Shell (SSH) program. Invoke SSH. A window will pop up, which you can activate by hitting Enter (alternately, select Connect from the File menu option on top left). In the host name box, type in

In the user name box, type in your Unix account name and hit the return key. You will be prompted for your password next. When you type your password, the screen will not display what you type. A terminal window running the Unix shell will open on your screen. Any command that you type in at the shell prompt will now run on tanner and the result will be displayed in your terminal window.

Logging out

When you're ready to quit, type the command
Before you leave your terminal, make sure that the computer indicates that you have successfully logged out. If you have left any unresolved processes, the Unix system will require you to resolve them before it will let you log out. Some shells will recognize other commands to log you out, like logout.

Your username

Your username is the first letter of your first name followed by the last name (no more than 8 characters for a username, all in lower case). Your username must be unique on the system where your account exists since it is the means by which you are identified on the system. To ensure uniqueness, the algorithm for generating a username is
  1. First Character of First Name + Last Name (first 7 chars)
  2. First Char of First Name + Initial + Last Name (first 6 chars) (if no initial, the second char of first name)
  3. First and Last Char of First Name + Last Name (first 6 chars)
  4. First Char of First Name + 1 + Last Name (first 6 chars)
  5. First Char of First Name + 2 + Last Name (first 6 chars)
  6. First Char of First Name + 3 + Last Name (first 6 chars)
  7. First Char of First Name + 4 + Last Name (first 6 chars)
  8. First Char of First Name + 5 + Last Name (first 6 chars)
  9. First Char of First Name + 6 + Last Name (first 6 chars)
  10. First Char of First Name + 7 + Last Name (first 6 chars)
  11. First Char of First Name + 8 + Last Name (first 6 chars)
  12. First Char of First Name + 9 + Last Name (first 6 chars)

Your password

When your account has been created, a password has been assigned. If this is a new account, your password has been set to the letters 'fL' followed by the villanova student id number (e.g., fL12345678). (Remember: the student id number is not your social security number; it is your Banner ID, as displayed in Novasis.)

The first thing you should do is change your password, using the passwd utility. Make sure you are logged onto a machine OTHER THAN felix (tanner, for instance) when you change your password. To change your password, type the command

after you have logged in. The system will ask for your old password, to prevent someone else from sneaking up, and changing your password. Then it will ask for your new password. You will be asked to confirm your new password, to make sure that you didn't mistype. It is very important that you choose a good password, so that someone else cannot guess it.