The ECE Linux Lab, located in ECE 347, is intended for academic (course-related) use only, and is accessible to all students currently enrolled in at least one ECE course. The current Linux Lab workstations were funded by UW’s Student Technology Fee.

Important note: Remote access to the ECE Linux Lab requires use of UW’s Husky OnNet VPN.

The lab is comprised of the following workstations and servers:

  • Dell Precision 3630 Tower workstations located in ECE 347. These workstations are named sequentially, starting with and ending with . These are your best option for most purposes.
    • Specifications:
      • Dell Precision 3630 Tower
      • Intel Core i7-9700 3.0GHz (Cannon Lake) (8 cores)
      • 16GB RAM
      • 512GB Samsung SSD
      • Purchased in 2020
    • 21 of the workstations are configured with dual monitors, and can be used both in person (in 347) as well as remotely.
    • The remaining workstations are headless – configured for remote access only. The currently-available headless machines include:

  • The remote access server has the same software available as the lab workstations. It has more CPU and memory than the workstations, but is significantly older.
    • Specifications:
      • Silicon Mechanics server
      • 4x AMD Opteron 6376 2.3 GHz (64 cores total)
      • 256GB RAM
      • 1TB hard disk
      • Purchased in 2015
  • The lab workstations and the server all share networked home directories. This means if you save a file in your home directory while working on one machine, you’ll have that same file available to you when you log into any other lab machine.

OS and other details

  • The Linux Lab is intended for coursework. The machines were all purchased with STF funds. Research tasks are not to be run on these computers.
  • Nodes currently run CentOS 7.9 (64-bit). For specifics on the CPU, memory, and OS, check /etc/os-release, /proc/cpuinfo, and run the free command.
  • You may login at the console or remotely via ssh. Unix and macOS systems come with ssh built in; Windows users will need to install an ssh client such as putty.
  • Graphical programs such as cadence or sentaurus workbench can be run remotely as well as directly from the console. For remote access to Linux Lab graphical applications, we support using VNC.
  • When you are working in the Linux Lab, be sure to lock your screen whenever you step away from the system.


The UNIX Tutorial for Beginners covers how to use Linux systems. Another option is to read or ask questions at the Unix & Linux Stack Exchange.

    • Your Linux lab home directory will be the same on all the linux lab systems. This means if firefox crashes or otherwise leaves a stale lock behind, firefox will not start on any of the linux lab systems until that lock is removed.
ls -al ~/.mozilla/firefox/*.default/ | grep lock

Another problem may be from libreoffice lock files:

find ~/.config/libreoffice/ | grep lock

Which should be a text file containing the hostname libreoffice was run on. If that instance is no longer running, it should be safe to rm that lock file.

  • Please do not uncable, reboot, or shutdown the machines; other people may be logged on remotely (type the who command in a terminal to see who else is logged in). If your session has frozen on one computer, it is likely that you can SSH in from a different system and kill off any problematic processes. Never use kill -9, as this will likely leave orphaned lockfiles (especially for Gnome or Firefox) that will cause problems.


All Linux Lab systems share a common NFS server; this is where the user home directories, project dirs, and lab applications reside. There is a quota on disk space usage; if large amounts of disk space are required please instead use /tmp or /var/tmp which reside in the local system memory or on the local system disk. These directories should be significantly faster than the shared NFS server, and will not slow down all users if too much load is generated on the shared NFS server.

  • Use the following command to see how much local memory or disk space is available:
    df -h /tmp /var/tmp
  • Files can be more or less transparently moved to one of these directories via:
    mv somebigdir /var/tmp
    ln -s /var/tmp/somebigdir

If you need help with a quota issue please contact ECE computing.

Linux Lab SSH Access

It is strongly recommended that you use a profile for connecting to the linux lab hosts via SSH. For OpenSSH this might look like a ~/.ssh/config entry along the lines of

Host linux*
  User yournetid
  ControlMaster auto
  ControlPath ~/.ssh/.ssh-cm2.%r_%h_%p

as otherwise your client system may send an incorrect username (the one local to your system) that does not match your netid. Note also that yournetid is only the username portion, and not the full email address.