Go to the U of M home page
School of Physics & Astronomy
Physics & Astronomy Wiki


This is an old revision of the document!

Tate Lab Support Policy

Supported Systems


The installation and maintenance of specific hardware and software for UNIX, Linux and Windows systems is supported. No support will be provided for any systems that fall outside the following categories. Support for all stand-alone Windows, Linux, Macintosh and other systems is provided by the user. Strict computer security limits apply to connecting any computers to the Physics network.

For help with personal laptops we recommend either contacting University's 1-HELP computer support line or visiting the Tech Stop at Coffman Union.


We support systems running our centrally administered Linux distribution.

Currently the supported Linux installation is Scientific Linux. Systems that require the use of special drivers are not supported.

Linux systems must be configured with a dedicated disk for the operating system and second disk drive for the user's local data (if any). Home directories are accessed over the network by NFS from our main file server.

Root access is not available for end users on these systems. Where necessary, certain administrative functions will be made available using the “sudo” command.


The version of Unix running on the department's cluster is HP (Digital/Compaq) Tru64 Unix. The Tru64 cluster is in the process of being phased out as Tru64 is nearing the end of its support life. A cluster of Linux machines replaces it.


PC systems running our customized installation of Windows XP are supported as part of the department's Windows domain. The systems are configured with their hard drive dedicated for the system and applications; user data must be stored on the network file server. The OS is installed using disk-imaging (Ghost) which requires specific hardware for compatibility. Systems not meeting the hardware requirement cannot be supported. Administrator-level access for software installation and other system changes is not available for end-users on these systems.

Software Support

Managed Systems

All centrally managed systems are provided with a wide range of commonly used software. These include compliers, Tex/LaTex web browsers, MSOffice products ands the like. Applications on maintained systems are supported to the extent that they are installed and operate correctly. Support for the use of these applications is not available within the department.


Several software packages are distributed for users to install on their own self-managed systems. Details of available software is provided on the web site.


Supported Unix and Windows home directories on the department's centrally managed systems are backed up every night. VMS is NOT being backed up.

A Network-based backup service is available by request for Windows, MacOS systems. It will be necessary to install client software on the systems to be backed up; this installation will be the end users responsibility. Directions are available on our website.


mail.physics.umn.edu is the only supported mail server within the department. Access is available via IMAP mail clients. SSL encryption is also required. You may also access your mail via the the Physics or UMN webmail interfaces. The supported mail clients is Thunderbird - information on how to configure this is provided on the web site.

Users may choose to use the UMN mail system instead. In this case physics mail should be forwarded there.


Two web servers are operated by the department.


www.physics.umn.edu is the department's main web server. This is used for general departmental information, class pages and other administrative functions.


A second server is available for other uses by members of the department. The following services are supported:

  • Personal web pages may be hosted on webusers.physics.umn.edu.
  • Groups can either create pages on groups.physics.umn.edu, or else a virtual server can be created after the group's name (e.g. cosmos.physics.umn.edu). The first option is simplest for basic sites; the second allows easier CGI hosting.
  • Each research group account can have an associated MySQL database created for them. An optional web-based interface to the MySQL server is provided.
  • Perl and PHP scripting languages are supported.

SSL encryption is not currently available on this machine.

Network access

Network addressing for all non-server systems is provided wherever possible by DHCP, which can provide either dynamic or static addresses. Registration of the system's ethernet hardware address is required for DHCP service.

Print queues for Windows and Unix systems are provided on our main server, via CUPS for unix clients, and Samba for Windows.

Network access is by default restricted by our firewall policy. It may not be possible to pass some kinds of traffic in a secure manner. In special circumstances a separate network segment can be created for particular systems.

Wireless network access is provided in some areas of Tate Lab to any user who can authenticate using their University X.500 username and password. The wireless network is logically separate from the departmental wired network, and subject to different security restrictions. Wireless coverage area will be expanded as resources permit. Operation of personal wireless access points is not permitted.


All users must meet both University and Departmental security standards which ca n be found at http://www1.umn.edu/oit/security/ and in these pages.

computing/policies/system_support.1272061238.txt.gz · Last modified: 2010/04/23 17:20 by holms