Tips for using NX to work on our Linux Computers from home or your desk

NX is a fast way to work with a remote Linux desktop on a PC or Mac. The optical imaging Analysis computer in HSE-853a (mps-pc1) and the 2-photon imaging computer in HSE-860 (mps-pc28) both run the free versions of NX Servers to which you can connect. NX is free from its commercial provider for non-profits and educational institutions, so there is no need for licenses. NX works incredibly well, and using it from a quiet office on a machine with a big screen is almost always preferable to doing the same work in a noisy lab with a cramped keyboard and screen small enough to fit in a rack.

NX clients for PC and Mac are downloaded from nomachine.com . For example, the Mac OSX Client is at http://www.nomachine.com/download-client-macosx.php . Follow nomachine's instructions to download and install. Configure your session with an arbitrary name, the fully qualified domain name of the NX server (mps-pc1.ucsf.edu for example), the normal Keck Center ssh port number (instead of the deault 22), and (using the advanced configuration box, and probably its custom display size option) the screen size of the session that you want to establish--usually the full screen size of the machine you are sitting at, possibly minus the Taskbar or Dock. Then click login on your NX Client for OSX or NX Client for Windows. You will see a screen start up on your machine that looks exactly like the screen on the console of the Linux machine. To close this screen when you finish working, just logout as you might do from the console. What goes on in your client will not affect the screen seen by someone sitting at another client or at the actual console.

Tip: If your NX client does not work, or stops working, go to the local NX configuration folder (/Users/yourname/.nx on the Mac) and delete all the files in it. (You have to use the Terminal application on the Mac to do this because the normal Finder does not display filenames that start with a period.) Then start the client's NX Configuration Wizard to configure it again, and everything should work fine. We have had problems with stale, year-old configuration files that keep NX from working and that disappear when this is done.

--Michael Stryker, November 5, 2010