Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science

Linux (Dragon) Quick Reference

In order to better manage an environment of this size, SCS Computing Facilities (SCSCF) has made several modifications and additions to the "standard" vendor software to manage the many Unix/Linux workstations within the CMU School of Computer Science. For more information on our SCSCF Dragon (managed) Linux environment, please visit the SCSCF Dragon information page.

Getting help

If you have a problem with your machine:

Logging in

To log in to an SCS Dragon Linux host, enter your SCS username and your SCS Kerberos password if you have an account on the computer. When using a local password you must run kinit after logging in in order to get tickets for authenticating to AFS and other services. If you are using the standard shell profiles provided by SCSCF you will be prompted to obtain AFS and Kerberos credentials if needed. 


SCS Dragon Linux hosts can receive nightly archived backups. Hosts must be left running, on the wired network, and booted into Linux for backups to occur. Most hosts are only put into the backup system if specifically requested. You can run:


This will allow you to check if your host is being backed up.  Visit our backup page form more information about our backup and data protection options. 

Reboots & shutdowns

You can damage your machine and/or lose data if you reboot it without first shutting it down properly.  To safely reboot Linux hosts, logout and then hit ctl-alt-delete. On most modern systems, a quick tap of the power button will also initiate a clean system shutdown. For other operating systems, use the vendor-supplied shutdown program to reboot your computer (requires root). If you do not have root, please contact us and we will reboot it for you. 

Root & local administration

If you are not experienced doing Unix/Linux system administration that requires root privileges or you need root access for a machine please contact us and we will assist you.  

SCS Dragon hosts are different in a few ways from stock vendor distributions. Please read the SCS Dragon Unix/Linux administration guide before making changes to your machine. Any network-aware software that you install must be kept up-to-date on security patches, and follow our network use policies.