Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science

Linux Support

SCS Computing Facilities (SCSCF) offers support for a customized build of Ubuntu Linux that includes support for issues relating to the operating system and its functionality (for a monthly charge).

We provide hardware and software support for the following Linux platforms:

  • Canonical Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
  • Canonical Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
  • Canonical Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  • Fedora 14
  • Rocks (CentOS based) Computational Clusters

General Purpose Linux Computing

SCSCF offers a group of Linux based computers for general purpose computing. See general purpose Linux computing for more details. This is a set of remote hosts which are accessible via SSH from your preferred terminal client or Linux's native terminal. This resource requires SCS Kerberos credentials to authenticate and allow logon. If you do not have an SCS account, visit our Account and Access section for more information.

Hardware Support

We provide repair and general hardware support services for hosts registered for SCSCF Hardware Support. We can perform checks on your system if if is not running as expected or if you encounter OS level issues. In addition, we also provide UPS battery backups for desktop/server hosts as part of that support. We even assist in relocation of supported equipment if it's moving within SCS buildings. Feel free to contact us if you have hardware problems with any host we support.


We publish a list of standard recommended computers and configurations, which offer good starting points for selecting SCSCF supportable equipment.  If you do not see what you need, we are always happy to explore unique and customized solutions that best fit your particular use-case requirements. We can work with you so you have the best equipment while retaining the ability to make use of our on-site certified Dell, Lenovo and Apple repair technicians. See the platform-specific pages for details on the types of hardware that work with our software environment and some additional information about SCSCF hardware support.  Submit a consultation request if you would like assistance before purchasing a computer. 

Managed Software Environment

Our Software Support service for newer Unix/Linux hosts includes the installation of an SCS-specific Unix/Linux environment that provides the means for remote administration, software distribution, network backups, and other services. See our getting started documentation for an introduction to using this environment.

Because supported Unix/Linux hosts run a custom environment, please see the SCS Dragon for Unix administration guide before making administrative changes to your system.

Computational Clusters

SCS Computing Facilities supports privately owned High Performance Computational (HPC) Clusters for various research and instructional groups.  These systems use the Rocks cluster distribution which is based on CentOS Linux.

More details about how we design and support computational clusters are available on our High Performance Computing page.

Older Managed Operating Systems

Older host operating systems ran under a management configuration we referred to as "Facilitized". Operating Systems running this tightly managed and highly customized environment may need to perform administration of these systems differently. If, on a "Facilitized" system, you are planning on installing software in /usr/local, either a new package or locally installing files that are currently being served out of AFS, you will need to use Depot to manage the installation.

Failure to make appropriate Depot configuration changes may result in installed software being overwritten or removed by the nightly software update process.

Unmanaged Systems

For approved platforms, we provide best-effort support of unmanaged systems via Service Configuration Add-Ons. Such systems are expected to be administered and maintained by the machine's owner or primary user(s). For approved platforms, SCS Facilities will provide vendor-native packages that provide up-to-date access information for core SCS services like AFS, Kerberos, printing, and backups.

Backups & Restores

See the Unix/Linux backup documentation for details on our Linux backup system and the limitations on what we can back up.

Most Linux hosts will not be put into the backup system (and thus will not receive backups) unless specifically requested.