Part 1: Logging on to an UNIX machine from a PC using VNC
During the EE454L and EE457 courses (and perhaps partly in EE459L and EE560 courses) we will be
using the schematic entry and simulation software called “ePD.” This program runs only on our UNIX
machines. The user has two options to use the program:
1. From any UNIX machine in SAL,
2. From any Windows (XP/vista/7) PC (either on campus or at home) with a high-speed internet
connection (like DSL or cable-modem) using a program called Virtual Network Computing
or VNC for short.
3. From a Windows (XP/vista/7) PC on campus or on ResNet in USC dorms using XWin32.
This section describes option 2:
VNC is freely available on the web from www.realvnc.com. VNC provides a remote login to one of the three
USC UNIX servers, aludra, nunki, or girtab, but unlike PuTTy, it provides a graphical user interface. In
order to establish a connection to aludra or nunki or girtab using VNC the user has to go through the fol-
It is assumed that you have downloaded PuTTY (SSH) on to your PC from the https://software.usc.edu/
index.aspx#DISTRIBUTED ( or go to http://www.usc.edu/its and click on Free Software )
1. Bring up a PuTTY (SSH) connection from the WINDOWS PC to aludra (or nunki or girtab) by click-
ing SSH to host (PuTTy) icon ( "C:\Program Files\PuTTY\putty.exe" ).
2. Logon on to aludra using your UNIX user name and password (same as your USC email account
name and password).
3. Once you are logged in, launch the vncserver by typing the command vncserver (here we are
assuming that you have already setup your unix account for ePD and that your unix path is able to find the
vncserver command. If you did not setup for ePD yet, do at least the first step in setting up for ePD namely
execute the following command in your home directory, and then logout and login.
Of course you can invoke vncserver alternatively (without setting up for ePD) using the full path
for the command as follows:
Following is an example screen capture when the command vncserver was entered at the prompt:
Note that it asks you to set a password the very first time you invoke vncserver. This password need not be same as your UNIX pass-
word. Most users select another password for vnc so that they can easily collaborate with their lab partner. You use this password to
authenticate the vncviewer running on your PC.
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You will require a password to access your desktops.
(ignore the bunch of warnings dumped on your screen!
Look for the last few lines looking like the following:)
New 'nunki.usc.edu:10005 (eeview)' desktop is nunki.usc.edu:10005
access with: vncviewer nunki.usc.edu:15005
kill with: vncserver -kill :10005
Starting applications specified in /home/scf-06/eeview/.vnc/xstartup
Log file is /home/scf-06/eeview/.vnc/nunki.usc.edu:10005.log
On the Windows PC download the free VNC viewer 4.1.2 from http://www.realvnc.com/ .
Procedure: Go to http://www.realvnc.com/ . Click on download it now on the left panel which will
take you to http://www.realvnc.com/download.html .
In the VNC Downloads table, click on Download & Use under the Free Edition column.
This takes you to http://www.realvnc.com/products/free/4.1/download.html
You do not need fill-in the form. Just click on Proceed to download .
This takes you to http://www.realvnc.com/cgi-bin/download.cgi .
Towards the bottom of the table look for the following and download the executable on to your desktop.
Click on the Download next to Executable (264K).
This takes you to http://www.realvnc.com/cgi-bin/download.cgi
Accept the license agreement and click on download.
Download and place the executable (vnc-4_1_2-x86_win32_viewer.exe) on the desktop. No
installation is needed! Note that this is particularly convenient when you are working on a friend’s/office
PCs where you do not have installation rights. You can just carry the vnc viewer executable on a memory
stick and use it with no installation.
1. You will see the following icon on your desktop.
Click on the icon and run the VNC Viewer executable.
This brings up a small window titled “VNC Viewer: Con-
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2. The line, “access with: vncviewer
nunki.usc.edu:15005“ states that you should type
nunki.usc.edu:15005 in the Server box in the
“VNC Viewer Connection Details” window. The
“15005” in this example is to be replaced by whatever
port number you were assigned when you invoke vnc-
3. An alternative to the above (downloading VNC Viewer on your PC and invoking it) is to use a web-
browser (example: Microsoft Internet Explorer) and access your unix desktop with “ http://
nunki.usc.edu:14005 “. This did not work on 8/29/2006.
In order to close the VNC connection properly the user has to follow these steps:
1. Close the VNC desktop window.
2. Go back to the PuTTy (SSH) window and run the following command:
This “cleanup” script will terminate any ePD related processes
and also will kill vncserver process.
If you just want to kill vncserver process, you can use the following command:
vncserver -kill :10005
Note that one of the last few lines in the response to vncserver invocation was:
kill with: vncserver -kill :10005
So in your case the number will be something else (not necessarily 10005).
3. NOTE: IT IS IMPORTANT TO TERMINATE THE VNC PROCESS PROPERLY SINCE THE PORTS
HAVE TO BE FREED UP SO THAT OTHER STUDENTS CAN USE THEM!!!
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Part 2: Logging on to an UNIX machine from a PC on ResNet
Note: This part is not written in detail. You may need help from someone experienced to fill-in the gaps.
Also we have noticed that XWin32 runs very slow in the case of ePD. So this mode is NOT desirable to
use with ePD.
Some related references: http://www.usc.edu/its/new/ , http://www.usc.edu/its/resnet/ ,
Another popular program used by USC students on USCNet or ResNet (only on ResNet in the USC dorms
and campus housing around the campus) to access UNIX applications requiring GUI is XWin32 from Star-
net Communications (http://www.starnet.com/). This is a licensed software and can be downloaded only by
USC students having an unix account. Note that the PCs on ResNet (128.125.*.* IP addresses) or USC
campus net only can use this program. Any other DSL or Cable Modem from outside areas with IP
addresses other than 128.125.*.* will not be able to use XWin32.
Go to http://www.usc.edu/its/ and click on Software. This takes you to http://www.usc.edu/its/software/
index.html. Click on Software Freely Distributed by ITS . This takes you to https://shib1.usc.edu/usc-
net/login. Login to your UNIX account.
That takes you to https://software.usc.edu/index.aspx . Click-on one of the following
Windows 2000 downloads
Windows ME downloads
Windows XP downloads
Click on Windows XP downloads. Then click on X-win32 7.1 (25.6 MB). Save it on your desktop and
install the software.
Now invoke XWin32. Left-click on the “X” in the task tray.
Select SSH (scf) perhaps. Use your UNIX user ID and password to login.
The OLD XWin (Xwin32 4.1) was awfully slow for using ePD from home PCs outside ResNet. I do not
know if the new XWin (XWin32 7.1) is reasonably good for use with ePD. Some say it is fine. I find it very
slow when I tried it from my home PC. I have a cable connection from Time Warner. Xwin32 may be OK on
ResNet. It is OK when I use it from my office on campus (EEB238). There may some “font” problem when
you use ePD on XWin32. It may require installation of some special fonts from Mentor Graphics. So my
recommendation is that you all use vncserver/vncviewer when working with ePD from a PC.
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