Getting Started

You And Your "Terminal"

UNIX is a case-sensitive operating system so you must type commands and instructions as they are presented in this course. The first thing to note is that your username is a lower-case username, i.e. it is abc1 and not ABC1.

NOTE: Before using a computer terminal on any UNIX system make sure that the <CAPS LOCK> key is off! UNIX requires the use of certain key combinations and two typical combinations which you will need to use early on are for "escape" and "end of file".

    when instructed to press <ESC> you type the key combination <CTRL/[> (i.e hold the <CTRL> down and press the "[" key at the same time)
    when instructed to press <EOF> you type the key combination <CTRL/D>

If you make a typing mistake, characters to the left of the cursor can be deleted by pressing the <BACKSPACE> key which is usually marked with a <X] or a left arrow <- symbol.

Logging On to a Unix services

To log on to the irix service first make a connection to your local service. Then at the login: prompt type in your username, for example:
Type:     abc1
Press:     <Return>

This initiates a second prompt:
Response:     Password:

Type in your password at this prompt and press <Return>

NOTE: Passwords are not shown on the terminal screen.

If you type your password correctly you will now be logged on.

NOTE: Until you are logged on the system does not know anything about your "terminal" and its keyboard. If you make a mistake typing your username or password type <CTRL/H> to delete the unwanted character(s).
New Users Logging On For The First Time

    The first time you log on to some services you are forced to change your password. This process is automatic and cannot be broken out of. Your new password must be at least 6 characters comprising of at least two alphabetic characters (a-z or A-Z) and at least one numerical character (0-9) which must be included within the first eight characters. Hence passwords cannot be "words" like merlin. See the section on "Passwords" for more information.

A Typical Log In Session

A typical log in session might be as follows. (Note: Some machine responses may differ.)

Welcome to the Unix Service


Type:     abc1
Press:     <Return>

If your password is accepted the system responds with its introductory message an example follows:

IRIX Release 6.4 IP27 owl
Copyright 1987-1997 Silicon Graphics, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Last login: Tue Feb 17 09:47:30 GMT 2010 by [email protected]

Welcome to the service on owl

you have mail

There is new news on the following subjects:

A list of any new news items follows - see "Reading The News" for information about reading news.

This is followed by a:


character which is the system prompt. The system is now waiting for further instructions (commands) from you as to what to do.

Logging Out of a Unix Service

At the end of a session it is important that you terminate your session with the system correctly - this is called logging out. To end your irix session:

Type:     exit
Press:     <Return>

DO NOT leave your terminal logged in to your account, this is a security hazard, anyone could access your account. Remember you are responsible for any action taken from your account.

Reading The News

The hosted services communicate urgent information to users of their service via a news facility. Please read news messages - they might actually be useful! If there is new news when you log in you will be greeted with a message followed by a list of the news items:

There is new news on the following subject:

To read the news messages:
Type:     news
Press:     <Return>

The above message is repeated followed by the first news item's title and the:
Response:     List news item <y/n>[y] ?
Type:     y
Press:     <Return>

After a news item has been listed on the screen the next news item's title is listed. A list of titles for all current news items can be obtained by:
Type:     news -a
Press:     <Return>

To list the contents of all current news items:
Type:     news -p
Press:     <Return>

To obtain help and further information on the usage of the news command:
Type:     news -h
Press:     <Return>