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Options for using Linux on your laptop

Occasionally your coursework requires you to use Unix but maybe you don’t want to work in the labs. 

Here are some links to help you get started using Unix on your laptops.

General information:

Learning the Shell

Beginner Geek: How to Start Using the Linux Terminal

Mac Users:

From a Mac, you will use the built-in Terminal application. At the command prompt type:

  • ssh -Y <hostname>

For example:

  • ssh -Y


Windows Users

Install Terminal Emulation software

1) You need an SSH client to log on remotely, such as Putty.

For basic compiling, this will work fine.

2)  If you need an X Server on your desktop use Xming:

You need to run an X server application if you need a pop-up window to appear from the command line, such as to view Netscape or some other application. Be sure that Xming is running before you type the command in the console. For my lab computers, I have it started automatically when a person logs in.  To do this, you put a shortcut to the application in the profile startup folder.

Putty configuration:

    1. Type in a hostname, such as or
    2. Check the box to allow X11 forwarding and select Magic Cookie authorization.
    3. Select Keyboard Interactive for authentication.

Here’s an example of the setup you will use:

Using Putty with Xming

3) To transfer files, you’ll need WinSCP

4) Need help using Unix or Linux? Read UCI’s Unix Guide:

Better yet, get yourself a book:


Installing Linux onto a CD


Virtual Versions of Linux

Here are some links and instructions to create your virtual linux environment: