Computing FAQ

We've collected answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) for computing and software in the UC Davis Mathematics Department. Choose a question below to display the answer. Email if you have a problem not detailed here.

Emergency Related Questions

How do I recover files I accidentally deleted?

If you lost a file please write email to and include

  • full path for files lost
  • when the files were created
  • the last time the files were edited
  • when the files were lost

In most cases we can recover files that have been missing for 2 weeks or less.

What do I do if I cannot save my files in my home directory?

If you suddenly cannot access your home and need to write a file or data you are working on you can write it to the /tmp/ directory and then move it to your home directory once your home directory is available again.

General Questions

How can I use GNU screen on the math servers?

screen can be used to run programs on a server for long periods of time without having to stay logged on. It allows for disconnecting and reconnecting from the server and being able to resume your "screen session" and pick up where you left off. Once a screen session is started, you can disconnect and reconnect as many times as you wish as long as the screen session is running.

In this example, we use the trivial example of keeping a vi editor running within screen on the math server In general, you could replace running vi with any other terminal program.

Starting a screen for the first time.

Below, I start screen and use the '-S' option to assign it a name. The name I am assigning is 'myvi'. You can of course use any name you choose. Assigning a screen session a name makes it easier to resume it in the future.

	leng@line:~$ screen -S myvi

After starting screen with the command above, you are put back at a shell prompt. This shell prompt is within your screen session. Using our example, you can now start your program.

	leng@line:~$ vi

There, now you have done it. You have started a screen session and started a program within that screen session. Assuming nothing has interrupted

Disconnecting from a screen session

To disconnect from a screen session, hit ctrl-a, then ctrl-d. You will see something similar to the following:

leng@line:~$ screen -S myvi

[1]+  Stopped                 screen -S myvi

You can now logout from the server. You will be told, that "There are stopped jobs" after issuing the 'exit' or 'logout' command, but just go ahead and logout again.

leng@line:~$ exit
There are stopped jobs.

Resuming a screen session

First, log back into the server that you started screen on. In our example, that was

Once connected, use the following command to resume your screen session. The '-r' tells screen to resume to the screen session you specify. Replace the 'myvi' name with whatever name you originally used for your screen session.

leng@line:~$ screen -r myvi

You will now be back inside your screen session where you left off.

Exiting a screen session

To exit and end a screen session, just use the 'exit' or 'logout' command from the command prompt within your screen session.

How do I edit text files on my math account?

Two popular text editors on linux are vi and emacs. They can be started with

# vi filename.txt


# emacs filename.txt

There are many online tutorials available for the two editors. We suggest looking through a few and finding one that suits you

vi tutorials from google

emacs tutorials from google

How do I find contact information for someone on campus?

Go to the UC Davis Directory or use the whois command.

example whois command:

[zjohnson@after zjohnson]$ whois
Name                     UCD MailID                       UCD LoginID
Larry Vanderhoef         (lnvanderhoef)                   lnvander
Rosalie Vanderhoef       (rsvanderhoef)                   rsvander
You have new mail in /var/spool/mail/zjohnson
[zjohnson@after zjohnson]$ whois
Name:               Larry Vanderhoef
Email Address:
Delivery Host:
UCD LoginID:        lnvander
UC NetID:           47808
Title:              Chancellor
Department:         Chancellor's Office
Mailstop:           0550 Mrak Hall
Telephone:          (530)752-2065

How do I make sure other people cannot read files in my home directory?

If you want to restrict access to all of your existing files except files located in public_html, and make it so files created by you in the future will not be readable by anyone but you please run the following commands: (you can cut and paste them directly into another terminal window to run them).

echo "umask 077" >> ~/.bash_profile
chmod 700 ~/.bash_profile
source ~/.bash_profile
chmod -R 700 ~
chmod -R 755 ~/public_html
chmod 755 ~ 

How do I obtain a central campus account?

If you are new to the university and have not gotten a central campus login go to the UC Davis Computing Account Services page.

How do I obtain a math account?

If you are enrolled in a class which requires use of the math lab go to:

If you are a..

undergrad, math major, faculty, graduate student, or instructor

Please see any of the staff to request an account (bring proof of identity).

How do I verify the md5 checksum of a file?

Under Linux simply run

# md5sum file

If you are running windows check out

How do I write a good trouble report?

Write email to

Be as detailed as possible. If you answer the following questions it should be an excellent report:

What room and building are you sitting in?
What is the name or IP address of the computer you are using?
Did you get an error, if yes, can you cut and paste it into the report?
On which system did you attempt to perform the function which failed?
What time did the problem occur?

So I'm teaching a class which meets outside of the math building, what should I do?

1. Find the building where it is located with the map found here:
2. Check the registrar website for information about the room here:
3. Register your laptop's MAC address so it can be used with the ethernet network connections in the class rooms here:
4. If it happens to be in a computer lab this site may be useful:

PDF & Latex Related Questions

How do I combine two PDF files into one?

One way is to convert them into postscript files, conbine them, and then turn back into a PDF. Example:

$ ls
$ pdf2ps frogs.pdf
$ pdf2ps tiger.pdf
$ cat >>
$ ps2ps
$ ps2pdf frogs_and_tiger.pdf

As requested, Philip Sternberg submitted a more spiffy way (this should work on any system with gs installed):

gs -q -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=merged.pdf source1.pdf source2.pdf source3.pdf etc.pdf

How do I do TeX under OSX?

TeXShop is nice and can be found at
It is also possible to install TeTeX which is used from the terminal window. It can be installed with fink which can be found at

How do I generate a PDF version of a LaTeX document?

Use the latex command to generate a DVI file, then use dvipdf to convert the DVI file into a PDF file.


# latex file.tex
# dvipdf file.dvi file.pdf


# latex file.tex
# dvips -o file.dvi
# ps2pdf file.pdf

# pdflatex file.tex         #usually produces more attractive fonts, 
                            #allows document navigation to work, and 
                            #URLs to work, and cut and paste. 

How do I make TeX do ______ ?

The UCDavis Galois Group has written a great tutorial for using LaTeX in the Math Department:

The Department of Mathematics sometimes has books available for short term loan. However, if you're looking for a book to get you started, many faculty recommend books written by Leslie Lamport. Lamport was the author of the original LaTeX package. This book in particular is a good introduction:

LaTeX: A Document Preparation System (2nd Edition) by Leslie Lamport
ISBN: 0-201-52983-1
Publisher: Addison Wesley Professional

For more breadth and a better depth of references, consider the following:

Guide to LaTeX (4th Edition) by Helmut Kopka and Patrick W. Daly
ISBN: 0-321-17385-6
Publisher: Addison Wesley Professional

The LaTeX Companion, (2nd Edition) by Frank Mittelbach, Michel Goossens, Johannes Braams David Carlisle and Chris Rowley
ISBN: 0-201-36299-6
Publisher: Addison Wesley Professional

Where can I find the UCD letterhead in LaTeX or other formats?

The UCD letterhead in LaTeX format is available in /opt/tex/ucdmathletter/ on our main application servers.

Also, Department members can login to the website via the Quick Links list. Once logged in, you'll be directed to your authorized Web Tools. You'll find a Zip file with several formats of the UC Davis letterhead, including LaTeX.

Why does the PDF I made with ps2pdf or dvipdf look so blurry in Adobe Acroread?

Because Adobe Acrobat Reader does a bad job of displaying bitmaped Type3 fonts.

Solution: Force dvips to use Type1 fonts.


[52]zjohnson@point:~$ dvips -o -Ppdf talks.dvi
[53]zjohnson@point:~$ ps2pdf
[54]zjohnson@point:~$ acroread talks.pdf

Mail Related Questions

How do I forward email from my math account to elsewhere?

Send email to help@math indicating which email address you want forwarded (ex: and where you want it forwarded to (ex:

How do I set the reply-to field in pine?

  1. Go to your Pine SETUP CONFIGURATION menu by typing 'S' and 'C' at Pine's Main Menu.
  2. Search (using 'W'hereIs) for the string "customized-hdrs". You should find the following line: "customized-hdrs = "
  3. Change the value by pressing 'C' and enter the string "Reply-To" followed by .
  4. Exit and save your changes.
  5. Now when you compose an email message, type ^R (Rich Hdr) while your cursor is in the message header and you should see the Reply-To line. Fill in the address you would like people to respond to.

How do forward mail from my address to my account?

You can do it through the web with the UC Davis Computing Account Services Page

Choose the option: "Redirect your email address"


write email to

Dear Postmaster, 

Please forward all email from my central campus email account to my
math email account. -->


How does Mathematics filter spam and virus email?

Currently we use Spam Assassin to score spam, ClamAV to identify email containing viruses, and SpamCop to block email from IPs which are known to be spamming. We also block email which contains attachments with the file extensions exe, vbs, pif, scr, bat, cmd, and com.

This is subject to change as needed without notice.

Is there authenticated smtp? How can I send mail from outside the department?

We have authenticated smtp available with the server

If you have trouble setting this up, please send a help request to with the name of the email program you are using and any error messages you may be getting.

Is there web-based email?

We have a webmail system available at:

Mac OS X Mail keeps asking me about an SSL certificate.

Mail asks if you want to accept an SSL certificate for each IMAP account. This happens each time Mail opens, even if you click Remember My Decision.

As a workaround, follow these steps. You need to log in using an administrator account first.

  1. Click "Show certificate" when Mail asks if you want to accept the certificate.
  2. Press the Option key while dragging the certificate to the desktop. The certificate's icon appears on the desktop.
  3. Add the certificate to your keychain by dragging its icon on top of Keychain Access. Tip: Keychain Access is located in the Utilities folder (/Applications/Utilities).
  4. When Keychain Access opens, you may be prompted to select which keychain to import to. If this happens, choose a keychain and also select X509 Anchors.

What are the math mail servers?

For incoming mail (IMAP), your mail client should be set to the server:
We use IMAP/SSL on port 993

For outgoing mail:
We use SMTP/SSL on port 465 with SSL/TLS

If you are connecting through an ISP, use the outgoing mail server provided by your ISP.

What email clients do you support or suggest using?

Our favorite and best supported email clients are:

  • Thunderbird - One of the very best email clients with a graphical user interface. It should be installed on all math systems and can be run on the diskless systems by navigating the menus Applications->Internet->Thunderbird Mail. It can also be downloaded for free from
  • Mutt - One of the very best email clients with a text user interface. This is run by opening a terminal window on a Department server and running the mutt command.
  • Webmail - The Math Dept Webmail program is at

Why do I get these strange bounced messages about messages I never sent?

These messages are a side effect of many of the Windows worms/viruses going around. Usually this is the scenario:

  • A Windows computer out there has your email address on it as well as many others. Typically in the addressbook of the installed email program. This could be a computer used by any of your correspondents.
  • That computer is infected with one of the thousands of email worms/viruses going around.
  • The worm/virus harvests email addresses from the infected computer.
  • The worm/virus sends out email to the addresses that have been harvested. It also forges the From address to be one of the other harvested addresses. This is to increase the likelihood of the recipient opening the message and attachment becuase it comes from a possibly familiar correspondent. The message has an attachment that, if opened, can infect the (usually Windows) computer receiving the message.
  • Many mail servers scan and block infected email. They may also reply to the "From" address to notify the sender that their computer may be infected. However, in the case of forged messages, you would get the warning below even though you never sent the original infected message.

The best course of action when you are sure you did not send the original message is to delete the warnings.

Math Software Related Questions

What software or licenses do I have access to?

Math & Research: Our Department servers have Matlab, Maple, Octave, and Sage installed. Other open source software is often installed, usually because it's been requested: python development, MPI, etc. These can be access with SSH, which comes pre-installed on Linux (ssh) and MacOS (ssh via Terminal), and can be downloaded free for Windows (putty).

If you need something installed on our servers for math research, please email We'll see what we can do!

Undergraduate students can install a yearly license for Matlab free on their computer. Other Department members who need Matlab on a personal system will have a yearly fee, usually between $150-200.

Microsoft Windows and Office software is available to Department members both through the web using your campus account, and for download to a limited number of computers (via download through

Google Apps for Education includes a suite of office and collaboration software that's provided by campus. Login to Google Drive with your campus account.

Adobe software can be bought at a discount through campus vendors, but the details are always changing. Email us and we can ask for a quote. This can often take a week. You may need to sign in to access Pro features. See these instructions for Acrobat Pro signin.

Qualtrics, for making complex surveys, is available free. Just login at (We recommend Google Forms for most simple surveys.)

Other software needs? Check the Campus Licensed Software site for more software agreements.

How do I get started using matlab?

The makers of matlab, Mathworks, have a Getting Started page for matlab

How do I use .m files with Maple?

Make a directory in your homedir to contain your m files, say... 'maple'

mkdir maple

download the m file and place it into that dir
create or edit a .mapleinit file in your homedir so that it contains something like:


to read kronprod.m and make it available for use in maple.

What do the load, save and diary commands in MatLab do?

My most common problem is confusion between the following commands:


Diary will append a log of your session to a text file, this will show all the work done, is human readable. The default file is calleddiary, but you can name a file and it will append to it. Matlab can NOT read this file.


Load/Save will save all the memory contents to a binary file, that completely overwrites the previous contents of the file. This file will contain all the array and variables in memory. It does NOT contain a record of work done, commands used etc. The default file is matlab.mat, but can be any file.

The most popular problem I see is students running:

>> diary matlab.mat

This appends the log to a binary matlab file, which them makes it unreadable by load/save, but can be fixed by emailing help@math.

load/save diary, foo.tex, or similiar

Doesn't work, only files "saved" can be "loaded", any file "saved" to will delete any previous contents.

Phone Related Questions

How can I check voicemail or change my phone settings via website?

  1. Use web browser to go to
  2. Log in with your campus log in id and password (my login is "zdj")
  3. You can now see and play your voicemail messages.
  4. To change settings for example your PIN code first click on Settings.
  5. Select Passwords -> Change PIN
  6. Enter your new desired PIN

What features does the campus phone have? How do I use them?

The University provides Cisco phones that dial over the Internet. Some of the features are tailored for use for the University. They have provided a campus phone guide with details for use (PDF).

Printing Related Questions

How do I add a printer in Linux?

All Linux systems administered by UC Davis Mathematics technical staff are already set up to print to all department network printers. If you administer your own Linux system (have root privs) and you intend to only print to math department printers this is how you would configure it to have all math department printer queues.

  1. Run the command: sudo echo "ServerName" > /etc/cups/client.conf
  2. All printers should now be available. You can confirm this by running the command: lpstat -t

If you are using a Linux laptop with which you intend to print to department printers as well as printers at home doing the following will tell your print system to automatically discover network printers.

  1. Open a web browser and go to the URL http://localhost:631/
  2. Select "Administration" tab.
  3. Check "Show printers shared by other systems" and click the "Change Settings" button.
  4. If it asks for username & password, enter root, and the root password of your laptop.

How do I add a printer in OS X?

IPP Method

This example uses 'grad_bw' as the printer we are adding. Change this to your desired printer name as needed.

  1. Select "System Preferences" from the Apple menu.
  2. Select "Printers & Scanners" button.
  3. Select the "+" button. A new window will appear.
  4. Click 'IP'
  5. For 'Address' enter ''
  6. For 'Protocol' select 'Internet Printing Protocol - IPP'
  7. For 'Queue' enter 'printers/grad_bw'
  8. For 'Name' enter 'grad_bw'
  9. Click the "Add" button.
  10. If prompted, check 'Duplex Printing Unit' and click 'OK'

How do I add a printer in Windows 11?

  1. Hit either the 'Window' key or click the Window icon, and type out 'Printer'. Choose the 'Printers & Scanners' System Setting.
  2. In the resulting window, click on 'Add a printer or scanner' at the top of the list.
  3. It will start searching for networked printers. After a moment, it will bring up an option to add a printer manually.
  4. Choose 'Select a shared printer by name' and enter one of the following, then choose 'Next':
  5. It will try to connect, and pop open the 'Add Printer Wizard' asking for a driver file. Add printer wizard. Choose the appropriate driver for the printer you chose above:
    • grad_bw - HP LaserJet 600 M609dn
    • under_bw - HP LaserJet 600 M601dn
    • staff_color - Brother HL-4570CDW
  6. If the driver does not show in your list, try clicking 'Windows Update'. It can take 30-60 seconds while it updates the list, with no obvious activity happening.
  7. If it still does not appear, you can download it manually from the manufacturer's website, and then choose 'Have Disk'.
  8. Once you choose the driver, it will take a few seconds to finish connecting to the printer. It will then say 'You've successfully added the printer' and show you the printer name that you added.
  9. You can choose to print a test page.

How do I add a printer in Windows 10?

  1. Hit either the 'Window' button or click the 'Search' icon, and type out 'Printer'. Choose the 'Printers & Scanners' System Setting.
  2. In the 'Settings' window, click on '+ Add a printer or scanner'.
  3. It will start searching for networked printers. Underneath the first few it finds, click 'The printer that I want isn't listed.'
  4. Choose 'Select a shared printer by name' and enter one of the following, then choose 'Next':
  5. It will try to connect, and pop open the 'Add Printer Wizard' asking for a driver file. Add printer wizard. Choose the appropriate driver for the printer you chose above:
    • grad_bw - HP LaserJet 600 M609dn
    • under_bw - HP LaserJet 600 M601dn
    • staff_color - Brother HL-4570CDW
  6. If the driver does not show in your list, try clicking 'Windows Update'. It can take 30-60 seconds while it updates the list, with no obvious activity happening.
  7. If it still does not appear, you can download it manually from the manufacturer's website, and then choose 'Have Disk'.
  8. Once you choose the driver, it will take a few seconds to finish connecting to the printer. It will then say 'You've successfully added the printer' and show you the printer name that you added.
  9. You can choose to print a test page.

How do I print 2, 4, or 8 pages per page?

Graphical user interface (GUI):
Use options in the "Print" window when printing from an application. The free Adobe Acrobat DC has easy settings for this for PDFs.


Command user interface (CLI):
Use -o flag to specify print options. The command

lp -o number-up=4 -P grad_bw filename

will print to grad_bw with 4 pages per side on a sheet of paper.

A complete list of options can be found here or by running the command "man lpr".

How do I print a file from the command prompt?

The math department printers accept jobs that are either Postscript or Text. If you have another type of file that you would like to print you will need to convert it or print it with an application that will convert it for you.

To print a PS or Text file use the following commands:

# lpr -P  

substitute with the name of the printer you want to print to and with the name of the file you want to print.

To print a DVI file:

# dvips -P  

To print a PDF file run the acroread, xpdf, or gv application and print it from there.

To print an image file (GIF, JPEG, etc) run the gimp application and print it from there.

How do I print single sided (simplex)?

Graphical user interface (GUI):
Use options in the "Print" window when printing from an application.

Command user interface (CLI):
Use -o flag to specify print options. The command

lpr -o sides=one-sided filename

will print one sided only.

A complete list of options can be found here.

How do I set my default printer on Department Linux servers?

You can set your default printer by using the lpoptions command at the UNIX prompt.

To set 'under_bw' as your default printer.

lpoptions -d under_bw


To set 'grad_bw' as your default printer.

lpoptions -d grad_bw

What can I do to save paper in the Department?

A lot of paper and supplies can be saved from just a few practices.

  • Pick up your print jobs! The printer sometimes takes a few minutes to process your job. You can list pending jobs for that printer with the command: lpstat -o printername
  • Did it print out already? You can check with a similar command: lpstat -W completed -o printername
  • Report printer problems. We try to keep on top of printer truculence, but there are a lot of printers, and sometimes they fail for odd reasons. If you come by when your job fails to print, we can tell you why, or point you towards a better solution to have more reliable results when printing.
  • Print only what you need. Printing 500 page books is expensive, and it's often cheaper to just buy the book if you need the entire thing.
  • If you need that large paper printed, you can print several book pages on one sheet. Check our FAQ on printing multiple pages per sheet.

If you have some good ideas to save paper, let us know.

What printers are available in the Math Department?

The following printers are available for Department use:

Queue                  Location                      Model
---------------------- ----------------------------- ---------------------
grad_bw                MSB 3114                      HP LaserJet M609
under_bw               MSB 2118                      HP LaserJet 600 M601dn
staff_color            MSB 1130                      Brother HL-4570CDW

You can use these Mathematical Sciences Building maps to help you find printer locations.

These printers should be accessible via wired network, as well as Math and eduroam wifi.

Remote Access Questions (Wifi, File transfers, SSH, VNC)

How do I connect to the eduroam wireless network?

The basics to connect to eduroam are usually:

  1. Select eduroam network in Wi-Fi Networks
  2. Enter login as Example: if you are from another organization say for example the University of Canterbury you your login would be something like
  3. Password is the same as the one used for the account you used for your login.
  4. Accept a new certificate if asked.

Campus IT support also keeps an up to date eduroam howto guide. Check there, as sometimes security certificate details change!

How do I report problems with Eduroam wireless network?

At UC Davis, Eduroam support is handled by IT Express, the campus computer support. Problems can be reported by sending email to or using one of the options on their support page:

Please include the following information in your request:

  • Description of problem
  • Room or area where problem last occurred
  • Time and date of last occurance
  • Other users affected if any
  • If problem is regular, intermittent, or one time only
  • What device you are attempting to connect with

If the problem is in the Mathematical Sciences Building, please also cc, so Math tech staff can be aware of generalized wifi issues.

How do I connect to the Math wireless network?

  1. Remove/forget existing Math wireless network profile if needed.
  2. Select Math network.
  3. Enter math account login and password.
  4. If prompted accept a new certificate (should be named
  5. If prompted for a domain, use: 

Windows 11: Some updates in Windows 11 (as of Feb 2023) stop 802.11 wireless from even trying to connect, though it looks like it tries. If you're using the latest update of Windows 11 (as of Mar 2023), you might need to uninstall the most recent update, if your wireless sees the Math network, but never seems to connect. Alternatively, Eduroam seems to work, and allows printing to Department printers.

Android: If on an Android device, your Certificate Authority (CA) chain of trust might be broken. (As of Sep 2021. This should be fixed with newer updates.) Download and install certificate as follows:

  1. On phone use browser to go to
  2. Download ISRG Root X1 Cross-signed by DST Root CA in pem format.
  3. Open wifi, configure Math and edit.
  4. Under CA certificate choose "Install certificates" and select the file you previously downloaded.

Last updated:MW 3/2023

How do I get an SSH client for Windows, MacOS, etc?

Usually by going to a search engine say and typing in "free ssh" and your operating system ie: "free ssh windows", or "free ssh macos" will get you some links to help you find a free ssh client.

For Windows, for basic text uses we recommend putty. For more complex SSH features, including graphics forwarding, try MobaXTerm. For file transfer try PSCP or WinSCP.

For Mac OSX, you can use the built in OpenSSH program. Just open the Terminal program found in Applications/Utilities and use ssh from the command line. For additional features, try iTerm2.

For Linux we recommend OpenSSH, which is included with most Linux dists.

For other operating systems please check

Also if you are unsure of which servers you should log into:

Everyone else: fuzzy.math.ucdavis,edu,

What department servers can I log into with ssh?

The following department login servers are for general use. You can also reach them using the alias


The following department login servers are for graduate/faculty use for long-term computational tasks:


How can I use connect to the math servers with putty SSH in Windows?

Download the putty.exe SSH program (for Windows) from and save it to your desktop.

The first time you use PuTTY, you will need to set it up to connect to the math servers.

  1. Open the putty ssh program that you saved to your desktop.
  2. You will get the 'PuTTY Configuration' window.
  3. Enter '' for 'Host Name'.
  4. 'Port' should be set to the default of '22'
  5. 'Connection type' should be set to the default of 'SSH'
  6. Enter '' in 'Saved Sessions'
  7. Click 'Save'. Your new entry for '' should be listed in the Saved Sessions now.

You have now created a profile for the math server '' in putty.

Now when you want to connect to the math server, you can do the following:

  1. Open the putty ssh program that you saved to your desktop.
  2. You will get the 'PuTTY Configuration' window.
  3. Select the profile for '' you created under 'Saved Sessions'.
  4. Click 'Open'. If this is the first time you are connecting to round, you should get a 'PuTTY Security Alert' about the host key. Click 'Yes' to proceed.
  5. An ssh window will now appear connecting you to round.
  6. You should now get the 'login as' prompt. Enter your math username and hit return. If you do not hit return, you will be disconnected after about a minute.
  7. You should now get the password prompt. Enter your password. As you type this, no letters or stars will appear to indicate progress, but they are being entered. This is for security purposes. Once finished, hit return. If you do not hit return, you will be disconnected after about a minute.
  8. Once connected, you can start matlab, maple, etc.

How can I connect to the math servers using my Mac?

Mac OS X comes with a terminal program that is located in

Now when you want to connect to the math server, you can do the following:

  1. Open the Terminal program.
  2. Enter the command 'ssh
    Replace 'username' with your math username.
  3. You will be prompted for your password. No letters or characters will appear as you type your password. This is for security purposes.
  4. Once connected, you can start matlab, maple, etc.

How do I transfer files to and from my math account?

We support the use of Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) or Secure Copy (SCP), which are both based on Secure Shell (SSH).

Terminal-based transfer: On the command line, you can use scp just like cp. For example to move a file from your math home dir to the current directory on your Linux computer at home you could type:

# scp .

Graphical transfer:

If you have Windows at home I would suggest downloading WinSCP WinSCP page.

If you have MacOSX you can use scp from the Terminal application just like Linux, or see our FAQ item on using Mac to access files.

How do I access files in math home directory with OS X?

Short answer:

There are three options.

  • Use scp command which comes with OS X in the Terminal appication to transfer files back and forth.
  • Download Fugu for OS X to transfer files in a graphical environment.
  • Download MacFusion and its prerequisite MacFUSE to mount your home directory under OS X. Note: last time we checked getting it to work under 10.6 requires some additional effort.

How can I use VNC on the math servers?

There are two parts to using VNC. You have to initiate a VNC server on the math server you want to connect to. Once that server is started, you can connect to it with a VNC client program as many times as you want as long as that VNC server is still running.

Starting your VNC session:

  1. Using an ssh program, connect to a math server (e.g.
  2. Use the command 'vncserver -localhost no'
  3. If this is the first time you are starting vncserver, you will be prompted for a password. This password will be needed when you connect with the VNC client program.
  4. The vncserver program will give you a line similar to:
    New ' (leng)' desktop is
  5. Make a note of that line. You will need it for your VNC client. The above line tells you that your vnc server is on the host with a session number of 3.

Connecting with a VNC client:

  1. Start your VNC client program. (There are free programs, and MacOS comes with one installed.)
  2. Enter the hostname of the server followed by the session number. This may be in the form of '' although this may vary depending on the VNC client you use. Often you need to add '5900' to the number, so instead it will say '' or 'vnc://'. Do not include the quote marks.
  3. When connected, you can run programs from the server (e.g. matlab, maple) and they will show up on your computer in the VNC window.

Web Related Questions

How can I password protect my math webpage?

The directory you wish to protect should be viewable normally. This requires the directory to have the proper permissions.

$ chmod go+x ~

First create an .htaccess file in the directory you wish to protect. Example contents:


  Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
  AuthUserFile /homes/home01/f/fred/public_html/secure/.htpasswd
  AuthName "My private area"
  AuthType Basic
  require valid-user

Then use the htpassword to create the password file. Example command:

  htpasswd -c /homes/home01/f/fred/public_html/secure/.htpasswd fred

The permissions on the .htaccess and .htpasswd files should be:

-rw-r--r-- 1 fred math  167 2013-07-22 11:57 .htaccess
-rw-r--r-- 1 fred math   19 2013-07-22 11:55 .htpasswd

How do I make my own math homepage?

First create a directory named public_html in your home directory. You can do this by running the command:


$ mkdir public_html

after that create a file named index.html in your public_html directory, you can do this by running he following command:


$ pico ~/public_html/index.html

in that file put HTML code, something like:


Hi this is my homepage.
This is <B>bold</B>.

Is a good start.

After you save the file you have now completed making your webpage.

The only other thing you might have to do is to set permissions so that others can see your web page. The following commands would do that:


$ chmod go+x ~
$ chmod -R go+rx ~/public_html

Once you are done with your website you can get it listed on the ucdavis math website in the directory and personal home pages by sending help@math a mail requesting that your page be listed.

Also see the excellent webpage tutorial which can be found at

When I start Firefox, it complains that my profile 'username' is already in use. How do I fix it?

As of version 3.0 firefox now stores its bookmarks and session state data in database files which can easily get corrupted. We have a script which attempts to fix the databases.

The new procedure is:

1. Close Firefox.
2. Open a terminal window
3. Run the command "fixfirefox".

If this doesn't correct the problem please write to help@math.


Does webmail support message filtering?

No, the webmail client does not support message filtering. This would have to be done with a tool such as procmail.

Does webmail work with my iPhone/Blackberry/Mobile device's web browser?

Webmail is designed for full-featured web browsers and not for mobile-device web browsers.

For mobile devices, we recommend that you use the included own mail client using IMAP.

How can I delete messages?

To delete a single message from the message list screen:

  1. Click to select it.
  2. Click on the 'Move message to Trash' icon (red ring with a diagonal line) or press the 'delete' key.

To delete a single message from the message view screen:

  1. Click on the 'Move message to Trash' icon (red ring with a diagonal line) or press the 'delete' key.


To delete multiple messages from the message list screen:

  1. Select multiple messages by either
    1. clicking on the first message and then shift-clicking the last message in a range or
    2. ctrl-clicking (Linux/Windows) or command-clicking (Mac OS X) individual messages.
  2. Click on the 'Move message to Trash' icon (red ring with a diagonal line) or press the 'delete' key.

How can I move messages to other folders?

To move a single message:

  1. Click and drag the message to the desired folder.


To move multiple messages:

  1. Select multiple messages by either
    1. clicking on the first message and then shift-clicking the last message in a range or
    2. ctrl-clicking (Linux/Windows) or command-clicking (Mac OS X) individual messages.
  2. Click and drag the selected messages to the desired folder.

How do I create a signature for my messages?

To create a signature:

  1. Click on 'Settings' in the upper right of Webmail.
  2. Click on the 'Identities' tab.
  3. Select your identity on the left.
  4. Fill in the 'Signature' field on the right.

Where are all of my mail folders?

  • If you do not see all of your mail folders, you may not be subscribed to them within webmail.

    To adjust your subscription settings:

    1. Click on 'Settings' in the upper right of the webmail page.
    2. Click on the 'Folders' tab.
    3. Click on the checkbox for any folder you want to subscribe to or unsubscribe from.