The Green Bank Telescope

Green Bank Public Computing Pages

03/09/10 IDL 7.1 is now the default IDL version in Green Bank

starting idl or idlde now gives you version 7.1 instead of the previous 6.4

08/28/09 Disk upgrade on fourier and planck

The RAID5 arrays on fourier and planck have been redisked with 1TB drives, which gives both systems 5.5+ useable TB of local disk space.

08/24/09 euclid and thales replacements

The 8 year old systems of euclid and thales have been replaced with modern systems and a 64bit RHEL5 install. The new systems both have about 8TB of useable disk space available.

08/13/09 Firefox 3.5.2

Firefox 3.5.2 is now the default version of Firefox on linux systems.

03/28/09 Mathematica 7.0.1 installed

The Linux Mathematica installation has been upgraded from version 6.0.2 to 7.0.1.

03/10/09 IDL 6.4 64bit version

IDL version 6.4 is now availabe as a 64bit version on 64bit capable machines (like prospero)

10/24/07 IDL 6.4

The default IDL version is now IDL 6.4. The previous version 6.3 is still available as idl_6.3 and idlde_6.3

09/12/07 Despina and Thalassa upgraded to new dual core workstations

They now have both 2.6 Ghz dual core CPU. Room JA-105

07/18/07 Mathematica 6.0 now available

The Linux Mathematica installation has been upgraded from version 5.2 to 6.0.

03/05/07 SDLT 600 tape drive now available

There is now a SDLT 600 tape drive available as /dev/st2 on euler. One tape of this format holds 300GB uncompressed.

11/28/06 AIPS++ local install

AIPS++ will now be an rpm based install on our Linux machines. /usr/bin/aips++. No need to source the script anymore. The existing installs in /home/aips++ remain unchanged for now.

11/09/06 Firefox 2 available

Firefox 2 is now available on Linux. Just type firefox2 to start it up. Firefox 1.5 is still the default started with firefox

07/28/06 OpenOffice 2.0 available

OpenOffice 2.0.3 has been installed on our Linux machines. The new version can be started by typing soffice. The old version is still available as ooffice.

07/28/06 Firefox and Thunderbird update

New security and bugfix release installed for Linux

07/14/06 Scratch disk upgrade

The disk drives containing /home/scratch have been upgraded with new drives. /home/scratch now has more space and has been converted to an XFS filesystem.

06/26/06 Web Server Move

The GB web services (, and on gollum will be moved to a new server today at noon. Expect a downtown of about 15 minutes.

06/05/06 Firefox and Thunderbird

Security and bugfix update installed for Linux

06/01/06 Spamassassin rule update

A number of the rulesets for spamassassin have been updated and a new one added. This should help to slow down the amount of spam creeping through our filters.

05/05/06 Firefox

Security and bugfix update installed for Linux

05/05/06 Thunderbird Update

Thunderbird is available in /opt/local. Note that RHEL4 ships with an older version, so you have to start this new version with /opt/local/bin/thunderbird.

03/21/06 memory upgrade on prospero and leo

Both prospero and leo are now running with 2 GB of RAM.

02/13/06 ftools (fv) updated from an ancient build to version 6.0.4

Old init scripts setting up ftools should continue to work through updated wrapper scripts

02/02/06 /opt/local install of firefox updated to version

The new release comes with a lot of bug/security fixes. Just typing "firefox" on any Linux machine should start it up.

12/13/05 /home/scratch Available Via Samba

The /home/scratch disc is now available via samba at


12/06/05 Stellarium and Celestia

This two 3D astronomy rendering packages have been installed for Linux. "stellarium" is a planetarium simulator and "celestia" allows you to fly through space in realtime.

11/30/05 Mathematica 5.2

Mathematica has been upgraded to version 5.2 for both Linux and Solaris.

11/29/05 IDL 6.2

The default IDL version is now IDL 6.2. The previous version 6.1 is still available as idl_6.1 and idlde_6.1

10/25/05 Nedit

Editor nedit upgraded to version 5.5 both on Linux and Solaris

09/23/05 Mozilla 1.7.12 and Firefox 1.0.7 upgrade

Mozilla and Firefox has been upgraded to the latest versions on Linux for security reasons

07/26/05 Mozilla 1.7.10 upgrade

Mozilla has been upgraded to version 1.7.10 on Linux and Solaris because of multiple security problems with older versions

07/20/05 Firefox and Thunderbird 1.0.6 upgrade

Firefox and Thunderbird have been upgraded to version 1.0.6 because of stability problems with the 1.0.5 release

07/14/05 Firefox and Thunderbird 1.0.5 upgrade

Firefox and Thunderbird have been upgraded to version 1.0.5 because of multiple security problems with the older version. Use /usr/local/bin/firefox and /usr/local/bin/thunderbird to start it.

05/10/05 Linux CD writer move

The public linux CD writer has been moved from volans to bratac in the same room. The instructions here have been have been updated accordingly.

04/25/05 Mozilla 1.7.7 upgrade

Mozilla has been upgraded to version 1.7.7 on Linux and Solaris systems because of more security problems with the old version.

04/19/05 Firefox 1.0.3 upgrade

Firefox 1.0.3 has been installed on Linux and fixes an important security hole. Use /usr/local/bin/firefox to start it.

03/25/05 Mozilla 1.7.6 upgrade

Mozilla has been upgraded to version 1.7.6 on Linux and Solaris systems.

03/15/05 Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0 for Linux available

The new Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0 has been installed for Linux and is available as "acroread7". The new name is necessary because the original acroread program is still required for IDL help.

03/09/05 Mozilla 1.7.5 upgrade

Mozilla has been upgraded to version 1.7.5 on Linux and Solaris systems.

01/10/04 Mathematica 5.1 upgrade

Mathematica has been upgraded from the 5.0.1 release to 5.1 on both Linux and Solaris

11/11/04 Proxy wierdness

A few problems associated with the proxy have cropped up in the last day or two. We believe these have been fixed now. If you continue to experience difficulty please contact the helpdesk.

11/11/04 New number crunchers

A couple of new number crunchers and a new booking system have been deployed.If you use any of the number crunchers you should read this page

11/08/04 Old users area

The old users area that crashed last week is now mounted as /mnt/oldusers on prospero. If you are missing any files you may find them here but there is no guarantee that the files are not corrupted. In addition the /home/mirror/users area is still in place but has not been updated since last Wednesday.

11/05/04 Prospero retired as a NFS server

Because of the failure of /users and other filesystems on prospero, these filesystems are now served from the NetApp ( a machine bought for this specific purpose and deployed for testing a couple of months ago ). The new netapp implements a strict user quota scheme. The default quota is 2 GB per user. Please report any problems you find to

10/19/04 IDL upgraded to version 6.1

IDL version 6.1 is now installed on Solaris and Linux systems. If for some reason the new version does not work for you, the old version 6.0 is still available (type idl_6.0 or idlde_6.0).

09/08/04 Proxy configuration for 172 net

In order to access the proxy from 172 network machines use the following automatic proxy configuration URL:


and not the URL listed in the GOLD BOOK. The GOLD BOOK will be updated shortly.

08/20/04 Software updates

The package jobserve has been updated from version 1.7.0 to 1.7.2 and the lookup command has been replaced with the new LDAP based version both on Linux and Solaris machines

07/29/04 DS9 Astronomical Data Visualization Application installed

The ds9 package has been installed both on Linux and Solaris. It can be started by the "ds9" command. Have a look at for more information about this package.

05/17/04 Flat Panels

Victor, naiad and titania have had their CRTs replaced with LCD panels. If you encounter any difficulties please send a message to the helpdesk

04/29/04 Prospero Troubles

As you are no doubt aware we have been having some problems recently with stability on prospero, our main fileserver. Recent kernels have not been tested thoroughly on multiprocessor, multi-gigabyte machines prior to release. Possibly due to lack of access to such machines but the result is a serious problem in the way that memory is handled. In simple terms memory runs out over time, how long is somewhat dependant on filesystem use. Once a certain point is reached the kernel spends all its time dealing with memory housekeeping tasks and stops responding.

Wolfgang has tried assorted patches and one of these was succesful in fixing the problem. However this patch is incompatible with the current kernels which we must use for security reasons and this has lead to the current stability problems. We are doing our best to fix this and remedial plans are in place to use another machine for our main fileserver should this prove necessary.

Unfortunately this will mean reboots at possibly short notice.

Please bear with us while we work through these problems.

04/06/04 Changes on the 172 net

In order to increase the reliability of machines on the 172 network we will be removing the nfs mounts from prospero and gollum that give direct access to email (/home/mail) and the web tree (/home/nraoweb).

This change will be effected on Thursday 8th April. After this date it will not be possible to access either of these filesystems. The effect of this will be that some email clients that access the mail directories directly will simply tell you you have no email and you will not be able to edit web pages directly.

Most mail clients can be configured to access your mail via POP or IMAP. Details of how to do this are available in THE GOLD BOOK

To edit web pages you will need to login to a machine on the general computing network.

Sendmail will continue to work from the 172 network as it does now.

03/11/04 Perl 5.8.3 as well as PDL and Perl PGPLOT interface installed

The following packages have been upgraded/installed in /opt/local :


Perl 5.8.3 with this additional modules:


PDL (``Perl Data Language'') gives standard Perl the ability to compactly store and speedily manipulate the large N-dimensional data arrays which are the bread and butter of scientific computing.

PDL turns perl in to a free, array-oriented, numerical language similar to such commerical packages as IDL and MatLab. One can write simple perl expressions to manipulate entire numerical arrays all at once. For example, using PDL the perl variable $a can hold a 1024x1024 floating point image, it only takes 4MB of memory to store it and expressions like $a=sqrt($a)+2 manipulate the whole image in a few seconds.

A simple interactive shell (perldl) is provided for use from the command line and a module (PDL) for use in perl scripts.

The PDL distribution for Perl is free Software and provides extensive numerical and semi-numerical functionality with support for two- and three-dimensional visualization as well as a variety of I/O formats. The goal is to allow PDL to interact with a variety of external numerical packages, graphics and visualisation systems. Easy interfacing to such systems is one of the core design features of PDL.

With the additional packages installed it is easy and convenient to (i) download fits data into PDL or Fortran/C, (ii) use great features of pgplot graphical library in a standard perl script or PDL as well as Fortran/C.

You have to use /usr/local/bin/perl as your perl interpreter in order to use the additional features

If you have any questions, please ask Yuri Kovalev or the helpdesk

03/10/04 Computing Outage

When: Thursday 12th Mar 04 7:30 to 10:30

What: Sitewide Power outage.

All computing services will be shutdown from 07:30 Thursday until power is restored. Please ensure you are logged out of all machines before then.

02/12/04 Computing Outage

When: Friday 13th Feb 04 12:00 to 13:00

What: Complete Unix service outage.

Why: Prospero is having difficulty talking to its LTO tape library.

The scsi controller for the LTO tape library is causing regular crashes. At lunchtime on Friday we plan to move the LTO to etamin where we can investigate and fix the problem with less impact on the system. At the same time we will move the aips++ tree to prospero.

You are strongly advised to log out of all unix systems during the outage. As the aips++ tree will be moved you should also stop any jobs that rely on aips++

Services Affected: All

All unix based services. This includes email, and samba shares.

If you have any questions please contact the helpdesk

02/05/04 Starlink software - summer 2003 release now available.

The starlink software collection, summer 2003 release for RH9 is now available under /home/apps/starlink-summer2003 The spring 2002 release will be deleted soon. Let us know if you have need of the older version. -->


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

Last updated 07 March 2008 by Chris Clark