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Note: It is strongly recommended that you setup your account from a SunRay, X-terminal or Sun Workstation, rather than from a PC. Unix terminals and workstations can be found at the following locations:

1. Get a Unix account

All staff and students at the University of Manitoba can obtain a free Unix account by running Claimid.

2. Set the path and environment variables

Since you'll be typing several commands, you need a terminal window. From the JDS Launch menu, choose Applications --> Utilities --> Terminal.
A terminal window should pop up:

Setting up a default shell
The shell is a program that executes commands. Every time you type a command, or every time a program is run from your account, the shell runs that command. There is a choice of shells on most Unix systems, including the Bourne shell (sh) the C-shell (csh) the K-shell (ksh) and the T-shell(tcsh).  BIRCH can run using  any shell as the default shell. Unless you have a favorite shell, we recommend either bash or  tcsh for most users. In particular, avoid the Bourne shell (/bin/sh) because it can't display the current working directory in the command prompt. Also avoid ksh, which has been problematic on our system. To  find out your default shell, type

echo $SHELL
If the command returns


then you are using the tcsh shell or bash and don't need to change it. If  you wish to change your default shell, use the 'chsh' command. For example, you could change from the k-shell to the c-shell as follows:

Enter login(NIS) password:     
{same password you type at login}
Old shell: /bin/ksh
New shell: /bin/tcsh
NIS passwd/attributes changed on zaurak
Note: You may change to another shell at any time, using 'chsh', without affecting your ability to use BIRCH.

Note: On large server systems, it may take several minutes for the change to take effect. That means that if you open a new terminal window, the old shell would still be used. Another thing to try is to logout and login again.


Now you're ready to run the newuser script.

3. The GNOME window manager

A window manager is a program that executes when you login from an X-terminalor workstation. It controls how windows are displayed, what windows can do, and the types of programs that can be launched by pointing and clicking. Most X11 programs can be run regardless of the window manager in use.

The default window manager on the SUN platform is SUN Java Desktop.

Setting the path and environment variables

No special permission is needed to use BIRCH. It is accessible by anyone with a valid Unix account. However, two things need to be setup in order to use the programs. First, your $PATH must include the directories in which BIRCH executable files are found. Secondly, many of the programs need to know where to find data or configuration files. The locations of these files are specified by environment variables that are automatically set when you login.

All of these processes can be made transparent to the user by running the 'newuser' command. At the command prompt, type

This will add some lines to your .login and .cshrc  and .profile files, which contain commands that execute each time you login. (Comparable to AUTOEXEC.BAT in DOS). These commands 1) set your path 2) set your environment variables, 3) set your prompt to display the current working directory and hostname.

Now, open a new terminal window. It should now look like this:

Next: Customizing your desktop

What if I want to remove BIRCH access from my Unix account?

To remove BIRCH access for your account, type

This deletes the lines that were added by the 'newuser' script to your .login, .cshrc, .profile, .bash_profile, and .bash_login  files. (All of these lines contain the string '#_BIRCH'). You can always restore BIRCH access by running 'newuser' as described above.