UBiquity Timeshare Services

Introduction: About The UBiquity Timeshare Services

UBiquity is the name given to SENS' philosophy that users should be able to use the computer software they need, and have access to their data, regardless of the type of computer they are using or where they are located. Critical components of our model are the UBiquity Timeshare services, which establish interactive connections between a timeshare system and the user's computer. SENS users can access these timeshares from any computer that have an SSH client installed, including PCs, Macs, and Unix/Linux machines. We currently have timeshare environments for:

  • Solaris — This is Sun Microsystem's version of Unix; and
  • Linux — An open-source, Unix-like operating system.

These systems are mainly intended for:

  • Providing access to Unix applications to computers that cannot run them natively;
  • Batch processing;
  • Running programs that take a long time to run;
  • Running programs that require more resources than can be found on a typical workstation;
  • Providing services for remote users;
  • Accessing public site printers; and
  • Accessing user Engineering or NSM home directories.

The policies for these systems are described on our Policies and Practices page. We urge you to read that document prior to using our timeshare services.

The remainder of this page describes how to access our timeshare services.

Log In To The UBiquity Timeshares

Note 1: If you do not have an SSH client on your system you will need to download one and install it. Click here to select the SSH client download for your operating system. Additionally, if you want to use graphical applications based on the X Window System, and there is not a native X Window server package installed on your system, you will need to download that software also.

Note 2: The following instructions assume that the computer you are using is on campus and connected to the University network. If you are trying to access our timeshares from off campus, you will need to follow the instructions on our remote access page.

If you wish to run Solaris applications, log in to one of the "unix.eng.buffalo.edu" or "unix.nsm.buffalo.edu" timeshare systems by either using a command line such as:

ssh unix.eng.buffalo.edu

Or by using a PuTTY host connection.

Similarly, if you wish to run Linux applications, log in to one of the "linux.nsm.buffalo.edu" or "linux.eng.buffalo.edu" timeshare systems by the same methods as shown above, just with the pool name "linux" instead of "unix".

Using X Window System Applications

If you wish to use graphical software written to use the X Window System (most Unix graphical software does), and you have the necessary software installed, you will need to follow the appropriate instructions below.

Unix, Linux, and Mac OS X Systems

To use X Window applications from a timeshare to a computer based on a Unix or Unix-like operating system, you need to establish your SSH connection using a command line instruction such as:

ssh -X linux.nsm.buffalo.edu

You should now be able to run X Window applications. For a simple test, type "xcalc" at the timeshare prompt and a calculator should appear.

For some software applications, such as MATLAB, the above command line may not work; in such cases, use this line instead:

ssh -Y linux.nsm.buffalo.edu

If neither of those methods work, you will need to set the X Window display settings manually. First, determine the network name or the network (IP) address of your computer. Then, on the timeshare, type a command such this, replacing "computername.somedomain.buffalo.edu" with the name or network address of the computer you are using:

setenv DISPLAY computername.somedomain.buffalo.edu:0.0

Next, find out the name of the timeshare you are using:

uname -n

You must now tell your computer's X Window server that it is allowed to reply to connection requests from the timeshare. If you are on a Unix, Linux, or Macintosh system, open a new command window and type (replace "dracula" with the name of the timeshare to which you are connected):

xhost +dracula.eng.buffalo.edu

To get a list of the software please type:

This will give you a list of the commands available on our SENS Unix/Linux systems.

Microsoft Windows Systems

If you are using X-Win32, and X Window applications are not working, follow the steps above to set the DISPLAY environment variable on the timeshare and to find out the name of the timeshare to which you are connected. Then, open X-Win32's configuration window, click on the "Security" tab, and in the "Allow by Address" section click the "Add..." button to add the name of the timeshare to which you are connected.

Available software

Software available on the UBiquity Timeshare systems includes, but is not limited to:


  • GNU compilers and utilities
  • The Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird, and SeaMonkey utilities
  • Mathematica


  • GNU compilers and utilities
  • The Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird, and SeaMonkey utilities
  • Mathematica
  • Maple
  • Cadence

Download Required Software

There are two pieces of software you will find necessary in order to access the SENS timeshares: A terminal emulator package that supports the SSH protocol, for command line usage, and an X Window System emulator, for running graphical applications.

All Unix and Linux systems installed by SENS have an SSH client on them and a full X Window System implementation; you should use the command-line methods shown above to establish connections to the timeshares.

For Microsoft Windows systems, we recommend the use of the PuTTY terminal emulator and/or the X-Win32 X Window System emulation package.

Macintosh systems running any recent version of Mac OS X should have the SSH software installed by default, but the X Windows System software is an optional component during installation and you may need to install it using your original Mac OS X CD/DVD.