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University of California at Berkeley
Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Instructional Systems Support Group
Report on EECS Instructional Computing Facilities
Fall Semester 1996
by: Kevin Mullally, Manager of EECS Instructional Systems
Ferenc Kovac, Manager of EECS Electronic Support
For a desciption of the current status of Instructional UNIX labs and
file servers, please read /share/b/pub/EECS.facilities (also accessible as
For decriptions of additions and changes to software availability, please
read /share/b/pub/Instructors.Guide, /share/b/pub/software.help and other specific
files in the /share/b/pub directory (also accessible as
Our WWW home pages are:
PCs and Lab Changes in Soda
Instruction will install new Pentium PCs from Intel in Soda Hall
labs in the first weeks of the semester. Earlier plans to install NT on
these systems have changed. We are now investigating which UNIX would
best suit our needs. Operating systems under consideration include BSDI,
FreeBSD, Solaris and Linux. The deciding factors are: does the
operating system run on the hardware we have been given (Intel bundles a
variety of disk, video and network interfaces); do the application programs
we need run on the operating system; can we afford the licensing fees, if
1) 283D and 283E Soda: _may_ have additional network
connections installed so that Pentium PCs running
UNIX couild be installed there, for Instructional
use. I do not yet know if this networking is possible.
2) 564 Soda: will be converted into an Instructional
multimedia authoring facility for instructors and TAs.
3) 330 Soda: HP wkstns for 1st year grads have been
moved to other rooms (466,566 and 592 Soda).
4) 330 Soda: Pentium PCs running UNIX will be installed
for general Instructional use.
Change to Modem Access - Home-IP password required
Starting August 26, aaccess to all EECS modems will require a password.
This is the same procedure that IS&T implemented in June 1996. More
information is available at
New Cardkey Procedures
This semester, we are tring a new procedure for enabling cardkey access to
the labs quickly. Students who do not have an EECS cardkey should go to
391 Cory (8:30am-noon, 1pm-4:30pm) to sign up for a new cardkey.
Students who already have an EECS cardkey can go to either 391 Cory or
387 Soda. We are trying a new procedure for enabling the cardkeys,
and we hope to enable all cardkeys within 2 working days of the
request. Initially, we will work from class enrollment lists. Instruc-
tors are encouraged to send updated lists to 391 Cory as the enroll-
09/06 - Cochise crashed.
Cochise.cs froze up in the afternoon and needed to be rebooted. We are
watching for evidence of a bad disk as a possible cause but this is
inconclusive so far. The 1GB Seagate disks on Franklin and Cochise have
had an increasing failure rate since last Spring.
09/09 - printer problems.
We had a series of problems that caused the 2 printers in 274 Soda and the
printer in 105 Cory to be offline on Saturday and Sunday. One of the two
printers in 274 Soda printers was working again by 7pm on Sunday. There
were hardware problems with 2 printers and, by bad coincidence, there were
also problems with the spooling software, which the sys admins fixed on
Sunday. The failure rate for the printers has increased over the last 2
semesters and the printers are overworked. We are working on a printer
quota software suite that should be ready soon. We'll use that to limit
usage and to discourage waste and inappropriate use. We will also consider
buying a third, more robust printer for the second floor of Soda. Budget
is an issue: an HP5SiMx costs about $5000.
09/21 - Franklin.cs was rebooted.
Some extremely CPU-intensive user processes brought franklin to a crawl,
all but disabling NFS. As a result, 152 students were bogging down, and
the Instructional Indy's were unusable. Also, IS&T reported that Franklin
was making unnecessary requests to one of its name servers. So, Franklin
was rebooted at about 2pm on Saturday afternoon and the problems ceased.
09/26 - printer problems, continued:
Instructional printer performance has suffered from hardware failures and
unexplained problems in the spooling software. We are working on both,
and the staff is being vigilant about correcting software problems when
We are working on a couple of changes that should help; we will try using
the latest lpsched spooling daemon on an HP-UX 10.x system, and we will
turn at least one printer into a serial printer to bypass the network
spooling software altogether.
10/15 - Po was rebooted to clear hung processes. Po had been running
smoothly for 80+ days.
10/17 - Pasteur (Instructional mail server) became overloaded with mail
processes and was rebooted, causing intermittent interruptions to mail
service for an couple of hours. The mail spool directory was full.
Excessively large mail spools (over 1MB) were moved and the users were
given 24 hours to reduce them, or the staff would delete the spools.
We inserted a new command in the standard login script that most students
run (/share/b/bin/instructional.cshrc) that warns users if their mail
spools are too big.
10/25 - Cochise crashed in the middle of the night and the /home/bb
filesystem did not remount automatically. It was manually tested and
remounted at about 3am.
11/20 - Franklin and Cochise were both rebooted in the late afternoon
to clear problems with their automounters. Downtimes were only about
5 minutes for each reboot. Unrelated to that, console logins were denied
at about 1/3 of the HP workstations for a few hours in the morning. This
was repaired by midday.
11/22 - Pasteur, the Instructional mail hub, was down for a few hours
during the niht and was restored to service by 10am. The mail spool
directory had filled up.
(end of document)