EECS Instructional Support, University of California at Berkeley
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                          College of Engineering
                     EECS Instructional Support Group

								  Sep 23 2010
              EECS Instructional Computing - Review and Plans
		                Fall 2009

	Mission Statement
	Recent Initiatives and Achievements
	The "Orchard": new lab of MacPros
	Larger UNIX Home Dirs, 1-Year Retention of Archives
	20" LCD Displays Replace 122 Old CRT Monitors 
	Project Wish List
	Budget Cuts
	Notable Events

Mission Statement

  The EECS Instructional Support Group (ISG) installs and maintains networked 
  computers that are used by EECS classes.  ISG provides computer accounts for 
  instructors and students in the Instructional labs and on Instructional 
  servers.  ISG purchases, installs and maintains application software needed 
  for classes.  ISG supports instructional labs in Cory Hall, Soda Hall and 
  Hearst Field Annex.

  These are the functions in which ISG interacts with other UCB support groups:

  - we obtain enrollment lists from the Registrar (Student Information Services)
  - we synchronize our user accounts with the EECS department (IDSG)
  - we provide cardkey pre-authorization for our students to EECS Facilities
  - we bill students' voluntary printer charges to CARS
  - we coordinate our use of the EECS Network Node Bank with IDSG and CNS
  - we manage the computers in engineering labs with ESG 
  - we manage the computers in EECS conference rooms with ESG 
  - we manage the licenses for Synopsys/TCAD/HSPICE with the Device Group
  - we manage the licenses for Cadence with the BSAC group
  - we manage the licenses for Maya and Renderman with the BCAM group

Recent Initiatives and Achievements

  - Opened new "Orchard" lab (200 S. Dia Hall) of 30 MacPros.
    Please see below for more information.
  - Installed 2 new SUN T5220 servers (Sun Niagra 2 chip with 8 cores and 8 
    threads at 1.6 GHz with 32gigs of RAM), donated by SUN Microsystems with
    thanks to Marcelino Enriquez.  These systems replace 8-year old servers
    that are used by CS61A, CS3 and other programming classes on the SunRays
    in the second floor of Soda.

  - Installed a new Xerox solid ink color printer in 274 Soda, with a generous
    educational discount from Xerox and thanks to William Chen.  The printer
    is called "phaser" and is available from all EECS instructional computers.

  - Building a cluster of used computers that were donated by Broadcom, with
    thanks to Pathma Venasithamby.  The cluster may be used to issue persisent 
    virtual computers to students in classes such as EE122 (network protocols),
    CS186 (database and WEB servers) and CS161 (computer security) to safely 
    develop programs that have special security or performance risks.

  - Relocated the UNIX home directories to the EECS department SAN disk array.
    Please see below for more information.

  - Replaced 122 old CRT monitors with new 20" LCD displays in Instructionl
    labs.  Please see below for more information.

The "Orchard": new lab of MacPros

  In August 2009, EECS opened the new "Orchard" lab of 30 MacPros in 200 Dia 
  Hall.  The computers were donated by Apple with thanks to Dan Garcia.  The 
  lab will be used by these classes:

  CS61C		(Machine Structures)
  CS160		(Introduction to User Interface Design)
  CS39N 	(The Beauty and Joy of Computing)
  CS194-2	(Introduction to Parallel Computing)
  CS194-8	(Advanced Digital Animation)
  UCBUGG	(UCB Undergraduate Graphics Group DeCal)
  MS-DOS X	(Macintosh Software Developers for OS X DeCal)
  CNM190	(Advanced Digital Animation)
  rendering 	(a render farm for all graphics users)

  The interdisciplinary DeCal classes do MacOSX development and animation.  
  For details about the computers, software and location of the lab, please 

  The lab space is provided in lieu of 2 labs (80 seats) in Hearst Field
  Annex C, which was allocated to CS3 and CS61A until Summer 2009.  Those
  classes have relocated to the labs in Soda Hall that were vacated by the
  users of the new Orchard lab.  There has been a net reduction of 1 lab
  (50 seats).

Larger UNIX Home Dirs, 1-Year Retention of Archives

  In August 2009, we relocated the UNIX home directories from our aging 
  NetApp servers (400GB) to the EECS department SAN disk array (1000GB).  
  We raised the default UNIX disk quota for student accounts from 100MB 
  to 500MB.  We gained space for instructor accounts that are installing
  new SVN and image repositories. 

  This will allow us to phase out our old NetApps.  They use a lot of
  machine room space and electrical power in 287 Soda.  

  A side effect of this is that we also adapt the data archiving policy
  that IDSG supports for the rest of the department.  Up to 4 months of
  deleted files are retained on the disks and accessible to the owner,
  in the hidden .snapshot directories within each subdirectory.   Up to
  1 year of deleted files are retained on dump tapes that are stored
  off site.  We would have to pay a fee to recover data from those
  tapes, and that cost will be charged to the owner of the data being

  We encourage users to keep backup copies of their data on their own
  media, either using USB memory or file transfers to their computers.

20" LCD Displays Replace 122 Old CRT Monitors 

  In September 2009, the University offered a program to trade in old CRT 
  monitors on campus for energy-efficient LCD monitors.  This project is 
  sponsored by the Vice Chancellor's Administrative Council (VCAC), the 
  Office of the CIO (OCIO), and Cal Overstock and Surplus.  Each LCD 
  monitor that replaces a CRT monitor saves the University about 344 kWh of 
  electricity ($30.96), or 104 kg of carbon dioxide emissions, per year. 

  Thanks to the efforts of Eric Fraser (EECS IT Director) and extraordinary 
  funding from EECS, we are able to replace all of the remaining CRTs in the
  EECS Instructional labs with Dell 20" E2010H widescreen flat panel LCD
  displays.  This purchase has a value of about $18,000 after the generous 
  discount and rebates that the sponsors negotiated.

  During October 2009, the Dell 20" E2010H LCD displays will be installed in 
  271, 273, 277, 330 and 349 Soda, and at a few workstations where CRTs are 
  still in use in the Cory Hall labs.

Project Wish List

  Here is a wish list of projects that we would like to do.   We lack the
  funding to do any of them:

  1) upgrade workstations in Instructional labs ($234K total)

	- replace 30 PCs (circa 2002) in 105 Cory for EE20N ($90K)
	- replace  8 PCs (circa 2003) in 111 Cory for EE117 ($24K)
	- replace  8 PCs (circa 2002) in 218 Cory for EE143 ($24K)

	Benefit to approx 750 students in CS152, CS160, CS162, CS164, 
	CS169, CS170, CS172, CS184, CS186, CS188, CS194, CS198, EE117, 
	EE143, EE20N.

  2) renovate 105 Cory: new furniture, wiring, A/V ($30K)

	105 Cory is a teaching lab that is used primarily by EE20N 
	but is also available to other classes.  It has an overhead 
	projector and is well-suited to hands on instruction.  The
	lab benches, chairs, network and electrical cabling are in
	disrepair from years of use.

  3) salaries for 2 student staff for 1 year ($60K)

	To meet the FY 09-10 budget cut (21%), we have reduced our
	student staff.  As a result, we have a higher incidence of
	delayed repairs and deferred maintenance in the labs.  This 
	funding would support staff for projects such as:

	- check physical condition of labs and do routine maintenance 
	- install new equipment (such as with items #2 above)
	- update our UCB Scheme software (CS3, CS61A) for home users
	- install an RSS feed server for use by instructors
	This would benefit all 6800+ students who use our computers.

Budget Cuts

  The funding that supports Instructional computing were cut by 21% ($120K) 
  starting July 1 2009.  This funding supports computers, software, service 
  contracts, printing, network fees, furniture, supplies and salaries.  This 
  is in addition to the %8 cut in staff hours and salaries due to furloughs.

  A FY 2009-2010 budget projection is posted at

  This year we are reducing our costs by a combination of these austerity

  - elimination of service contracts on some computers and software
  - reduction of staff salaries via furloughs and voluntary leave without pay
  - reuse of old, broken chairs instead of replacing them
  - reuse of old, dirty keyboards and mice instead of replacing them
  - reduction of stockpiles of printer paper and toner

  In October 2009, we reluctantly submitted a request to impose a $16 Course 
  Materials Fee (CMF) on each student in 20 EE and CS sources, to recover 
  approximately $65K for the upkeep and replacement of materials used in the 
  labs.  Approval for these fees is still pending (May 2010).  The CMF and
  its prerequisite student survey are available at 

Notable Events

Dec 1 - Computer availability between semesters

	You won't be able to login or read email on our computers on Dec 28.
	Department servers that we rely on will be down for maintenance

	EECS Instructional labs will be closed Dec 18 - Jan 18.

	These Instructional servers will be available, except for Dec 28:		(Instructional home pages)	(Instructional account info)		(SquirrelMail client)	(videos and AV information)			(UNIX logins, Synopsys licenses)			(UNIX logins)		(Windows logins)			(IMAP mail service, no logins)

	Please see for
	information about which accounts expire on Dec 21 and how to copy
	your files from the account before that.

UNIX accounts were inaccessible this afternoon (Dec 11)

	The deparment fileserver "Project", which has instructional UNIX home 
	directories (and everyone else's in EECS) was off-line for a few 
	minutes starting at about 3pm.  That prevented users from logging in 
	at the SunRays and UNIX workstations, and it prevented anyone who was 
	logged in to out UNIX or MacOSX systems from saving any files in their 
	home dirs.

	Some of our servers, including the inst.eecs WEB server and the 
	imail.eecs EMAIL server did not recover right away and were off-line
	until about 4:45pm.  No email was lost - undelivered mail is queued
	and resent by the sender's server.

UNIX accounts were inaccessible this morning (Dec 9)

	The deparment fileserver that has instructional UNIX home directories
	(and everyone else's in EECS) filled up at about 5:30am.  That 
	prevented users from logging in at the SunRays and UNIX workstations, 
	and it prevented anyone who was logged in to out UNIX or MacOSX systems
	from saving any files in their home dirs.
	Space was freed up at about 9am and the problem was solved.

UNIX accounts and WEB server were down overnight Sat/Sun

	UNIX home directories were unavailable from about 9:30pm Saturday
	until 3:15am Sunday.  This prevented new logins and it caused active
	login sessions to freeze.  

	Service to most Instructional systems was restored by 10am on Sunday.
	Service to the Instructional WEB server (http://inst.eecs) was 
	restored at 4pm on Sunday.  

	Service to star.cs (271 Soda) and nova.cs (273 Soda) was restored
	at 6:30pm on Sunday.

	This was caused by the failure of a UPS in a department server room, 
	which took project.eecs offline.  Project is the server for all of 
	the UNIX home directoties in EECS (Instructional and research).
	For more information about that, please see the department notice at

new LCD monitors in the Instuctional labs

	You may have noticed that new LCD displays are replacing old CRTs in
	EECS Instructional labs such as 199 Cory, 330 Soda, 349 Soda, 271 Soda,
	273 Soda and 277 Soda.

	These LCDs were purchased by EECS to reduce costs and carbon emissions.
	(The funds were not from student tuition or fees.)  The goal is to
	eliminate all CRTs from Soda and Cory Halls.  The cost was discounted 
	by a campus-wide CRT replacement program sponsored by the Vice 
	Chancellor's Administrative Council, the Office of the CIO, and Cal 
	Overstock and Surplus.   
	Each LCD that replaces a CRT saves the University about 344 kWh of 
	electricity ($30.96), or 104 kg of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
	The campus Climate Action Plan is descsribed on  

	We are very grateful to the campus and to the EECS department for 
	funding this improvement.
	- inst@eecs (November 2009)

Fileservice (Windows home dirs) down from 7:50am-8:50am

	We had to reboot Fileservice for maintenance at 7:50pam.  The 
	reboot intitiated a filecheck that lasts nearly an hour.  This 
	insures the health of the home directory files that are on the 
	disk, but we had hoped that it would not be needed during this 
	reboot.  We regret that it has interfered with scheduled 8am 
	labs in 105 Cory and 140 Cory.

Sep 23 - 1 hour network outage in Instructional labs

	From about 11:30am-12:30pm on Sep 23, the Instructional computers
	were disabled due to the failure of a network switch on the second
	floor of Soda Hall.  The EECS network staff replaced the switch

	The switch provided network access to the labs on the second floor of 
	Soda Hall as well as to servers that were being accessed from other
	labs.  As a result, users may not have been able to login on other
	Instructional computers, or their home directories may have been 
	inaccessible, causing their current login sessions to be frozen.

	For additional information, please see

Sep 7 - Automatic cardkey access started Sep 2009

	Cardkey access to the EECS Instructional labs is now automically 
	enabled for the semester, based on the classes you are in (as 
	found in TeleBears).   To test this:

	1) Try to get into the building or your lab after hours.  
	   If it works, you do not need to request cardkey authorization.  
	2) If it doesn't work, bring your SID card to 387 Soda for authorization.
	3) You can check to see if we 
	have your cardkey number on file and what doors you should get.

	For more information, please see

Aug 27 - CSUA Help Sessions:  August 31, 6pm+

	The CSUA ( offers infosessions on Monday 
	August 31 on

	Emacs 6-7pm 
	Unix from 7-8pm

	In 320 Soda Hall - check at 337 Soda Hall for more information.

Aug 19 - Instructional UNIX systems will be unavailable on Wed Aug 20

	The Instructional UNIX systems will be inaccessible from about 
	10am-5pm on Wed Aug 20 while we move home directories to new,
	larger disks.  The Instructional UNIX systems include:
	workstations in 275 Soda
	SunRays in 271, 273, 277 Soda
	workstations in 353 Cory
	servers listed in

	If you try to login using Putty from a Windows system while the 
	servers are disabled,  Putty will just die after you login.  This 
	is becuase Putty fails to pause long enough for you to read the
	'nologin' message that the server displays.

May 4 - UNIX home dir disk is full - can't save any more files

	Monday 2:40 am:  
	The Instructional UNIX /home/* disk became 100% full tonight.
	This prevents users from saving files and logging out from
	their UNIX accounts and it will prevent them from logging in
	on our UNIX Xterminals.

	It appears that the /home/tmp directories of CS186 students 
	are filling the disk.  CS186 directories on /home/tmp have 
	been restricted to 250 MB each until we can find a new server 
	for them.

	It the meantime, you could save critical files that you have
	opened by emailing them to yourself at another account (not 
	EECS Instructional).

Mar 18 - WEB sites on this server were unavailable Wednesday evening

	(Mar 19, 1am) WEB sites under are 
	accessible again.  The problem was with the firewall, which we 
	had modified in response to the excessive downloads from a non-UCB 
	source that started jamming the server at about 6:30pm.

	The server was mostly down from 6:30pm March 18 until 1am March 19.

Jan 20 - CSUA Help Sessions: UNIX, emacs, glookup

	Students in the CSUA ( are presenting these 
	help sessions:

	Topic:		Linux-like Environments for Windows
	Time/Place:	Thursday January 22 2009, 5:00 PM, 373 Soda

	Topic:		Basic Unix
	Time/Place:	Thursday January 22 2009, 6:00 PM, 373 Soda

	Topic:		Emacs
	Time/Place:	Monday January 26 2009, 6:00 PM, 373 Soda

	Topic:		Glookup and Other such tools for GSI's & Graders
	Time/Place:	Wednesday January 28th 6:30PM 373 Soda

Dec 8 - Delays on UNIX computers

	You may have noticed delays of several seconds on some Instructional
	UNIX computers when doing things that accesses files, such as listing 
	a directory ("ls") or saving a file.  We have observed that our main 
	UNIX file server (an old Network Appliance server) is often hitting 
	100% cpu usage, which is a new anomoly this semester.  We are working 
	with an outside vendor to analyze the logs and determine if any 
	components are failing.

	The problem has become more noticable at the end of the semester as 
	user traffic has increased.  We hope to find a solution soon.

	In any case, we plan to retire this server next summer and have 
	already started to migrate software from it to a new server.  In 
	addition, the Network Appliance server includes a second, redundant 
	server.  So we have alternatives if the problem gets worse!

Nov 26 - Identity theft: Never send password in email

	Reminder - no legitimate service provider will ask you to send your
	username and password in email, so if you receive such a request it is 
	probably from a spammer trying to steal your identity.   Don't reply,
	and don't go to any WEB sites that are referenced in the message.

	Check the return address carefully of any email to which you do reply.

	For example, we recently received email from "", 
	with the signature

		Berkely University Of California
		Campuswide IST Service Help Desk

	 asking you to sent them your ID/EMAIL and Password.   Besides the
	 misspelling of "Berkeley", we noticed that the sender and return 
	 email addresses are really and
	 In many email programs, you'd have to expand the message to "full 
	 header" before you would see that.

	 Spammers may also pretend to be a bank asking for your account number,
	 on-line banking password, ATM code or etc.

	 Some spammers are very clever, so be aware!
Oct 20 - cory.eecs was unresponsive until 12:30pm today

	The popular Instructional UNIX server named
	stopped accepting login connections sometime over the weekend and 
	was generally unresponsive until 12:30pm today.  This morning, we
	diagnosed this recurring problem.  We found that there is a bug in 
	the "ldap_cachemgr" deamon.  We will patch it.

	cory.eecs also runs the Synopsys/HSPICE/TCAD license server that
	is shared by the department.  We believe that those licenses were
	accessible even when users could not login to cory.eecs.

Sep 8 - 11am-11:15am - imail.eecs mail service was down

	The Instructional email service at
	restarted to fix a problem; it was not filtering out incoming spam 
	properly.   Email service was down from about 11am-11:15am.

	During the downtime, users were not able to read email from

	Email set to users at was saved and 
	resent later by the server that sent the email.

Sep 2 - slow logins, slow WEB sites, command timeouts

	There was an intermittent failure of the department servers for 
	DNS and XNTP services.  Side effects included slow logins, slow
	WEB access and slow access to servers in general (including the
	file servers for programs like firefox).

	DNS resolves hostnames to IP addresses.
	XNTP synchronizes the time on the computers.

	This has been occurring for a week and was particilarly noticable
	today.  The history and symptoms are logged under

	We believe that the problem was resolved at about 4pm today.

Aug 29 - cory.eecs was down from about 6:30pm-8pm

	The popular Instructional UNIX server named
	stopped accepting login connections at about 6:30pm, and existing
	login sessions froze erratically.  We rebooting cory.eecs at 8pm
	to fix this problem.  

	cory.eecs also runs the Synopsys/HSPICE/TCAD license server that
	is shared by the department.  Those licenses were not accessible
	during the 10-minute reboot around 8pm.

June 16 - http://msdnaa.eecs and e-Academy downloads are working again

	The EECS server for downloading software from e-Academy 
	was down for maintenance while we reinstall the operating 
	sytem (it crashed) and update the downloadable contents 
	(Microsoft software), from about 10am-3pm today.

	This means that you could not read the instruction page from if you tried to download software from
June 9 - Some Instructional servers are down for maintenance

	These Instructional servers are down for maintenance until further
	This is necessary while an electrical problem is repaired in the
	server machine room.  This problem appeared after the Cory Hall 
	power shutoff on May 29.

Feb 2007 - Exceed (XWindows) Security Alert

	X Windows server programs such as Exceed have been targets for 
	password-sniffing and other security holes recently.  If you 
	are running an X Windows server on your computer at home or in 
	an office on campus, please read this excellent article for 
	instructions about using it securely:

Oct 2006 - empty INBOX?  your email is on

	(Oct 9 2006)  We have stopped exporting /var/mail to all computers.
	If you use 'pine' on UNIX and find that your INBOX is empty on the
	Instructional computers, you probably need to update the way you
	read email.   

	You can simply logon at
	to read and send email via the EECS Instructional email server.

	To set up spam filtering, run this command in your UNIX account:

	You can also configure the email client of your choice to connect to
	the EECS Instructional email server.

	Please see for 
	more information.

July 2006 - unable to use Firefox or Mozilla on UNIX?

	We are upgrading our SUN UNIX systems to Solaris 10, and the new 
	versions of firefox and mozilla are incompatible with the older
	configuration settings.

	So if you get no response when you try to start firefox or mozilla,
	you should delete (or rename) your ~/.mozilla/firefox directory.  It
	will be re-created the next time you run the browser.  You can rename
	it with this UNIX command (you can delete it later):

		mv ~/.mozilla/firefox ~/.mozilla/firefox-old

	You can verify that the computer you are on is running Solaris 10
	with the UNIX command:
		uname -a

	You can see a list of all of our login servers and their operating
	systems at

Spring 2006 - Printer usage quotas are now in effect

	For information, please see

Spring 2006 - Forgot your password on the Instructional computers?

	For named accounts:

	Login as 'newacct' (password 'newacct') again (in 199 Cory, 273 Soda or 
	'ssh' to  Enter your Student ID number.  Then 
	select the new "p" option for resetting your password and reprinting a 
	form.  The form with a new password will be emailed to you the next 
	day (weekday) or sooner.

	Named accounts look like 'gbush' or 'bclinton'.

	For class accounts:

	Go to the Instructional sys admin staff in 333 Soda, 378 Cory or 
	386 Cory.  Bring your initial class account form or student ID card.
	There is no on-line procedure for resetting the password of a class 

	Class accounts look like 'cs61a-aa' or 'ee141-agore'.

Fall 2004 - Security alert: Internet Explorer Active scripting is disabled

	Users of Internet Explorer may be prompted repeatedly for permission 
	to run scripts on the page.   This is because the sys admins have 
	disabled the "Active scripting" feature of Internet Explorer on most 
	EECS Instructional Windows computers because of a security flaw for 
	which there is no patch yet.

	Users are advised to use a different WEB browser (Mozilla, Firefox 
	or Opera) to avoid this.

	For information about the security flaw, please see

May 2002 - your LOST+FOUND directory

	Mamba.cs, the Instructional UNIX home directory server, crashed on
	April 29 and was down for 33 hours.   For an explanation of the 
	circumstances, please see the Spring 2002 Managers' Report

	A number of files and home directories were not restored to their
	proper names and locations.   When we couldn't determine where the 
	files should go, we put them a directory called LOST+FOUND in your 
	UNIX home directory.   Please see the file for an 
	explanation of how you can read these files, and ask us for help if needed.

Symptoms when UNIX email or home directories are missing:

	- when you try to login the screen freezes 
	- you see the error message "home directory is /" 
	- session hangs up if you try to 'ssh' into an Instructional computer
	- unable to read WEB pages from the 
	- lots of annoying "NFS timeout" error messages on your screen
	- new email deliveries will be delayed on imail.eecs 

	While the server is down, you may not be able to logout in our labs
	because you can't type any commands.  On a SunRay, even turning it
	off doesn't log you out.  The support staff check the labs after 
	events like this to be sure everyone gets logged out.  We also post 
	information about the problem at to 
	help students find out when the problem has been fixed.   So all you 
	can really do in this case is to wait until the problem is fixed, go 
	back to the lab (or login to the SunRay server for that lab) and log 
	yourself out, or let us log you out.

	We disable email receipt and relaying through imail.eecs when the
	home directory server ( is down.  No mail is 
	lost.  Computers that send mail queue messages that are not accepted
	by a remote server, and they resend the messages periodically until 
	they are received.

For additional information, please contact me:
  Kevin Mullally, ISG Manager
  EECS Instructional Support Group
  378 Cory Hall, (510) 643-6141

source: ~inst/public_html/reports/managers/Fall_2009