New Users

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This page is intended to introduce to a new user or clarify to an existing user some key facts about the CHC unix environment.

How to Get a Unix Account

To request a computer account please send email to help @ and the ERI IT Team will mail you a Google Form to fill out and return electronically. Normal account turn around time is 1-2 business days, pending volume.

some tutorials you might find useful,
 List of Unix commands
 basic unix

Standard Directories

As a general rule, the following directories should be created and owned by [user]:chc


This is your home directory. It is backed up once per day. It is not a place to put any data, even for a short time!


This is where we encourage users to put codes, scripts, and/or intellectual property. Please note, this directory is accessible to most other users so it is reasonable to expect them to look around to see how you're doing things. This separates your code from any other files you may keep in your home directory.

This is backed up often. It is not a place to put any data!


This is a directory for your user-specific data that does not yet have another logical place to be in our /home/databits universe. Talk to Pete if you are not sure. /home/chc-[user] is backed up once per week.

As your data becomes more significant/relevant, consider migrating it to a /home/databits directory.


This directory is for large data sets that never need to be backed up and/or that you can get again. Make sure that the code to re-get the data you put here lives in /home/source/[user].


This is the user's personal directory on our ftp server (see FTP below).


This is an ad hoc directory with symbolic links to (almost) all of our automounted directories. So try, (may take a while while it resolves ~160 symbolic links)

cd /home/hub

Adding directories to your /home environment

If you often go to a certain directory and want access it more conveniently, simply cd into that directory and a link to that directory will now appear in your /home environment. For example:

[user@server ~] ls
chc-data-out/   chc-sandbox/    source/    user/    world/
[user@server ~] cd /home/code
[user@server ~] cd /home ; ls
code/ chc-data-out/   chc-sandbox/    source/    user/    world/

As you can see, you only have to cd into /home/code once for it to always thereafter appear in your /home directory. To find a complete listing of directories that you can mount in this fashion, please see Auto_mounts.


To add data to our ftp site, use the auto-mounted /home/chc-data-out directory and navigate from there. For example, if "user" wanted to add something to their personal ftp:

[user@server ~]$ cd /home/chc-data-out/people/user
[user@server user]$ ls
some_files other_files
[user@server user]$ vi another_file
[user@server user]$ ls
another_file other_files some_files

When you want to point others to the data on our ftp site, you can direct them to So, if "user" wanted someone to see the files in their ftp directory, they would direct them to


When users outside CHC want to place documents or data into our ftp site, they do so via chc-data-in. Everything that comes into /home/chc-data-in gets pushed to

There is a cron job that runs once a day to catch anything new that comes in.

The copy lives in chc-sandbox, since the original /home/chc-data-in is there (just not easy to see) and its backed up.

CHC data for the outside world

A good starting point to point folks at for all things CHC public data is,

From here folks can choose their favorite protocol, https, ftp or rsync and access all our public data.