Central Linux Home directories

Remote Home Directories

The Linux Home directories provide a way to remotely and securely store files in your /home directory on Linux in a way that makes them instantly available on all other machines in physics. These are backed up nightly.

Remote home directories are the default for new Linux desktops as of 16 Oct 2015 and has been in particle, atmospheric and theoretical physics as of October 2014. Other machines will store files and settings on a local home directory that is not backed-up centrally.

Applications will default to storing files in /home/{username} on any desktop. We simply map the /home directory to a remote server. Anyone in the Physics department is entitled to turn on the feature which allows the remote remote storage of their home directory.

If you have had your central Linux machine set up for remote home directories you will have a Linux home directory that is accessible from anywhere within the Physics department or over VPN from Windows, OSX and Linux.

To set your Linux machine up from remote home directories please email itsupport@physics.ox.ac.uk

When using remote home directories, you are required to leave the automatic screen-lock feature enabled*.

In case of no network access at all, you will be automatically logged in with a local home directory. This is an emergency measure. Please take corrective action as soon as possible by emailing itsupport@physics.ox.ac.uk. Do not rely on this for extended periods.

Viewing files from Central-Physics IT-administered Linux machines

The files are available from the file-system location: /network/home/{subdept}/{username}, where {username} is your physics login name and subdept is your subdepartment e.g. particle or theory.

Viewing central linux files from other machines

  • From departmentally administered Linux machines, the files are* available from /netwok/home/{subdepartment}/{username}, regardless of whether your machine is configured to use them as the default storage location in /home.
    *Some older Linux desktops may need configuration tweaks, which we can make for you.
  • From any other machine, the files are accessible via smb/cifs from the physics distributed file system (Y: drive) with the location \\\\\\\\physics.ox.ac.uk\\\\\dfs\\\\\Linuxusers\\\\Home (windows) or smb://physics.ox.ac.uk/dfs (OSX, Linux) at the share/directory name "/LinuxUsers/home".
    [**]To connect to the Linux home directories from Linux machines that are not administered by IT, you can use anything that supports smb/cifs. For graphical set-ups, see here.
    [**]To connect from OSX, see http://www2.physics.ox.ac.uk/it-services/connecting-to-physics-file-serv... and use the share name smb://physics.ox.ac.uk/dfs/Linuxusers/Home
    [**]To connect from Windows, go to start, run and type in the box :
    [**]To connect from outside of physics, you will currently need a client that supports sftp. There is some hope that we can add webDAV access in the future. To access your Linux home directories, your sftp client will need to connect, using your physics user name and password, to:
    You will need to ensure that GSSAPIAuthentication is turned off on your client.
    Please see the instructions here. The recommendations for external access is the same as for Windows shares. Please see here: http://www2.physics.ox.ac.uk/it-services/access-windows-shares-from-linux

Permission denied?

  • Passwordless access to your desktop should use the kerberos mechanism somewhere along the line to authenticate. If you find you have 'permission denied' errors when you log in with an ssh key, the simplest solution is to open a terminal and type "kinit". More information follows in the notes section, inlcuding how to permanently avoid this issue.


  • To access your central Linux home directories, we use Kerberos tokens or passwords. A Kerberos token is automatically generated when you log in to a managed departmental machine with your PHYSICS user name and a password. This token then allows password-less authentication to a number of departmental services. Please note that access to the central Linux home directories may time out after 28 days rom the last time the screen was unlocked. For more information in case of longer jobs, see 'using krenew'.

Categories: Linux