Using FastX

FastX displays your remote Linux desktops on your own computer. FastX provides a full Linux environment and GUI and appears no different than a Linux environment on your own computer. With FastX you can have multiple sessions open, pause the sessions, and resume them whenever you want. Your FastX sessions will stay open even through connection errors and unexpected computer shutdowns.

If you are using FastX to connect to SPORC replace computername with sporcsubmit. Keep in mind that SPORC only has the xterm terminal, not Gnome so it will look different than the pictures in this documentation.

FastX for the Web

  1. Open your browser and into the address bar enter: https://computername.rit.edu:3300 or 3443 depending on the computer.  If port 3300 does not work try 3443.
  2. This screen should appear. Login in with your RIT username and password.

    FastX login screen
  3. Click ‘+’,

    Click the plus
  4. Click ‘Gnome’, then ‘Launch’ to launch a session with Gnome, or XFCE if you want to launch a session with XFCE. If you are using SPORC, use xterm.

    Click 'Gnome', then 'Launch'
  5. If you want to launch using a custom command, or a desktop environment that is not in the bookmarks , click "Command."
    Enter the command you want to run, then click "Launch". You don't have to change the "Run As User" , "Window Mode", or "Name" fields.

    Common desktop environment commands (the server you are connecting to may or may not have these installed, to find out run $ ls -l /usr/share/xsessions/ in a terminal):
    1. Gnome: gnome-session
    2. XFCE: startxfce4
    3. Cinnamon: cinnamon-session
    4. Openbox: openbox
    5. For just a terminal:  xterm

FastX Desktop Client

Installation:


  1. Download and install the FastX desktop client for your operating system from https://starnet.com/download/fastx-client . Windows users will find the "FastX Windows Client" version the easiest to install.
    Note: for servers using FastX version 2, you may need to download the desktop client from https://www.starnet.com/fastx/current-client instead (You might get the error "SSH Connection Failed Unable to run FastX interface script fastx-protocol. Check that FastX is properly installed on your server.")

Connecting:

  1. Open the FastX application from your computer.
  2. In the top left corner click the '+' icon.
  3. Enter the name of the computer in the host field.
  4. Enter your RIT username in the name field.
  5. Do not change the Port entry
  6. In the name field enter the name of the computer as something you will be able to recognize.
  7. Click Save
    Enter information, then click save
  8. A popup may appear with ‘This host is not recognize...’, click Continue
    This host is not recognize...
  9. Enter your RIT password
  10. Double click the new entry in the list.
    Double click the new entry in the list.
  11. Click the '+' icon in the top left corner of the new window.

  12. Select Gnome and click OK, you are now connected to the computer/server. If you are connecting to SPORC, use xterm or you can add startxfce4 for a GUI interface.
    Common desktop environment commands(the server you are connecting to may or may not have these installed, to find out run $ ls -l /usr/share/xsessions/ in a terminal):
    1. Gnome: gnome-session
    2. XFCE: startxfce4
    3. Cinnamon: cinnamon-session
    4. Openbox: openbox
    5. For just a terminal:  xterm
    Select Gnome and click OK If you are connecting to SPORC, use xterm or you can add startxfce4 for a GUI interface

    Note: After you have connected once, double click the name of the computer in the window that opens when the FastX application to connect

Using the FastX Environment

If you using the xterm terminal, it will not look like this, these instructions only cover Gnome. If this is your first time using the terminal, read Basic Unix Commands.

Navigating Applications

To find applications installed on the computer such as Firefox or the Text Editor:

  1. Click ‘Activities’ in the top left corner

  2. Enter the name of the application in the search bar OR
  3. Click the nine white dots in the bottom left
  4. Click ‘All’ at the bottom of the screen and now all applications are displayed

Accessing the Terminal

  1. Click ‘Activities’ in the top left corner
  2. Click the terminal icon on the left side of the screen. It is a black box with a white border and a white ‘>’ inside.


Running Programs through the Terminal

  1. Once in the terminal, in the command line type the name of the program you want to open. For example, to run R, type “R” in the command line.

  2. If the program does not open (i.e. <programName>: command not found..) you may need to load a module. (Module documentation coming soon)
  3. Note: If you can’t figure out how to close a program once it is open try ctrl+Z. This will force quit the program.

Logging Off and Terminating

Using Gnome

  1. Click the power symbol in the top right corner.
  2. Click on your name.
  3. Click ‘Log Out’, then click it again in the pop up. You are now logged out of your session and it is terminated.

  4. You can also terminate a session from the screen where the session was made. Click the small ‘X’ button in the pane where your session is. Using the web client this pane will have a mountain landscape as the picture.

    For the desktop client, it will have a camera.

  5. Note: If you do not terminate your sessions, they will stay open where you left off, even if you log out of FastX. If you have too many non-terminated sessions at once, this may cause problems.

Using xterm

Just like any terminal you've logged onto, logging out is as simple as running logout. You can also exit by using step 4 above in Using Gnome.


If there are any further questions, or there is an issue with the documentation, please contact rc-help@rit.edu for additional assistance.