LL2 – HVCC AcadNX Ubuntu Server Access


HVCC AcadNX Server accounts are only refreshed once per day during registration. If you add the course during Add/Drop, your HVCC AcadNX account may not be available until the next day

Note: Please reread LL1 and the assigned readings as necessary and rereading past material should be assumed from this point forward


Required Reading

Linux Command Line Text by Shotts => Chapter 1.1 and please return and try all commands in Chapter 1.1 after you get connected to AcadNX.  The passwd command is located at the tail end of chapter 9.  Recall you can search this pdf textbook that opens in a browser window using ctrl-f on Windows and command-f on Mac so you can search for the occurrence of the “passwd” command. (you of course can also search GNU/Linux Basic Operating System using the same method).

*Note, you may have to search (e.g. Google) to read additional background material and see examples to get used to the Linux environment and fully understand the material. As an example you could Google “Ubuntu password command” or “Linux password command examples” to see the Linux password command syntax and semantics (note if the words syntax and semantics are unfamiliar, please look these up as well).

HVCC Acadnx Intro

Here we will connect to the HVCC acadnx Ubuntu server with SSH and following this we will become acquainted with the Command Line Interface (CLI) Linux Labs today and in subsequent weeks.

First note that the HVCC acadnx server is an Ubuntu Linux server so we will be working in a client-server environment (your computer is the client and the server is the HVCC AcadNX Ubuntu server).  SSH is short for “secure shell” and will provide us with a secure Terminal or Command Line Interface (CLI) connection to the Ubuntu OS on the AcadNX server. (This security is obtained through encryption and you will also see the closley related term cipher).



Developed by SSH Communications Security Ltd., Secure Shell is a program to log into another computer over a network, to execute commands in a remote machine, and to move files from one machine to another. It provides strong authentication and secure communications over insecure channels using public key encryption. (It is a replacement for rlogin, rsh, rcp, and rdist.)  SSH protects a network from attacks such as IP spoofing, IP source routing, and DNS spoofing and also works with RSA authentication.

When using ssh’s slogin (instead of rlogin) the entire login session, including transmission of password, is encrypted; therefore it is almost impossible for an outsider to collect passwords.  SSH is available by default in network OSs like Macintosh, Linux and Unix  and ssh clients like PuTTY are available for Windows (It can be installed in OS/2 as well).  An attacker who has managed to take over a network can only force ssh to disconnect. The attacker cannot play back the traffic or hijack the connection when encryption is enabled. You will learn this is network confidentiality and again, to demonstrate the precise nature of out terminology, if I had asked you what confidentiality was prior to providing you with this definition, would you have answered it correctly as everyone surely knows the meaning of confidentiality.

A very nice SSH introduction is located here, minimally please read the top “What is SSH” portion: “http://support.suso.com/supki/SSH_Tutorial_for_Linux.

HVCC acadnx usernames & passwords

username – a username is your unique account name and later on we will learn that it is recorded in the password file.  AcadNX usernames are standard HVCC usernames (e.g. a-student, j-doe, j-smith, etc and note  the username may have numbers as well in accord with your HVCC username e.g. a-student32, j-doe12, etc.)

Note that usernames are easily identifiable as they are the first component in an email address which has the convention “username@domain” or as an example: j.looby@hvcc.edu

passwordyour initial AcadNX password will be your username minus the hyphen (e.g. astudent or astudent32 in the corresponding examples above).  You will change this after you connect to the Ubuntu Server.  Note some Unix/Linux systems will not display your password as you type it so please do not be alarmed if you do not see your text as you type your password.

Ok so now let’s get connected.  Below are instructions and videos of my installation on Mac and Windows.  If you are a Linux user you will follow the Mac SSH instructions as Mac is Linux/Unix based and uses the terminal (Mac and Linux are Network Operating Systems so networking is built in).  While you will choose your appropriate platform (Mac or Win) instructions to get connected to the HVCC acadnx Ubuntu server, please read both sections and watch both videos as multi-platform understanding is now your professional responsibility. After you have completed your connection you will continue with the “acadnx connection screenshot” assignment instructions and submit/upload your screenshot in Blackboard LM2 LL2 assignment area.

Windows screenshot, MS Word paste and PDF save demonstration video


Mac OSX screenshots are straightforward and provide more control by using the Command + Shift + 4 keys simultaneously and then highlighting the area you want to capture.  Following this, the screenshot is saved as an image in your Downloads folder so you can copy and paste it from there.


Mac OS SSH Connection

Mac OSX is a network OS and as such has a built in terminal. Mac OSX Terminal instructions here and in the video below:

1. Open Applications => Utilities => Terminal

If the Applications icon is not in the dock, open Finder and you should see it in the left or main center panel.  If it is not visible in Finder, open Finder, choose “Finder” in the main menu across the top of the screen, choose “Preferences” and then choose the “Sidebar” tab. In the Sidebar tab check the box to show “Applications” in finder.

2. In the Terminal, on the command line enter the command:  ssh username@acadnx.hvcc.edu noting that you replace username with your hvcc username (for me, if I was a student this would be: ssh j-looby@acadnx.hvcc.edu).

3. You may have to choose yes to accept the certificate/host key.

4. Enter your password with the format explained above (for me this would be jlooby) and press enter/return.  Note that you may or may not see the characters as you type your password.

5. Note in the end of the video I reference the OpenNX Virtual Desktop Interface or VDI but we no longer use that VDI due to instability on some platforms. (OpenNX was a GUI for the AcadNX Ubuntu system and distinct from our HVCC Academic Computing Environment or ACE VDI). In other words you can ignore the reference to OpenNX.

A lecture capture of this Mac process is here:


HVCC ACE Computers (i.e. on campus computers)

PuTTy is installed on all HVCC Academic Computing Environment (ACE) Windows machines in labs and classrooms so you can perform the Linux Labs on campus.

On HVCC ACE Computers you will find PuTTy and WinSCP in the SSH folder (Start => All Programs => SSH => PuTTy).  You will not have to install it as you simply need to follow the connection Windows OS SSH Connection instructions below.


MS Windows OS SSH Connection

MS Windows is not a network OS so SSH is not “built into” the Windows OS as it is in Mac/Linux which are both Network Operation System (NOS).  To use SSH on a Windows there are several SSH options but we will use Putty or PuTTY.  PuTTY (/ˈpʌti/) is a free and open-source terminal emulator. Putty is available on HVCC ACE computers (classes & labs) in the Start Menu SSH folder so there is no need to download PuTTY when working on campus.

PuTTY installation instructions:

1. Open a Browser, search for “PuTTY download”

2. Download PuTTY (putty.exe) to your desktop from either putty.org or cnet.com (Again, PuTTY is available on campus computers so you just need to open Start => All Programs => find and launch PuTTY if on campus)

Open, intstall and run PuTTy

(Windows 8 users may have to choose “More Info” which will bring up a screen allowing them to  “Run Anyway”)

1. In the Hostname (or IP Address) enter: acadnx.hvcc.edu

2.  Make sure “SSH” radio button box is selected.

3. If necessary, choose yes and accept the certificate/host key

4. Enter your username and password using the conventions above when prompted and press enter/return. Note that you may or may not see the characters as you type your password as this is another security mechanism so that no one can be watching.

A lecture capture of this process is here:


Assignment – Excercise 1a: SSH acadnx connection screenshot

1. Please research how to take a screenshot for your particular platform (i.e. Google Windows Screenshot or Mac Screenshot and/or seek out YouTube videos).

2. Take a screenshot of your Terminal/Shell displaying your SSH connection (i.e. your Mac Terminal or PuTTY Terminal).

3. Paste the screenshot image into a word processing document and please provide the title “1a SSH acadnx connection” above the screenshot image.  Note you may want to hit “Return” several times so that you can add an image title prior to pasting it. After you paste your screenshot please insert a page break so that the next image can be pasted on a fresh page. Note you will do this for all subsequent labs and screenshots providing the exercise number and title and separating exercises 1 exercise to a page.

4. Save this file as a .pdf (found in the “Save As” menu of your word processor) and name this file using the following convention: LastnameFirstnameLL2  (for me this would be LoobyJamesLL2).  Your word processor will affix the .pdf extension when you choose “Save As PDF”.  Note you will submit a single .pdf file with all the lab’s screenshots pasted and titled into the .pdf.  For this assignment you will have the 1a SSH acadnx connection screenshot and 1b password change screenshot detailed below. The 1a SSH acadnx connection and 1b password change headings must precede the screenshots to receive credit.

BTW – why .pdf?  Because PDFs open in a browser window without needing to open the associated application and this was your first Web Accessibility lesson.

Note if you do not have a word processor or a word processor that saves files in .pdf format I recommend you download Open Office – www.openoffice.org


Password Reset

Ok, so we always thing about security first so we need to change our password. When we change our password in Linux (either in a SSH/PuTTY Terminal) we will use our new password to login to the system from this point on.

Changing your password is covered in the text on page 106 (link at top of page).

Additional information on setting Linux passwords can be found online so please Google: “Linux Password Command” or even “Changing Linux Password”

Open a Terminal either through SSH/PuTTY if you closed your session and change your password using the Linux passwd command.  I recommend you use your main HVCC password to maintain consistency.


Excercise 1b: password change screenshot

1. Please take a screenshot using your host (i.e. Mac/Win) of your password reset and paste the screenshot into your document on a new page (i.e. insert a page break and add to LastnameFirstnameLL2).  Please be sure to add the “1b password change screenshot” heading to the screenshot and please be sure this is on a new page in your document. Also, if possible, please try to make it readable or several lines/carriage returns above the screenshot.

2. Submit your single .pdf document with both screenshots to the BB LM2 assignment folder (BB => LM2 => LL2 Submission => Attach File => Browse My Computer).

2. Logout of SSH by issuing the “logout” command at the terminal prompt (i.e. type logout at the prompt).

3. I know you know this but… please save your files on your computer should something go wrong.


Assignment Submission: Submit your single .pdf document with the screenshots and exercise headings in Blackboard.  Please make sure your file is named properly as in CS/IT, failure to follow explicit directions could cause you to lose a prospective job or contract. Pease logout or quit your CLI/Terminal and this is done by issuing the logout command at the terminal prompt.

A quick recording of this submission process in Windows:

Another demonstration leading up to LL3

Here is a quick demonstration of the AcadNX Linux environment and some of the commands we will use beginning next week.  I provide it here because it is good to see the environment in action prior to your LL3 readings.  Please note I am not covering the lab in this video as I am just highlighting a few things to get everyone started and illustrate the detail with which you must be reading (and rereading) the material.

Getting help from your faculty

First, please provide an appropriate email subject heading per LM1 (your name, section and issue) and optimally use Jing as it will allow you to highlight and record your problem on your screen and explain your problem via screenshots and audio. Here are Prof Doane’s Jing installation and usage instructions:

Document: http://www.ciss100.com/wp-content/uploads/resources/Jing.pdf

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO-tOq2g7kM

Should you not be able to do this you need to take screenshots and provide accompanying information to illustrate your problem/question.

Lastly please note you may need to use your “administrator account to utilize administrative authorization” to install software.  Every system/platform is different so you need to research this yourself but it is straightforward using the discrete terminology above coupled with your OS and possibly “install software” in a Google or YouTube search (e.g. software installation administator priviledges Windows 7).


Help and FAQ

Hi all, if your PuTTy session times out, please make sure the you check the box for TCPKeepAlive in PuTTY configuration.

If you don’t have a word processor you can use Open Office and its “Writer” application (just Google “Open Office Download”) and there are many Open Office tutorials on YouTube.  You could also purchase MS Office with an educational discount (last I saw this was $9.95) and instructions are here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxPiXEu2n3I

Lastly – Note if you explore using the Linux “ls” command on your system you will not see my directory structure as your directory structure is empty at this point (ls -a will show you the hidden files present however). Please read LL1, LL2 and pre-read LL3 content concerning the password the Linux passwd command if necessary (You can also Google “Linux passwd”). Note, you will only gain command of this material through continuing sustained research and practice.

Thank you,

Prof Looby,    

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