RISC-Linz RISC-Linz Research Institute for Symbolic Computation  

Course Software at RISC

The following (mostly third party) software is available for use in courses: All of this software is freely available under GNU/Linux (partially also under MS Windows). If you are not familar with GNU/Linux, please study the following material:
Linux Tutorial (Other Tutorial)
GNOME User Documentation
Xfce Documentation

To use this software for your course work, you have basically three options:
  1. Self installation: you may download and install the software on your local computer on your own.
    This is often not difficult but at your own risk; we cannot give installation support.
  2. Virtual machine: you may download a virtual machine with the pre-installed course software and run the software within the virtual machine on your local computer.
    To use this option, you have to install the free VirtualBox virtualization environment on your local computer; you also need sufficient main memory (2 GB) and free disk space (8 GB).

    This is the recommended way for using the course software.

  3. Remote login: you may login from your local computer to a machine in the RISC environment where the software is installed and run the software remotely.
    To use this option, you need a reasonably fast Internet connection and either an X2go client or an X11 server installed on your local computer.

    Use this option only if you cannot use the virtual machine.

The last two options are explained below.

Virtual Machine

You can run a virtual GNU/Linux machine (Debian 9 "stretch") with the course software pre-installed on your own (MS Windows or Mac OS X or Linux) computer. All you need is To download and install VirtualBox, visit
Download the appropriate VirtualBox binary and start the installation as described (MS Windows: just click on the .msi file).

After the installation, download the virtual machine stored in file

(about 3 GB large). Then start VirtualBox (MS Windows: menu entry "Programs/Oracle VM VirtualBox/VirtualBox") and import the virtual machine (choose "File->Import appliance", select the downloaded file, potentially adapt the configuration). Then start the virtual machine.

When you start the virtual machine, a Debian GNU/Linux system with the Xfce desktop environment starts up. You may login as

User: guest
Password: guest
(there is also a superuser account "root" with password "root" for software installations/updates; after login as "guest", you may execute "su" to switch to this account). Click on the icon "Terminal" to open a terminal shell from which you can start the course software.

To exchange files between your computer (the "host") and the virtual machine, some directory of your computer has to be mapped to the folder

in the home directory of user "guest". For this purpose, shutdown the virtual machine. Select in the "Settings" menu of the VirtualBox manager the "Shared Folders" tab. Press the "Add" button on the right to add a shared folder with name "host" and the path of an arbitrary directory (which must be writable) on your computer (don't use the root directory C:\). Start the virtual machine again. If you write a file into the directory /home/guest/host of the virtual machine, it should appear in the configured host directory.

Don't use the shared directory for working with the software installed in the virtual machine; there are certain limitations with respect to file names etc. such that the software may not work. Use this directory only for transferring individual files from/to your host computer.

Remote Login

You can login to the RISC computing environment from any computer in the Internet. All you need is
See also the reports The Computer Environment at RISC and The Software Environment at RISC, respectively The Complete Guide to the Computer/Network/Software Environment at RISC (login with your RISC account).

If possible, use the X2go client solution; it provides much better user experience on low bandwidth networks than the X-Server solution.


On a GNU/Linux computer with an X2go client, you can type in a terminal window
  x2goclient &
and create a new session to host "speedy.risc.jku.at" with session type "GNOME" using your login data. You can then work with a GNOME desktop on the remote machine as if on your local machine. In particular, by selecting "Applications/Accessories/Terminal", you can open a terminal window on the remote machine.

Alternatively, if you have just an X-Server running, you can type in a terminal window

  ssh -Y -l username speedy.risc.jku.at
(assuming that your account is named username). You will be asked for a password and can login to the machine "speedy" of the RISC environment. The ssh option "-Y" allows you to start programs with GUIs and have them displayed on your computer. After typing
  xterm &
a terminal window (executed on the RISC machine "speedy") should pop up on your computer.

MS Windows

On a MS Windows computer, with an X2Go client, you just click on the icon "X2goClient" and create a new session to host "speedy.risc.jku.at" with session type "GNOME" using your login data. You can then work with a GNOME desktop on the remote machine as if on your local machine. In particular, by selecting "Applications/Accessories/Terminal", you can open a terminal window on the remote machine.

Alternatively, the free Xming software provides an X-Server together with the SSH client PuTTY. To download and install Xming, visit

Xming X Server for Windows
Download from the section "Public releases" the executables "Xming" and "Xming-fonts" and run both for setup (complete installation, leave the default options, but have a desktop icon created for "XLaunch").

After the installation, start "XLaunch", select "Multiple windows", press "Next", Select "Start a program", press "Next", Select "Run Remote Using PuTTY (plink.exe)" and "With compression", enter "speedy.risc.jku.at", your username and password, press twice "Next" and then "Finish".

Now a terminal window (executed on the RISC machine "speedy") should pop up on your computer.

Account Configuration

Before you can execute the course software, you have to configure the environment of your RISC account by adding the following two lines to your initialization file in your RISC home directory (using e.g. the Gnome editor "gedit"):
tcsh users (file ".tcshrc", default at RISC)
  setenv PATH "$PATH":/zvol/formal/bin
bash users (file ".bashrc")
  export set PATH=$PATH:/zvol/formal/bin 
(Please note that a new line must be started after the last configuration line, otherwise the command will have no effect).

This command puts the directory with the RISC installation of the course software into your PATH (all software is installed in directory "/zvol/formal" with the executables in subdirectory "bin"). Now logout and login again (respectively start a new terminal window) and check whether executing the command

  jml --version
works and prints some version information.


Before logging out, make sure that you have no processes left running.

For this, enter

  ps -fu username
which will show a list of your processes with the corresponding process identifiers (PIDs). If you cannot close the corresponding application by normal means, enter
  kill -9 PID
to terminate the process.

To finally logout from the system, logout from the remote Gnome session (if using the X2go client solution) or type

in the terminal window (if using the X-server solution).

Never terminate a login session by just closing the X2go window respectively the terminal window.

Wolfgang Schreiner
Last modified: July 10, 2015