Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

DCO > Policies > Entitlements

This page describes the services that EECS department faculty, staff, and students can expect from the Departmental Computing Organization.This is a work in progress; feedback from the EECS community will be accepted on an ongoing basis and revisions will be made when necessary.

Last revised Tuesday August 16, 2005

1. DCO's responsibilities

1.1. Network infrastructure

1.1.1. Ethernet backbone

DCO manages the connection of systems in EECS to the College of Engineering network. A fee is charged for each connection. The fee was set by the DCO executive committee in cooperation with the university Cost Reimbursement office. The fee is currently $300 per machine, to be paid at the time the machine is installed. Note that the fee applies to each newly installed machine, not to each network connection; when a new machine replaces an old one a new fee is charged.

To ensure the integrity of the network, and to allow DCO to respond appropriately in emergency situations it is required that DCO staff have administrative access to all systems connected to the network backbone (root access on Unix systems, administrator access on Microsoft Windows systems, etc.). This applies for both DCO administered and self-administered systems of all types.

1.1.2. Internet access

Access to standard internet services (Mail, News, Web) will be provided.

1.1.3. World Wide Web support

DCO will operate a departmental WWW server and provide basic technical consulting and assistance. However, individual users and labs are responsible for their own HTML document preparation; unfortunately, DCO does not have the resources to provide technical typing services. DCO runs the HTML server for the department's home page and handles technical issues concerning the server. The content of the departmental home page is determined by the faculty members of the DCO Executive Committee.

1.2. Unix systems services

1.2.1. Unix accounts

A Unix account with access to Internet services will be available for each employee (faculty or staff) and each graduate student in the department.

1.2.2. Unix disk storage

A reasonable amount of disk storage will be provided to each user. The exact amount will increase over time as permitted by available funding and ongoing disk price reductions. The current allocation is 600 megabytes per person. Research groups that need additional storage should purchase dedicated disk drives to attach directly to their private workstations.

1.2.3. Unix software environment

Departmental Unix accounts will have access to the following software packages.

  • Standard Unix file manipulation utilities
  • Text editors (vi and GNU emacs)
  • ANSI C and C++ compilers and debugger (GNU gcc, g++ and gdb)
  • Text processing software (TeX and LaTeX)
  • Electronic mail software (BSD mail, pine, elm, mh, GNU Emacs rmail and mh-e)
  • The core release of the X Window System
  • Script language tools (perl, sh, tcl, expect, and zsh)
  • Programmer's tools (RCS, bison/yacc, flex/lex)
  • A plotting package (gnuplot)
  • Image processing tools (pbmplus and IJG jpeg)
  • Security and privacy tools (PGP mail encryption and CFS file system encryption)

DCO will make every reasonable effort to provide all of the above packages on the main departmental Unix servers so that users who need to access them can do so by connecting to an appropriate system on the EECS network.

1.2.4. Software consulting support

DCO staff will provide basic support for the Unix operating system and the software packages listed above. This support will include:

  • Assisting new users in getting started
  • Providing lists of recommended documentation such as books, manuals, quick reference guides, "Frequently Asked Questions" lists, etc.
  • Assistance with commonly encountered problems
  • Providing access to the source code of these packages for advanced users

Persons who need to use advanced features or do extensive customization of these packages are generally expected to consult the documentation and develop their own expertise as needed. Departmental faculty and staff are welcome to ask the DCO staff about advanced features of the supported packages and about packages not listed above, but DCO cannot guarantee an answer to all questions; DCO does not have sufficient staff resources to have an internal expert for in all of these packages.

1.2.5. Supported hardware

DCO will make available a list of Unix workstations and operating system software versions that are known to operate well within the EECS networked computing environment. Significant compatibility and reliability problems have been encountered on frequent occasions with unfamiliar equipment. DCO can make absolutely no guarantees of any kind with regards to non-recommended hardware; the purchaser must assume all risks.

1.2.6. Backup services

As a paid subscription service, at a rate established by the DCO executive committee and approved by the cost reimbursement office, DCO will provide backup services for all Unix and Macintosh machines with appropriate software and hardware and a paid network connection. The current rate is $10 per month for up to 5 gigabytes of backed up data. For Unix machines, an implementation of the amanda backup client software is required. For Apple Macintosh systems, the Retrospect Remote client is required.

Backup services on personal machines are not provided automatically-- they must be explictly requested and paid for.

1.3. Personal computer systems services

1.3.1 Software support

DCO staff will provide basic support for the Apple Macintosh and DOS/Windows environments including:

  • Assisting new users in getting started
  • Providing lists of recommended documentation such as books, manuals, quick reference guides, "Frequently Asked Questions" lists, etc.
  • Assistance with commonly encountered problems

1.4. Printing services

DCO will provide a list of standard PostScript printers that are known to work well in the departmental computing environment. Please note that PostScript is an extremely general language, so it is impossible to guarantee that all documents will print reliably on all printers, particularly when documents mix components from multiple applications programs. DCO will maintain a list of applications that have been found to work reliably with most EECS printers, and DCO will also maintain as list of applications or combinations of applications that have been found to cause printing problems.

1.5. Classroom video services

The departmental technicians can provide a limited amount of video equipment for classroom use, including a video cassette player and a scan-converter to allow Macintosh screen images to be displayed on classroom television receivers. Equipment is available on a first-come first-served basis. A minimum of one full working day advanced notice is required to request equipment. Please be forewarned that the resolution of conventional television receivers is not nearly as good as that of expensive computer monitors; it is surprisingly easy to produce unreadable displays, and considerable advanced planning and preparation is necessary to make a really good computer video presentation.

2. Items DCO is NOT responsible for

Unfortunately, DCO does not have the resources to do everything. To ensure that the DCO staff can give sufficiently high priority to the essential tasks listed above, we must leave it to our computer users to handle some other issues themselves. While we would like to be as helpful as possible, sometimes we must say "no".

Specifically, the following items are all DCO users' own responsibilities:

2.1. Commercial software packages

  • Funding and purchasing
  • Obtaining software licensing keys
  • Resolving problems with the vendor

2.2. Persons not directly affiliated with the department

  • Providing consulting for family and friends of faculty and staff
  • Fixing hardware or software damaged by family and friends of faculty and staff

2.3. Equipment off campus

DCO does not have sufficient staff resources to provide on-site support for off-campus equipment. Faculty and staff who wish to remove their computer equipment from campus for home use or use while traveling are expected to take direct responsibility for the safe transportation and the maintenance of the equipment while it is off campus.

2.4. Obsolete hardware and software

Computer hardware and software depreciates extremely rapidly. It is generally out of date within three years and hopelessly obsolete within five. It is not reasonable to expect DCO to expend scarce staff resources to provide support and maintenance for obsolete equipment.