Ubuntu PCs

PCs with Ubuntu 12/14/16 are the standard desktop computer at the Observatory. Their administration and configuration is exclusively the responsibility of the IT team. Software is automatically updated in the backgroud. Any user with a valid account provided by the Regional Computing Center (RRZ) can log in. Ubuntu PCs depend on NFS-mounted home directories and cannot be operated as standalone PCs.



For the configuration of mail clients see the information on e-mail provided by Hamburg Observatory (<name>@hs.uni-hamburg.de) or the client configuration for university e-mail (<name>@uni-hamburg.de).


Home directories

Your home directory is hosted on a RAID system of the Observatory and is located under the path:


This directory is only intended for long-term storage of configuration files, documents, source code, etc. with special protection by the backup system. Please do not use it for mass storage! The maximum available file space in your home directory is limited to 3GB. If you exceed your quota, you will receive an automatic warning and you will be asked to remove files. Once you use more than 5GB, you will be unable to write to your home directory and to work smoothly on your PC!


To check your disk usage, type

cd; du -hs

which will print the total size of all files in your home directory. For more detailed information, you can use the following commands:

du -h --max-depth=1 (all directories one level below the current directory)

showsize (whole directory tree below current directory, ordered by size)


Data and scratch space

For medium-size data, you can make use of the disk space on your PC. There are two partitions on each disk:

  • /export/data/hspc<id> (long-term storage with backup)
  • /export/scratch/hspc<id> (temporary storage, no backup, files are deleted if no longer needed)

where <id> is the number identifying the PC. To check the size and usage of these partitions on your PC, type df -h on the command line.


The automounter allows you to access data and scratch space of any Ubuntu PC in the LAN of the Observatory unter the paths /data/hspc<id> and /scratch/hspc<id>, respectively. This allows you
to conveniently share files with other members of the observatory. Please follow the policy of creating subdirectories named after your user name if you want to place data in the data or scratch directories (unlike the home directory you will have to create these directories yourself!):

  • (/export)/data/hspc<id>/<user>
  • (/export)/scratch/hspc<id>/<user>

Shared software directory

Users can install and run scientific software in the shared software directory


which is mounted on every Ubuntu PC and on some servers of the Oberservatory. Short descriptions of currently installed software can be found here.
Please inform the IT team about newly installed software to keep the documentation updated: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..