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All computer systems are prone to breakins. It's a fact of life, and it's getting worse. And once a single system in our network is breached, it makes all the others more vulnerable. Keeping up with all the security patches is a pain. For that and other reasons, we recommend against administering your own Unix system.
That said, there may be reasons you would prefer to run your own Unix system. That is, be your own system administrator, have the root password or equivalent, install software, run experimental kernels, etc. There are some basic requirements you must fulfill before the Lab will "hand you the keys":
Items (3) and (4) should not be taken lightly. When you run your own system, the Lab views you not as a student or researcher, but as a system administrator who is working diligently to keep the local computing environment safe and sane.
To assist you in meeting that goal, all unsupported system administrators are on a mailing list, unsupp-admins@cs. The purpose of this list is to allow the Lab staff to provide you with information that will help you maintain your system's integrity, such as security bulletins that you might not otherwise see (or pay attention to). When you receive such information it is your obligation to act on it immediately so that your system will not become a hazard to yourself or others.
You should also familiarize yourself with the information on the UW-IT Computing Security site, and follow the guidelines, policies and practices described therein. Remember that security is not something you do once; it's an ongoing process. So review that site periodically for updated information.
Students, old and new, who find that their favorite application or software package is missing are invited to investigate joining the student-run unsupported software consortium.
Details for how to get setup to administer your own Unix system are here.
Computer Science & Engineering|
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-2350
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