Monthly Archives: September 2012

Linux cluster and update of

The Linux cluster in the Mill will continue to run Fedora 15 in academic year 2012/13.

A new virtual server named ritchie has been instantiated for us by ISS. With the exception of most graphical desktop software, this is also running Fedora 15.

Requests for additional package installations on ritchie or in the Mill should be directed to the support team in the usual way. As a virtual machine, additional resources could be allocated to Ritchie. If this turns out to be needed, please help us make a case to ISS.

On Friday 28th September, the alias will be moved from lovelace to ritchie. We hope all teaching work that requires command line access to Linux will continue to use this alias and will transfer to ritchie. Lovelace (which is running a much older version of fedora) will soon be retired.

Lovelace and ritchie are named in honour of people who have made a significant contribution to the development of computing over the years. Ada Lovelace (1815 –1852) is considered by many to have been the first computer programmer for her work documenting and extending the theoretical capabilities of Babbage’s Analytical Engine. Dennis Ritchie (1941 – 2011) created the C programming language and was influential in the early development of Unix, without which Linux would never have been developed. (All biographical details from Wikipedia).

Round-up of website work


Thanks to the efforts of John Lloyd, the school’s history page has been reworked substantially and now covers news from the formation of the school in 1957 to now. This is now presented in the form of a ‘timeline’.


We’ve made a concerted effort to ensure that all teaching-related staff have a photograph on their staff profile. This has been used to develop the ‘photo board’ now gracing CS Reception.

At the same time, we’ve steadily been revising the way that phone numbers are displayed in profiles. Now, if you access the people pages from a mobile phone such as an iPhone, you will be able to touch the phone number to dial it.


We now also have a complete record of all the PhD poster presentations for this year. For each thumbnail image on the page, there is a full pdf copy of the poster to view.  We aim to setup a page like this every year for the school, documenting all the postgraduate research.

The list of PhD theses continues to grow. Most entries now carry their abstracts and a growing number include links to the full thesis available electronically at the University Library’s website.

We have begun revising and expanding the pages for our research groups. The new page for the Biology Research Group is already finished and we hope to use this as a template for the other groups.

Marie and Lindsey have developed a new, seperate mobile computing site to cover this cross-cutting theme within the school. This is complemented by the addition of a new mobile computing research theme. We are planning to further integrate this theme into other areas of the site.


The school has hosted a number of successful conferences in recent weeks and they have been advertised via the website, including the Newcastle Connection and the up and coming Turing event.

On the site’s front page, News and upcoming Events are now displayed in separate lists.


Dr. Tully has completely redeveloped the Current students section for the new academic year.


Dr. Tully has developed A new staff handbook for the new academic year. This internal site is available to CS staff only. We are exploring this new hosting option with a view to re-developing a single, focussed “intranet” for the school.

Subversion and Mercurial repository access restored

The CS Subversion and Mercurial repository service is available once again. Apologies to all for the inconvenience caused by this outage. Thanks to ISS who provided short-notice out of hours access to their secure machine room, without which we could not have restored service in the time we have: they were actually back by roughly 18:00 last night, but we needed to run some tests to ensure all was well before announcing this.

Subversion and Mercurial Repositories unavailable due to a hardware fault

Unfortunately the machine that hosts the CS SVN (and mercurial) service has suffered a hardware failure relating to its network card and is presently unreachable.

We have been unable to complete a diagnosis of the problem this evening. CS support will be working to rectify or replace the faulty components from first thing tomorrow. We will keep cs-all@ updated with any news regarding this work.

Apologies for the inconvenience!

Edit: It’s back!

Oracle releases emergency patch for Java 7

Oracle have released an  emergency patch for Java

“Due to the severity of these vulnerabilities, the public disclosure of technical details and the reported exploitation of CVE-2012-4681 ‘in the wild’, Oracle strongly recommends that customers apply the updates provided by this security alert as soon as possible”

This applies to anyone who has installed the JRE themselves.  CMD systems have JRE 6 so are not affected,  but the JRE has been updated to avoid some other vulnerabilities.

Fontburn Windows print server to be decommissioned

On Wednesday September 12  the Windows print server fontburn will be

If you currently print via fontburn (you can check from the Devices
and Printers Control Panel), please delete your printers and re-fetch
them from fontburn64 (see

If you have any difficulties with this procedure, please raise a support ticket.