Accessing Biostat Files and Other Remote File Systems In Statistics
Graphical Secure FTP on Unix
It is possible to access remote files on most Unix based systems using command line methods described in CSL's Transferring Files to a Remote System
HOW-TO. An alternative method is to use Graphical FTP (
) to provide a more flexible point-and-click interface to access remote file systems. To get the full advantage of
, a customized
file needs to be placed in your
directory. Additional files should also be placed in the
directory to provide icon images that help identify file types in the
The first step is to create a
directory. If you have run
previously, the directory will already be there. If you have not previously run
, the easiest way to create the directory is to execute the
command. For example, on
public06% gftp &
in the background so you can continue using the terminal window for other things)
This will bring up a
window that you can immediately close down through the pulldown menu
. After this, you will find the directory
and the configuration file
. To customize
, we will replace the
file, but this can only be done while
is not running.
Open the Statistics gftp custom settings directory
in a new window (
right-click->Open Link in New Window
right-click->Save Link As
(or equivalent for your browser) on
. For the
to replace existing
. Save the
files in the same way to the
directory. These are the icon image files.
as shown above:
public06% gftp &
Connecting to a Remote Host
Enter an appropriate remote host name in the
box, for example
. Enter your user ID in the
box, and your password in the
box. Then hit the
on the connect icon (two terminals) on the left of the
Navigating the File Systems
Navigation is either point-and-click or by entry of a specific directory to view in either the Local or Remote directory box. You can get back to your home directory on the local or remote system at any time by entering
in the Local or Remote directory box respectively. The first line of the directory listing is the
to go up one directory.
Do not use the
to go up to the root directories. If you do, and if you get to the
will lock up waiting for information from all AFS systems all over the world. Instead of navigating up and then back down, it is better to enter the approximate place you want to go to in the directory box.
Working With Files
As you view your file directories, you will see icons on the left that help identify the file type. There are icons for PDF, PS, TEX, Excel, Powerpoint, Word, sound and image files. Hopefully these are helpful, but if you think some files need special or different icons, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
To work with a specific file, first
once on it (remember, you must first
on a file to work with it). Many files can be directly manipulated from the remote directory listing. To do so, use the pull-down with
. You can then select the action you prefer. Select
if you intend to make changes to the file that should be reflected on the remote system. Select
if you only intend to look at the file, possibly for printing, but do not want to change the contents of the file on the remote system.
work with a number of file types, including files with extensions
. Files with extensions of
will by default be opened for viewing, but cannot be edited in the viewer.
Once you have opened a file with the
selection, the file can be viewed or manipulated in the Statistics computing environment. This is especially useful for printing. For example, if you
file this way, you can select the
pulldown on the Acrobat Reader. You will see the default Statistics selection for printing. When you click
, the page(s) will be printed on the selected Statistics printer.
When you are done viewing or editing the file, you can exit the application (typically
). If you made changes to the file, you will be asked to
those changes, and you can decide
. After you have exited the application,
will ask if you want to upload the changes back to the remote system (this is if you originally selected
will update the file on the remote system.
If you only
on a file that has not already been selected with a
, everthing looks great in the pull-down menu and you will be tempted to select a command like
. However, that command will be applied to the currently selected file, and not the one that is under the pointer. This is likely to happen several times until you get used to the system. It is a problem with the
user interface that maybe will be fixed someday.
Not all files can be opened and manipulated from the remote file window. It would be difficult, for example, to run a data analysis application on a Statistics computer while the input and output files reside on the Biostat system. In these (and other) cases, it is more useful to do a one time download transfer of data files from Biostat to Statistics, and once the analysis is complete, do a one-time upload of the results back from Statistics to Biostatistics.
A file can be transferred either direction in two steps by
once on the file, then
on the appropriate arrow box, or in one step by
on the file.
A recommended approach to managing file transfers is to create a directory
on your Statistics computer. This is particularly useful if you are the primary user of the Statistics computer.
is set to default open
as the local directory, if that directory exists. Once you create the directory, the next time you start
, you will see
as the local directory in the left panel, probably with nothing in it. You may want to create a parallel directory on the remote machine, possibly in
, and use that directory to keep the files synchronized between the two computers. Using
on the Statistics side saves allocated space in the AFS file system. However, keep in mind that
is not backed up, so the
directory should be considered temporary only, and should always be replicated in some way on the remote system. The remote version should be considered stable and "official"
More on gftp
If you are interested, there are additional options, customizations and settings available with
. The documentation is limited, but what there is can be found at http://gftp.seul.org/
- 22 Sep 2005