Linux Server and Desktop Management Service Description

Support Levels

The CLAS Linux Group of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences provides two levels of support for approved Linux systems.

Full CLAS Linux Group support

The CLAS Linux Group team installs and updates supported software. The CLAS Linux Group has ongoing responsibility for the system, applications, security, updates and software licensing. Only the CLAS Linux Group has full administrative (root) permissions. If the system has problems, the CLAS Linux Group will repair or recover, using best available methods.

Self-Administered with Initial Default CLAS Linux Group Load

Initially, the CLAS Linux Group attempts to install and configure their default load - the operating system and default applications. After the initial installation and configuration, the primary user is given full administrative (root) permissions. The primary user must install and maintain the system and all software. If the desktop has problems, the primary user is responsible for repair or recovery. The CLAS Linux Group can re-image the system up to twice a year or by request of the DEO of the primary user.


  1. Operating system updates, upgrades, and emergency patches on a regular basis.
  2. Configuration of network connected printers.
  3. Back and restoration to PI's LSS or RDSS space.
  4. Configuration of networked storage and access to user’s home account (not available on Self-Administered with Initial Default CLAS Linux Group Load systems).
  5. Installation and maintenance of properly licensed/approved software.

The table of installed Linux client application software can be found at Table of Installed Applications and the table of development software can be found at Table of Installed Development Software.

Conditions and Limitations

All users must adhere to the University of Iowa Acceptable Use Policies as published at  Any activities performed on the computer that violate the University of Iowa Acceptable Use Policies may result in loss of network access. 

The CLAS Linux Group places priority on the stability, reliability, security, and concurrency of the computer configurations and software installations.  The CLAS Linux Group has limited resources and will support only active versions of the Cent OS Linux/Fedora/Ubuntu operating system.  Dual boot machines and laptops are not supported by CLAS Linux Group due to complexity and availability issues.  For a system to qualify for support, it must be approved by the CLAS Linux Group and satisfy CentOS/Ubuntu or Fedora’s published minimum system requirements for the supported version of CentOS/Ubuntu or Fedora.  The CLAS Linux Group may choose to repair or maintain CLAS Linux Group-administered machines by reformatting the hard drive and/or reinstalling the necessary files. 

When the CLAS Linux Group updates the version of Linux it supports, all CLAS Linux Group-administered computers will be re-evaluated to determine eligibility for support.  To maintain their support status, users may be required to upgrade their computer systems.  If the system is not properly upgraded, the CLAS Linux Group will drop support of the system or work with the researcher to isolate the system on the network (behind a jump host).  The CLAS Linux Group will give users at least two months notice about required upgrades before dropping support.

Not supported

The following services are not provided to any Linux computer user:

  1. Users are strongly urged to save all data onto the CLAS Linux Group file server which is backed up nightly.  CLAS Linux Group discourages saving any data to the local hard drive.  The CLAS Linux Group will not be able to repair or restore local files in the case of hardware failure or system problem.  The CLAS Linux group will work with the research to find the most cost effective way to backup the users research data.  See the Backup/Restore Service Description for more details.
  2. Non approved peripherals and add-on cards.
  3. CLAS Linux Group will spend up to 30 minutes to install and configure the software for each of these devices:
    1. pointing devices that replace a mouse, but not additional pointing devices (for example, digitizing pads are not supported)
    2. upgraded graphics cards for the sole purpose of improved graphics performance (i.e. not video importing, etc.)
    3. local printers
    4. scanners
  4. Non-scheduled changes to CLAS Linux Group supplied teaching software (used in computer labs).  Teaching software will normally be updated before each fall and spring semester as necessary.  Note that due to the time required to prepare software for installation, the installed version may be older than the version available at the time of installation.
  5. Installation of games.

Self-Administered Systems

Anyone who wishes to administer their own Linux desktop system must install and maintain all software themselves. The primary user is responsible for the system, peripherals, applications, security, and maintenance. The primary user will have full administrative (root) permissions; the CLAS Linux Group will not. If the system has problems, the primary user is responsible for repair or recovery, not the CLAS Linux Group.  See the Self Managed Machine Checklist for your responsibilities.

Linux Server and Desktop Management Policy

General Policy for Service Provided by the CLAS Linux Group, in HTML
Self-Managed Machine Checklist, in HTML