FastX is program used to run graphical applications on our Linux servers remotely. This uses a different technology from remote X, which results in better performance, especially when not on campus.
This also allows for suspending and resuming sessions and programs, while they continue to run. This allows the use of long-running graphical applications.
If you are off campus, you will need to connect to the VPN to use FastX. See our Dartmouth VPN page for help installing and using the VPN software.
To connect to a server using FastX, use a web browser. Any recent version of major browsers should work, although we recommend using Chrome since it is the only browser that currently supports copy and paste.
Use the following address, replacing "servername" with the server to which you'd like to connect:
For example, to connect to babylon1, use this address: https://babylon1.thayer.dartmouth.edu:3443/
When you connect, you'll be prompted for your NetID and password. Enter these and click "Login"
Public key authentication does not work on our systems due to incompatibilities with the kerberos infrastructure needed for secure file access.
Note: Be sure to enter your NetID with lower-case characters - Linux systems are case-sensitive.
You will then be at the Session Browser which will display any existing sessions you have on that server. To create a new session, click the "plus" in the top-left corner of the Session Browser.
Here, you will be presented with different sessions you can create. Click on the session you wish to start and click "Launch." XFCE is a full desktop session, where gnome-terminal and xterm are just a terminal session.
With XFCE, the size of the desktop doesn't automatically adjust to the size of your browser window - you won't be able to your name at the top-right and the dock at the bottom. To correct this, move your mouse to the top-center of the session to reveal the FastX toolbar and click the resize button:
If you have existing running sessions, click the session you wish to resume and click the "play" icon.
Is you are using an extended keyboard with a numeric keyboard, it will default to responding as arrow keys, regardless of the state of NumLock on your system. To switch to typing numbers, press NumLock once you are in the FastX session.
On a Mac extended keyboard, there is no NumLock key, so press the "clear" key at the top-left of the numeric keypad to toggle this setting.