Login Shells

The login shells supported on RCS systems are bash, csh, ksh, and tcsh. If you would like your default login shell changed, please contact uaf-rcs@alaska.edu

Security Policies

Users of RCS systems agree to abide by published UAF policies and standards: http://www.alaska.edu/oit/services/policies-and-standards. Every user of RCS systems may rightfully expect their programs, data, and documents stored on RCS systems to be inaccessible
by others, secure against arbitrary loss or alteration, and available for use at all times. To help protect system security and achieve this goal, RCS staff reserve the right to routinely examine user accounts. In the event of a suspected security incident,
RCS staff may inactivate and examine the contents of user accounts without prior notification.

Account Sharing

Users of RCS systems may not share their account with anyone under any circumstances. This policy ensures every user is solely responsible for all actions from within their account. When shared access to a particular set of files on a system is desired,
UNIX group permissions should be applied. Contact uaf-rcs@alaska.edu for more information regarding changing group permissions on files and directories.

Policy Enforcement

Abuse of RCS resources is a serious matter and is subject to immediate action. A perceived, attempted, or actual violation of standards, procedures, or guidelines pursuant with RCS policies may result in disciplinary action including the loss of system
privileges and possibly legal prosecution in the case of criminal activity. RCS employs the following mechanisms to enforce its policies:

  • Contacting the user via phone or email to ask them to correct the problem.
  • Modifying the permissions on user's files or directories in response to a security violation.
  • Inactivating accounts or disabling access to resources to ensure availability and security of RCS systems.

User-owned Files and Directories

For home directories, RCS recommends authorizing write access to only the file/directory owner. Group and world write permissions in a home directory should be avoided under all circumstances.

For the $CENTER1 and $ARCHIVE filesystems, RCS recommends using caution when opening group and world read / execute permissions, and extreme caution when opening group and world write permissions.

Setuid and setgid permissions are prohibited on all user-owned files and directories.

User files may be scanned by RCS staff at any time for system security or maintenance purposes.

Non-printing characters, such as ASCII codes for RETURN or DELETE, are occasionally introduced by accident into file names. These characters present a low-level risk to system security and integrity and are prohibited. Techniques for renaming, deleting,
or accessing files containing non-printing characters in the filename are described at www.arsc.edu/support/howtos/nonprintingchars/index.xml


RCS uses University of Alaska (UA) credentials for user authentication. Therefore, passwords used to access RCS systems are subject to UA password guidelines. UA passwords may be changed using ELMO (https://elmo.alaska.edu). If you suspect your password
has been compromised, contact the UAF OIT Helpdesk (helpdesk@alaska.edu, 907-450-8300) immediately.

SSH Public Keys

Sharing of private SSH keys to allow another user to access an RCS account is considered account sharing and is prohibited on RCS systems.

Users of SSH public keys are responsible for their private keys and ensuring they are protected against access from other users. Private SSH keys should be generated and stored only on trusted systems.


Do not attempt to break passwords, tamper with system files, access files in other users' directories without permission, or otherwise abuse the privileges given to you with your RCS account. Your privileges do not extend beyond the directories, files,
and volumes which you rightfully own or to which you have been given permission to access.

System-generated E-mail

RCS provides a ~/.forward file for users on each system. When the system generates an email, the message will be forwarded to email address(es) listed in the .forward file. Users are free to update their ~/.forward file to their preferred email address.

Maintenance Periods

Annual maintenance schedules are in place for the various RCS systems. They are as follows:


  • Monthly: First Wednesday for non-interrupt Operating System security and Scyld ClusterWare updates
  • Quarterly: First Wednesday of Jan, Apr, Jul, and Oct for Operating System and Scyld ClusterWare updates that may require system downtime
  • Twice per year: The month of May during the FAST and over the winter closure for Operating System and Scyld ClusterWare updates that may require system downtime