FastX is a remote desktop service developed by StarNet Communications, which allows you to connect from your personal machine to our systems using a normal graphical interface as if you were sitting at a department machine. FastX also has far less network lag than using X forwarding over regular SSH.
- Follow the steps for setting up an ssh keypair. If you are running Windows, you will also need to install and run Pageant (described under the Windows ssh instructions).
- Download and install the FastX 3 desktop client from https://www.brown.edu/information-technology/software/catalog/fastx-0 - CIS has a license for all of Brown, so the download links should appear after logging in.
- IMPORTANT: We are now running FastX version 3. Do not use the FastX version 2 client - the versions are incompatible.
- OSX users - Drag the “FastX” icon into your /Applications directory to make it easier to find and run later.
- 32-bit Linux users - the “Get FastX for Linux” link will download a 64-bit binary. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the 32-bit binary.
- Run FastX. Click the plus sign at the top right to add a new connection configuration. You’ll be presented with two options, “ssh” and “gateway”. Select “ssh”. Fill out the form with the following information:
- Name = [whatever you want]
- Host = fastx-cluster.cs.brown.edu
- Port = 22
- User = [your CS username]
- Path = fastx-protocol [should be the default]
- Forward Agent Connections = check this if you are on Windows and running Pageant, otherwise leave unchecked
- Click “Save” after entering the above information.
- You might be presented with a warning that “This host is not recognized by the system. Are you sure you want to continue?” Click Continue. This should create a new entry in the list. Double click on that - it should try to connect.
- Enter your key passphrase when prompted.
- This should open a new window. You are now connected to FastX but have not created a session yet.
- The new window should present you with four session options: “GNOME”, “KDE”, “XFCE”, or “XTerm”. If you don’t know what these are, or don't have a preference between desktop environments, pick “XFCE”. Make sure Window mode is “Single”, then click “OK”.
- This should start a session on one of the virtual desktop machines in the FastX cluster, and open a window that looks like a normal desktop session. You might have to resize the window a bit.
If you have any issues not covered here, contact someone on the technical staff for help.