FastX, from Starnet, is a tool that can be used to interact with remote linux systems graphically in much more efficient and effective way then simple X forwarding. The graphical sessions can be detached from without being closing, allowing users to reattach to the session from the same or other systems. More information on this tool can be obtained from https://www.starnet.com/fastx
CHPC users can download the easy to install client by using this link:
You will need to login in order to be able to download the software. The licensing allows users to install the client on both university and personal machines. FastX clients are available for windows (msi or exe), mac (dmg) and linux (both 32 and 64 bit as tar.gz files) desktops. The license information is also at this site, in a file called licenseinfo.txt.
The licensing also allows for multiple FastX server installations; see CHPC if you are interested in an installation of the server.
CHPC has the server installed on all interactive nodes as well as a set of nodes that are dedicated for this purpose. These nodes are friscoX.chpc.utah,edu, where X=1-6. The nodes frisco5 and 6 have graphics cards to enable the use of VirtualGL (see step 9 of the 'To Use' section below.
If you have any issues with FastX, please let us know by opening up an issue report.
For the server the latest version is 1.0-38. The client is on version 1.0-39.
CHPC Usage Policy:
- Users should by default use the frisco resources for FastX usage.
- The CHPC usage policy for the general interactive nodes still applies. See the policy at 2.1.1 Cluster Interactive Node Policy . When in doubt it is better to go to use either an owner interactive node or one the dedicated frisco servers set up to use this graphical application.
- When using the interactive nodes, remember that the generic cluster.chpc,utah.edu is not the name of a single server, but is a round robin. You need to use the specific server name. For ember, kingspeak, and telluride, this would be cluster1.chpc.utah.edu or cluster2.chpc.utah.edu; for ash-guest, this is ash5.chpc.utah.edu or ash6.chpc.utah.edu. In this FastX session can do everything you can do in an normal ssh session.
- As we learn more about the the usage patterns with FastX, CHPC may establish additional usage policies.
- Start the FastX client on your desktop (Note: If you are connecting using a VPN, be sure to start the VPN prior to opening the FastX client.)
- Use the green "+" to define the server. You need to provide a name and a host (choosing from the list above). As an example, you can use the name frisco1, and the host frisco1.chpc.utah.edu
- Once you have a server defined you can select one of the servers from the list and login. When you do so the text "Start a new session..." will appear in the right hand side of your FastX window.
- Right click on this text, choose start and one of the three options (Gnome, KDE, Xterm). The first two give you a full desktop environment, and the last just a Xterm. Your choice depends on you needs, but for many options the Xterm is best. When you do this the session becomes defined in the FastX window. You can also specify a more lightweight desktop environment that is available by selecting the New option in this menu, clickng the 'desktop' button and entering
- With the Xterm option, you may need to set the environment variable needed for the application you want to run, and then start the application.
- If you finish, you can close this window, and terminate the session (right click on the session and select terminate). You can close the FastX window at this point. Please do this for any session that you are done to ensure there are sufficient resources available to meet the active user needs.
- If you want to keep the session in order to return to it, right click on the session and select disconnect and then also disconnect from the server. You can close the FastX window at this point.
- To reconnect, either from the same desktop or another, start FastX, select and login to the same server, and you should see your saved session. Right click on the session, and select reconnect. All windows you had open when you disconnected will appear.
- For applications that need virtualgl, you need to use servers frisco5 or frisco6. Append the starting of your application in the FastX session with
/opt/VirtualGL/bin/vglrun. As an example to start vmd with virtualgl, you would use "
/opt/VirtualGL/bin/vglrun vmd". Note that in the case that your application call is a script, as is the case with using gv to start gaussview, this will not work; instead you need to add this vglrun internal to the script.
- Please be sure to close any sessions you no longer need to keep the number of sessions at a minimum.
- For users of Gaussview you will need to source /uufs/chpc.utah.edu/sys/pkg/gaussian09/EM64T/etc/g09.csh before starting Gaussview with gv
For users of the CSDS program mercury, you will need to use VirtualGL for the molecules to appear in the display window.
- To cut/paste to or from the FastX window: see http://www.starnet.com/xwin32kb/copy_and_paste_in_xterm
- For users of Abaqus, you must use the -mesa flag (abaqus cae -mesa) or your model will not display.