Linux client

Since all VSC clusters use Linux as their main operating system, you will need to get acquainted with Linux using the command-line interface and using the terminal. To open a terminal in Linux when using KDE, choose Applications > System > Terminal > Konsole. When using GNOME, choose Applications > Accessories > Terminal.

If you don’t have any experience with using the command-line interface in Linux, we suggest you to read the basic Linux usage section first.

Getting ready to request an account

Before requesting an account, you need to generate a pair of ssh keys. One popular way to do this on Linux is using the freely available OpenSSH client which you can then also use to log on to the clusters.

Connecting to the cluster

Text-mode session using an SSH client

The OpenSSH ssh command can be used to open a connection in a Linux terminal session.

It is convenient to use an SSH-agent to avoid having to enter your private key’s passphrase all the time when establishing a new connection.

The SSH configuration file .ssh/config can be used to define connection properties for nodes you often use. It is a considerable time saver when working terminal-based.

To establish network communication between your local machine and the cluster otherwise blocked by firewalls, you have to create an SSH tunnel using OpenSSH.

Transfer data using Secure FTP (SFTP)

Data can easily be transferred to and from remote systems using the OpenSSH sftp and scp commands.

Display graphical programs

X server

No extra software is needed on a Linux client system, but you need to use the appropriate options with the ssh command as explained on the page on OpenSSH.

NX client

On the KU Leuven/UHasselt clusters it is also possible to use the NX Client to log on to the machine and run graphical programs. This requires additional client software that is currently available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. The advantage over displaying X programs directly on your Linux screen is that you can sleep your laptop, disconnect and move to another network without loosing your X-session. Performance may also be better with many programs over high-latency networks.


The KU Leuven/UHasselt, UAntwerp, and VUB clusters also offer support for visualization software through Virtual Network Computing (VNC). VNC renders images on the cluster and transfers the resulting images to your client device. VNC clients are available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS.

  • On the UAntwerp clusters, TurboVNC is supported on all regular login nodes (without OpenGL support) and on the visualization node of Leibniz (with OpenGL support through VirtualGL). See the page “Remote visualization @ UAntwerp” for instructions.

  • On the VUB clusters, TigerVNC is supported on all nodes. See our documentation on running graphical applications for instructions.

Software development


Eclipse is a popular multi-platform Integrated Development Environment (IDE) very well suited for code development on clusters.

Version control

Linux supports all popular version control systems. See our introduction to version control systems.