Connecting to Spear

Spear systems allow you to run software interactively on remote systems. Some software may be command-line tools, and some may be GUIs.

To connect to Spear via SSH, you will need an RCC Account, and you will need to know how to use an SSH client.

You will also need to connect to the FSU VPN if you are off-campus.

Connecting via NoMachine

This is the recommended way to access the Spear system.

NoMachine uses the OpenNX protocol, which provides a fast and reliable mechanism for running graphical utilities remotely.

Creating the connection

  1. Download and install the latest version of the NoMachine client from:
  2. Open NoMachine and click the "New" connection button
  3. When prompted for a protocol, select SSH
  4. Enter your desired Hostname (,, or see see Owner Based Spear Clusters below)
  5. When promped for the Authentication Method, choose Use the NoMachine Logon
  6. You do not need to use an alternate server key or proxy, so leave those screens blank.
  7. Finally, give your connection a descriptive name, and finish. You will now see your connection listed on the main dialog in your NX Client.


Simply double-click on the NoMachine connection icon for whichever server you wish to connect, and follow the instructions in the dialogs to authenticate. Once connected, you can start a Gnome Session by clicking on the Gnome icon.

Invoking MATLAB

Once you have connected and started a graphical session, you can start MATLAB, by browsing to the "System" menu, selecting "Terminal", and typing matlab at the command prompt. )

Connecting via SSH

If you wish to run only command line tools, simply connect via SSH to a Spear login node:


If you are a resource owner, you can replace your spear login server (see Owner Based Spear Clusters below)

Connecting via SSH with X11

For those users wishing to access the general access Spear nodes, you can use SSH as an alternative to OpenNX. Be warned: using regular SSH with X11 forwarding is slower than using OpenNX.

In order to run graphical tools, such as MATLAB, and VMD, you will need to connect via SSH with X11 forwarding enabled. For Mac and Linux users, this means simply using the -X flag when connecting via SSH:


If you are a resource owner, you can replace your spear login server (see Owner Based Spear Clusters below)

Once logged in with the -X flag, you can invoke graphical programs, such as MATLAB:

bash-4.1 $ matlab 

For Windows users, refer to our documentation for setting up Windows to use SSH and X11.

Connecting to GPU-enabled Spear nodes

If you want to connect to a Spear node that has a GPU, simply use the DNS name:


Use this instead of in order to ensure that you are connected to one of our Spear nodes that has a GPU.

Owner-Based Spear Clusters

Group DNS Name
General Access
General Access (GPU)
EOAS Group
Guznburger Group
Lemmon Group
Maize Group
Medicne Group
Narcis Group
Statistics Group