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    Differences Between AFS and Native UNIX/Macintosh/Windows File Systems


    Most users will only notice small differences between AFS home directories and standard UNIX home directories, but there are differences some users will encounter on a daily basis. The table below highlights the major differences users are likely to notice when using AFS.

    Accounts for Researchers


    A research computing account consists of an account on the central file server (AFS) and login privileges on one or more Linux computer servers  that all share the same AFS accounts for user home directories. AFS accounts are available to any member of the Dartmouth community. Users may also access the AFS file servers from their own personal workstations. Sponsored (non-DND) accounts can be created in special cases.

    Applying for a Research Account

    To request an account on:

    OpenAFS Client for Linux


    The OpenAFS client can be installed on any Linux distribution but the details of how to do so vary. You will need root permission and usually some familiarity with a command line. The process is complicated by the necessity for a kernel module that must match the kernel you are running.

    Web Options for UNIX and AFS Users


    The Web server running on cannot serve pages directly from AFS. Another system,, runs a Web server that can directly serve pages out of a user's account.

    Below are two options for people who want to have web pages, but keep them in AFS and maintain them directly from their AFS account.

    Using AFS Home Directories


    If usernames and UIDs are in sync with AFS, and integrated logins have been enabled via PAM, you may choose to use your AFS home directory as your home directory on the local Linux system.

    • To do this, edit your entry in /etc/passwd and change the last (":"-delimited) field to the full path of your AFS home.

    e.g. If your local home is:


    you might change that to:

    Integrating AFS Authentication with Local Login


    The explicit klog step can be omitted if the system is configured to obtain AFS credentials as part of the standard login process. To do this, the usernames on your local system must match the usernames defined in the AFS user databases.

    Changing Your AFS Password


    You can change your password from any system that has the Kerberos tools or AFS client installed. The easiest way for Linux users is to login to Polaris, Andes or Discovery and use the command rcpasswd. Here is an example of what that will look like.

    legacy accounts:

    NOTE: Input is NOT VISIBLE
    Changing password for 'username' in cell ''.
    Old password:                       (nothing echoes)
    New password (RETURN to abort):     (nothing echoes)

    or, recent accounts in RSTOR Kerberos system:

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