frequently asked questions

Hi! Hello! You've found the Frequently Asked Questions for This page is a misnomer, nobody has actually asked us these questions yet, but we think this will still have useful info.

Even if you're a long-time shell wizard who has strong opinions about vim vs emacs, this will point out some cool software we have on our server that you might not have encountered before.

Table of Contents

  1. Help me use a Linux shell!
  2. How do I interact with others?
  3. Games
  4. ...or anything else?

Help me use a Linux shell!

Teach me the basics

We're here to help you learn! Here are some great resources to get started, although feel free to ask for help in Discord or any of the social tools on the server.

How do I change my password?

Run the `passwd` command. It will ask for your current password, then let you set a new one.

My connection keeps timing out!

By default, SSH sessions time out. You can change this! Follow the guide heere.

How do I edit text files on the server?

The default option many experienced command-line users do is use a CLI-based text editor. nano is a simple text editor that we recommend if you're not familiar with other command-line text editors like vim or emacs, and is the default on our server.

If you're using VS Code, the Remote SSH extention makes it easy to connect to the server over SSH from within VS Code

Finally, SSHFS will let you mount the server's disk over SSH on your local computer, letting you open your files in whatever local text editor you'd like.

How can I multitask?

There are many ways to multiplex your terminal, or manage different applications and shell instances as you would windows in a graphical desktop OS. Two of the most popular are tmux and screen.

Googling or asking for help may be the most helpful (someone can and should organize a knowledge-sharing session!) but a few resources to check out:

How can I interact with others?

Even if you're used to interacting with a server via the shell, you may not be used to the tools that exist to help you be social and meet other people on your local server!

Building websites

Your home directory has a public_html folder that's served by the web server Apache. That means that any files you put there will be publicly accessible at, subbing in your username. and will also work, if you prefer plural pronouns or have nostalgia for the era of tilde directories. Put whatever you'd like there! If you're new to building websites, index.html will be the default file that gets served up when people go directly to your website.

We don't currently support anything like CGI. Bug the admins if there's something you want to do on infra.requests

User profiles and (micro)blogging: .plan files and the who and finger commands

With certain social media sites on the verge of collapse, wouldn't it be cool if you could microblog and socialize on our server?

If you want to see someone's profile on the server, you can run finger [their username] (e.g. finger lazerwalker for me!.

To see all currently logged-in users, run who. ls /home will show ALL users, not just those logged in.

To edit your basic info (name, etc), run chfn. You will need to enter your password!

If you create a file called .plan in your home directory, whatever you type there will show up whenever anyone else runs finger on you. Use this to share your thoughts or see what other people are thinking!

A .project file can also be used to tell people what you're working on, and will show up above the .plan file contents when someone runs finger on you.

The following command will let you see info for all logged-in users:
who | cut -d " " -f 1 | sort -u | while read -r line; do finger $line; echo "------"; done


You can type wall [message] to send a message to all logged-in users. This is fun! If it gets too noisy or annoying, we may need to limit its use, so please read the room.


We have a local Usenet server! You can access it using slrn --create (tin is also installed if you prefer that as is neomutt).

If you're not used to sending Usenet messages, one thing to be aware of: a Usenet message consists of a bunch of headers (with things like a subject line, optional keywords, etc), and then a full empty line in between the headers and your message. If you don't add an empty line, slrn will complain.


Our server supports local-only email! You can use it to send mail to anyone else on the server. We recommend using `alpine` as a CLI mail client. If you send mail to someone's username on the server, alpine should automatically populate the domain name for you. Running `finger` will tell you when someone last checked their mail, or if they have new messages (this also works on yourself!)


Other instances have some cool async multiplayer games. We haven't set anything up yet. Bug us if you know any fun things we should install!

...or anything else?

This server is meant to be yours! If you have a cool idea that you don't have permissions to execute, contact one of the organizers (directxman12 and lazerwalker) and we can try to help you out!

We don't currently have a formal Code of Conduct. This will almost certainly change as the server grows. We do strongly believe in the value of explicit community rules and CoCs. Please don't be the reason we need to explicitly adopt one :)

See also

our infra page at ~we/infra, which has some details on our server configuration