Campus Life


This week’s column includes the annual cluster combo change, how to print to private printers, and some SIPB services — come to our cluedumps lectures and learn about various computing topics, and listen to free music on-demand through MIT cable.

Is the combination to the Athena clusters going to change?

Yes; the combo to the Athena clusters changes every October. This year’s combo change is scheduled for October 1. To find out the new combo, you can login to any Athena machine (cluster, quickstation, or dialup) and run:

athena% tellme combo

Other things tellme supports are tellme root, for the cluster root password, and tellme why.

My dorm’s cluster upgraded, and now I can’t print! What should I do?

Debathena has transitioned to using CUPS (the Common Unix Printing System) for printing, which offers a standard graphical interface to select a printer. Unfortunately, this resulted in the loss of the ability to use printers that require Kerberos authentication, which are mostly private dorm printers (printers in clusters on campus do not require authentication), so the graphical interface doesn’t show these printers as an option. As a workaround, you can use the “Print to LPR” option from the printers list, and then specify which printer to use on the command line below, e.g. lpr -Pprintername. Other standard options such as -h to disable the header page and -Zduplex to print double-sided will also work from that command-line.

How can SIPB help me learn more about computers?

Each fall, SIPB runs a series of “Cluedump” lectures, covering a variety of computing topics. The series kicks off tonight, with Understanding Git by SIPB member Nelson Elhage at 8:30 in 4-231. Future lectures are planned about statistics and statistical methods and SIPB’s XVM service (, with more topics in the works.


Git is a free software distributed version control system originally written by Linus Torvalds for Linux kernel development. It is increasingly commonly used, and learning to use it can be made much easier with a little help from those who understand how to use it. This talk will provide a brief tutorial on how to use Git and a technical overview of how it works under the covers.

To find out about future Cluedumps, add yourself to the mailing list (athena% blanche cluedump-announce -a $USER), or visit

How can I listen to music on demand?

SIPB’s LAMP service (the Library Access to Music Project) allows you to listen to a large collection of CDs via MIT cable TV. All you need to do is visit, search for the music you want to listen to, and tune to the appropriate channel. Unlike P2P music sharing, LAMP’s design (which uses MIT’s analog music license) is guaranteed not to get you into legal trouble.

To ask us a question, send e-mail to We’ll try to answer you quickly, and we can address your question in our next column. You can also stop by our office in W20-557 or call us at x3-7788 if you need help. Copies of each column and pointers to additional information are posted on our website: