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Workbook for BaBar Offline Users - Special for RAL

Special instructions for users running at RAL. More complete (and often more up-to-date) documentation is available here.

Obtaining a RAL account

Babar members can find out how to get a RAL account from reading this web page

Work as at SLAC

The general setup at RAL is made to be a close as possible to the setup at SLAC.
  • The machine to log into at RAL is called This is an alias for a bunch of Scientific Linux machines. It has been set up so that there are no "known-hosts" problems when you are directed to the different machines which form part of the cluster.
  • The default shell at RAL is tcsh. If you wish to change to ksh or bash then issue a ypchsh command and follow the instructions. You must logout then logon again for the change to take effect. It may take up to ten minutes for the change to become visible to the whole Linux farm.

Working over the Network Connection

The network connection between UK and SLAC is generally quite good. Most people already know this but for new users a few hints on how to work over the network connection between SLAC and the UK might be helpful.
  • When editing files in the SLAC AFS area from the UK you will need an AFS token in the SLAC cell so you can then edit it as a local file. On your local machine this could be something like.

    klog -cell
    emacs /afs/

    However, there is token passing at RAL so if you logged in from a machine which already had a SLAC token, you will have that same token at RAL and will not need to run the above klog command. At present there is no token passing to the batch machines at RAL. So be aware when submiting jobs were an AFS token is required.

  • When copying files to or from AFS areas just use the normal copy command cp. When copying between NFS areas use the secure copy command with compression. Both methods gives faster transfer than ftp and are at the same time more secure. As an example to copy a root file from SLAC to RAL log into and do (on one line):
    scp -C . When copying large quantities of data, use the bbftp command

Related links:


  • The user home directories are on NFS-mounted disks. This means that an AFS token is not obtained at login. Your personal AFS area in the RAL cell is located as /afs/<initial>/<username>.
  • The user stage disk /stage/babar-user1/<user> and AWG disks, /stage/babar-awg1/TauQED, /stage/babar-awg2/Quasi2body, and /stage/babar-awg3/ThreeBody can be used to store large files. This is a good place to store ROOT files. There is no automatic deletion from these disks, so please remove your files when they are no longer needed to free up space for yourself and others.


There is no fixed policy for when BaBar s/w releases are copied to RAL. Loosely it is something like: Releases are deleted when we run out of disk space and always after a warning to the RAL Tier A centre and UK farms mailing list. The releases which reach the current status at SLAC are kept for as long as possible.


At RAL there is a mirror of the SLAC CVS repository which is updated each night.
  • For checking out packages use the addpkg command exactly as at SLAC.
  • To write to the repository use the bcvs command which interacts with the CVS repository at SLAC directly. First you will need to obtain a SLAC token (klog <user>
  • Use bcvs update -A <package> to get the head of the very latest version of a package (less than 24 hours old). Or you can run the command without the package name in the actual directory

Running at both SLAC and RAL

If you develop code at RAL and need to run it both at RAL and at SLAC it can be very convenient to share the checked out source you edit between the two sites. To do this:
  • Make two identical test releases at RAL and SLAC.
      newrel -s /home/csf/<user>/ -t 12.3.3 /afs/<mytestreldir> (at RAL)
      newrel -s $BFROOT/work/<u>/<user>/ -t 12.3.3  /afs/<mytestreldir> (at SLAC)
  • Do addpkg for all packages used at RAL.
  • Create softlinks to the directory at SLAC
       cd /afs/<mytestreldir>
       ln -s /afs/<mytestreldir>/[A-Z]* .
You will get a warning about GNUmakefile which you can just ignore.
  • Make sure your AFS directory at RAL where you have your release has read access without a token. You can do this by changing the permissions with the commands
       cd /afs/<mytestreldir>
       klog <user>
       find . -type d -exec fs setacl -dir {} -acl system:anyuser rl \;
  • Currently, in order to run jobs on the batch machines with your test release on AFS, you will need to move your workdir to an NFS disk. You have to do this from a computer at RAL ( in order to be able to see the NFS disk. This example will use your home area. The area /stage/babar-user1/<user> is also an alternative option.
       mkdir -p /home/csf/<user>/<mytestreldir>
       mv /afs/<mytestreldir>/workdir /home/csf/<user>/<mytestreldir>/workdir
  • Change the RELEASE soft link in workdir
       cd /home/csf/<user>/<mytestreldir>/workdir
       ln -nfs /afs/<mytestreldir> RELEASE
The source you edit is now kept updated at both SLAC and RAL since it is located in the same directory but when linking and compiling only the small source files are copied across the network.

Batch Queues

Submission to the babar queues is default when using the bbrbsub command as follows:
bbrbsub -l cput=hh:mm:ss file.job
More details can be found here.


Support is available for running the BaBar software at RAL:
  • The BaBar computing pages at RAL
  • For general problems with the hardware, disk quotas, forgotten passwords etc. contact the DCI help desk < >.
  • For problems with the setup at RAL and to request new releases to be installed please post to the RAL Tier A HyperNews forum or contact Tim Adye <> and Emmanuel Olaiya <> (they both read the HyperNews, so it is usually better to post there instead). Check the release pages for any hints before reporting a problem.
  • For general BaBar problems, i.e. problems which are the same at RAL and at SLAC use the BaBar HyperNews forum relevant to your specific problem.

Back to Running on Non-SLAC Hosts

Emmanuel Olaiya
Tim Adye
Ulrik Egede
Jenny Williams

Last modification: 2 May 2006
Last significant update: 2 May 2006