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Workbook for BaBar Offline Users - Logging In

Takes the user through getting an account, desktop setup and account setup.

Note: This page is intended to be the definitive source of information for getting a new SLAC/BaBar account


Getting an Account

- and getting yourself into the appropriate BaBar databases

BaBar collaborators are entitled to use of SLAC computing resources. This section will therefore focus on logging in at SLAC. Collaborators may also have access to computing resources at their local institutions. Ask your local colleagues about these resources (and encourage them to submit relevant instructions to this Workbook as discussed in the Guide for Contributors).

All members of the BaBar Community are eligible for a SLAC Unix account. To qualify, you must be listed in the BaBar database as a member or associate of the collaboration or a member of the community. All requests for membership are initiated by submitting the Slac User information form. A person's status may be verified on-line through the BaBar People Search web page. If you are a BaBar member and have filled out the Slac User Information form but are not listed in this database, please contact Kathy Webb. Kathy can also answer any questions you may have about BaBar membership.

** Note: If you are paid by Slac you are considered a Slac employee. In order for your information to appear in the BaBar database you must also fill out the Slac User Information form.

Getting an account at RAL and IN2P3

  • Obtaining a RAL account
  • Obtaining an IN2P3 account.

Forms to fill in - online and on paper

Just do the best you can with the forms. The people who receive them want to help. You can submit the documents in any order. Your account will not be useful for BaBar work until all of the documents have been processed. If you already have a SLAC Unix account but are not in the BaBar database you will not have access to BaBar-specific directories.

Step 1: Fill in the SLAC User Information form

  • The SLAC User Information Form. This is the main form. Your work location, phone number, and other contact information listed in the BaBar People Search web page comes from this form.
    New users working on the BaBar experiment, when filling out the form, should select BaBar from the pull-down menu labeled Current Experiment. A separate form will be displayed requesting BaBar-specific information. Once the form has been submitted, email will be sent to the BaBar administration and the principal investigator (or sponsor). Once the principal investigator or sponsor returns their approval the information will then be entered into both the SLAC Information Database and the BaBar database.

** Note - If you are:

  • Returning to SLAC after being away and will work on an experiment
  • Transferring from one institution to another
  • Returning as a consultant
  • Not new to SLAC but previously did not work on an experiment
You must fill out the SLAC User Information form in order to update your information. Failure to do so may result in the loss of your Slac computer resources.

Step 2: Sign and fax the Objectivity form

  • Objectivity agreement (PDF format) Our contract with Objectivity requires that we limit access to the Objectivity database to bonafide collaborators who have read, agreed to, signed and returned the license agreement. Access to Objy is controlled by an access control list, thus this step must be completed prior to using the Objectivity database. Fax the form to the BaBar computer czar, SLAC at fax: (00)1-650-926-2657.

Step 3: Print out and fill in the SLAC Computer Applications

You can also get copies of these forms from the Help Desk in building 50 on the 1st floor of the computer center at SLAC. SCS/Computer center will not act on new computer account requests until the SLAC Information and BaBar Databases contain your information. Some advice for filling out the form:
  • Print your name legibly in LARGE letters, especially if you plan to FAX your application.
  • If you have them, write in your SLAC office coordinates.
  • Write in your off-site coordinates *** Please add your off-site email address. If you are off-site, your account information will be emailed to the off-site email address.
  • Under New Account Type, check Unix (or Windows or Exchange E-mail. Shared accounts are not available to BaBar collaborators).
  • Fill in your requests for the login name.
  • In the box labeled "Additional instructions or special group requirements" please write "Add to unix group bfactory", otherwise you will not be able to access the files in NFS space.
  • If you are requesting a Windows account, your domain is "BaBar".
  • Windows accounts are no longer created automatically when you request a Unix account, so if you want both a Unix and a Windows account, be sure to check both boxes on your form.
  • For Email Routing, choose only one, either Unix Mailbox or MS Exchange.
  • Do NOT sign the "Authorization" area. Leave it blank. It will be signed later by one of the Babar computer czars.
  • Fax the applications to (650) 926-2657 or drop them off in person to SCCS computer help desk, building 50, rm 108.
    Gregory Dubois-Felsmann or Chee are authorized computer czars and can sign the computer request forms.

The Computer forms will be authorized and sent to the computer center where the account will be created. This particular step usually takes one or two business days.

Account information (userid and initial password) will be emailed to the email address specified on the form if you specified 'offsite' on the form. If you are on site, you may appear in person at the HELP Desk in building 50 with photo ID to get this information.

For security reasons, you must change your password within 48 hours or it will be disabled!

Once the account has been created, further account related questions should be directed to the SCCS HELP Desk, (+1-650-926-4357).

To summarize, you should have completed:

  • SLAC User Information Form (Select BABAR as your experiment).
  • Read the web page Use of SLAC Information Resources
  • Fill out:
    1. Declaration to be Signed by All Users of SLAC Information Resources
    2. SLAC Computer Account Form
    3. Sign the Objectivity form
    and fax them to (650) 926-2657.

Unix Account Issues:

Windows account issues:

  • BaBar does not support Windows for development or running of collaboration code.
  • Collaboration members may apply for a Windows account for other purposes (e.g. using public Windows machines at SLAC for accessing Unix, mail and filesystems).
  • Accounts may be obtained using the same procedure as for Unix accounts.
    • If you do not already have a SLAC Unix or Windows account fill out a New Account Request form, circling "Unix" and/or "Windows" under the "Additional Account" section. Also, specify the "babar" domain (in the "New Account" section).

BaBar Publications Web Access - oracle

  • Optional
  • To access the BaBar publications database you must have an Oracle account. Send email to db-admin to request the creation of an Oracle account or to request password changes.

Checking that it all worked

To check that you are registered on the BaBar database search for your entry in the

If any details are incorrect (and to add details, like your homepage location), the only option that I've found that works is submit a data correction to BaBar or PEP-II. It is important to make sure your SLAC username is registered on this database as our AFS disk directories are made accessible to BaBar users through information stored on this database.

Note that once you submit this correction email, someone must manually update the database, and then (around 0400 PT everyday) the AFS access controls are updated. Thus, there will be a delay between the time this correction is requested and the time you may successfully access the BaBar code repositories. If you have a true emergency and must access group directories, please contact Chee, 926-3353.

To check that you are registered on the SLAC database search for your entry in the

With your new SLAC Unix user account, if everything has worked properly, you will receive an email from the SCCS HelpDesk with your Username and Password. If you don't get this, contact either (or both!) of Chee, ph 1-650-926-3353, or SCS HelpDesk, ph 1-650-926-4357.

Your new Unix will automatically be created on the Andrew File system (AFS). To make sure you are on AFS, type pwd at the Unix prompt, and the path name it quotes should start /AFS/.... A more thorough introduction to AFS will be given in a later Workbook section: Unix: File Systems and Directories.

Setting Up Your Account

Users who are new to Unix should review the Workbook's section on How to Enter Unix Commands before trying to enter the example commands. Once you have a SLAC Unix account you can log in, change your password, and set up your account. For example, you can log into the SLAC machine flora using
Your first step after logging into your new account should be to change your password.

For information on selecting a good password, read the documents

At SLAC, valid passwords must be seven to eight characters in length and contain at least three of the following:

  • Uppercase Alpha Characters: A-Z
  • Lowercase Alpha Characters: a-z
  • Numbers: 0-9
  • Special Characters: such as but not limited to
    ! @ # $ % ^ & *
The above rules also apply to most other systems.

To log off your Unix session, use the command:

> exit


You can use the script chkuser to check that you have signed the necessary software agreement and have the necessary account and membership in order to run the BaBar software, and that all the computing forms you have signed and faxed to SLAC have been received and processed. You may type in a single SLAC Unixid or several SLAC Unixids. From Unix, issue the command chkuser userid
Some command examples:

chkuser chee

chkuser chee bartelt renata


UNIXID BFACT AFS BBR_COMM OBJECTIVITY ------------------------------------------------------------------ chee yes yes yes yes bartelt yes yes yes yes renata no yes no no

If you instead get an error message

   chkuser: Command not found.
it may be that you are still using the old session that does not have the HEPiX changes described below. Try again from a new session.

The chkuser output gives the following information:

UNIXID  - Prints unix userid if it exists at SLAC
BFACT   - User is/is not a member of the Unix group 'bfactory' 
(needed for NFS space where Objectivity stores data). 
AFS - User does/does not have a SLAC AFS account 
BBR_COMM- User is/is not a member of the BBR_COMMUNITY (an AFS accesslist)
OBJECTIVITY - User has/has not signed the Objectivity agreement.
If the output contains any "no" responses, look for anything you have missed in this Workbook section or contact one of the account setup experts, such as Chee.

Related documents:

Adopt the Hepix Login Scripts

To summarize the procedure discussed below, you will need to copy over the login and shell scripts described below to have the BaBar environment set up. See also the link below for more information on about HEPiX.

To configure your login environment for BaBar at SLAC, use the HEPiX scripts as described below. Users at most other sites will also want to use some version of these scripts, but should consult with local experts before proceeding.

Whenever you log onto a Unix machine, one or more processes are started. For interactive sessions, this process is typically a "shell." Like most things in Unix, shells come in many varieties. New SLAC accounts are set up to use the shell known as tcsh. Other varieties of shell have names such as csh and bash. Certain commands that you issue during your session may start new shells. Many non-interactive processes, such as batch sessions, also run their commands within shells.

When any shell is started, it first runs a user start-up script is run to customize its environment. In the case of tcsh, that start-up script is .cshrc, located in your login directory.

To see that such a file is in your login directory, issue the command:

> ls -a
(files starting with . will not be displayed without the -a option).

To view the file, issue the command:

> more .cshrc
Hit the space bar each time you want to see another screen of output.

If the shell is a "login shell" such as the one created when you first log in, a second start-up script is called to perform terminal-specific actions, such as setting keyboard mappings. In the case of tcsh, that second script is .login, located in your login directory.

The HEPiX group has created a set of login scripts to make the appearance of logging in and the method of customization appear standard from site to site and across multiple Unix architectures. Customizations prepared in this way should be reasonably portable from site to site. SLAC and BaBar have therefore adopted these scripts.

There are six levels of script in this system (executed in order):
HEPHEP-wide customizations
siteSite-wide customizations (e.g. SLAC or CERN)
systemA particular type of system (e.g. architecture)
clusterA particular defined group of machines
groupA particular defined group of users (e.g. BaBar)
userIndividual user customizations

The following instructions tell you how to set up HEPiX for a new account at SLAC.

Users with older accounts at SLAC should instead follow the special instructions

Users with accounts at other sites should ask their local colleagues (and encourage them to submit relevant instructions to this Workbook as discussed in the Guide for Contributors).

Do not log out after you make these changes. Keep the existing session up and start a new session to check that your log in still works properly. If the new log in has problems, you will want your original session to make any corrections.

To repeat: after you make the changes, do not log out until you have tested them with a separate session.

Users with new accounts: copy the template files to your home directory

> cp /afs/slac/g/babar/etc/hepix/Newuser/cshrc $HOME/.cshrc
> cp /afs/slac/g/babar/etc/hepix/Newuser/login $HOME/.login

Edit the templates if you wish. You may, for example, want to uncomment the line that selects a default printer and put in the printer of your choice. You can use any editor that you like. If you are not familiar with any Unix editors yet, an easy one to figure out is nedit. First make sure your XWindows client is turned on so that the editor window can be created. Then issue the command:

> nedit .cshrc &
> nedit .login &

Create the directory .hepix and insert the file that identifies babar as the preferred group. This will cause the BaBar-specific environment to be established.

> mkdir $HOME/.hepix
> cp /afs/slac/g/babar/etc/hepix/Newuser/preferred-group $HOME/.hepix

This completes the HEPiX setup.

Test the new setup from a separate session before you log out.

Once you have demonstrated that you can open a new session, exit the old session.

Related documents:

SLAC World-Wide Web Account

A number of restricted areas of the BaBar WWW pages are accessed by special account names and passwords. Members of the BaBar collaboration and greater community may inquire about and obtain the necessary information from Kathy Webb.

If you have a SLAC user account, you can also set up your own homepage by creating a subdirectory off your root directory called public_html. Your homepage should be called index.html. While designing your page, you should keep in mind the SLAC Computing Policies

SLAC HyperNews Account

Hypernews: HyperNews is a collection of discussion groups and is a primary communications tool within BaBar. To set up a hypernews membership, start here. Using hypernews, one may browse articles within individual groups and respond to those articles within the context of a web browser. All HyperNews groups also have mailing lists associated with them so that for groups of interest, you may "subscribe" and thereby receive a copy via email of each article submitted. Responses may also be made via email.

Membership: Access to the HyperNews forums is restricted to BaBar members and associates. You will have to create a HyperNews membership in order to have access.

To create your own HN password, with your SLAC UNIX account logon via ssh:

ssh -l   your_slac_username

Answer the questions as they present themselves. Use carriage return for those questions that are irrelevant (i.e. personal web page). The system will ask you to enter in your HyperNews password. Do NOT use your Slac Unixid as your HyperNews password.

Bringing your Computer to SLAC

Some advanced preparation may be required if you are planning to bring a computer to SLAC and expect to connect it to the SLAC network.

Any computer connected to the SLAC network must comply with current SLAC rules regarding operating system and server setup. You should contact the User Help Desk (1-650-926-HELP)BEFORE attempting to make any connection to the SLAC network.

For full up-to-date details on how to go about connecting your laptop, desktop or docking station to the SLAC network see New User's Guide to Bringing a Computer to SLAC

To obtain information about your computer for your application for network usage, on linux machines use

  • less /proc/cpuinfo - to get info about the CPU on your computer, and
  • less /proc/version - to find out the version of your linux kernel

Getting Your Computer a Permanent IP Address on the SLAC Network

If you intend to keep your computer on the SLAC network long term, you may want to apply for a permanent IP address. Use the IP Address and Node Name form mentioned in the Slac Computing document.

Setting Up Your Desktop Computer

However you choose to connect in, BaBar jobs are ultimately run on one of several Unix operating systems. While some users may sit directly at one of these supported Unix systems, most will be connecting in through some other desktop such as another Unix system, a PC, a Mac or an X Terminal. In such cases, you should obtain the following desktop tools.

Ssh: the Only Safe Way to Connect

The only widely available safe way to connect to remote hosts is to use the Secure Shell protocol (Ssh). Other protocols, such as telnet, rsh or rlogin send user names and passwords as clear text which can be easily intercepted by sniffer programs.

Legal restrictions on the use of cryptography disallow some Ssh communications through France, but all other BaBar connections should always be done through Ssh.

Most Unix systems in BaBar already have Ssh installed. Talk to your local system manager if the program is not already there. Ssh clients can also be purchased for Windows and Macs.

At other sites, first check with your local colleagues to see if they have any special site license or purchasing arrangement. Otherwise, purchase an ssh client from Datafellows.

Related documents:

X Windows: to View Output

Various pieces of BaBar software, plus some editors and other utilities require the ability to open new windows on your screen. To do this, they assume that you have some form of X Windows client installed and running on your desktop.

Most Unix systems in BaBar already have X Windows installed. Talk to your local system manager if the program is not already there. X Windows clients can also be purchased for Windows and Macs.

At SLAC, you can purchase the Windows or Mac client through the SLAC bulk Software Purchase Form.

At other sites, first check with your local colleagues to see if they have any special site license or purchasing arrangement. Otherwise, obtain an X Windows client such as XWIN32, Exceed, Exodus or MI/X from one of the references below.

Related documents:

SLAC security - Passwords

SLAC's policy on passwords is that they should be changed at least once per year. A current description of SLAC's policies for passwords on computing accounts may be found here.

To change your password, use ssh to logon to a Solaris machine (e. g., enter

and follow the instructions. The password program performs some quick checks and rejects passwords easily guessed by many password-cracking programs. Attempting to change your password by executing /bin/passwd will fail except for accounts local to the machine. Detailed instructions for changing Unix, NT and VMS account passwords may be found here.

Guidelines for choosing a good password, to help you avoid many of the selections the password changing program will reject, can be found here.

Remember that it is always a good idea to change your password after returning from a conference or any other time you have entered the password on a publicly accessible computer.


Your account should now be correctly set up to run BaBar offline analysis software. The next section of the Workbook will show you how to run a first example analysis job.

Back to Workbook Front Page

Authors: Joseph Perl
Jenny Williams
Paul Raines, Tom Glanzman
Last updated:
Jenny Williams

Last modification: 19 May 2006
Last significant update: 13 Jan 2006