Open Computing Environment


OCE accounts are designed to provide students with on-going access to computers labs and servers that are dedicated to supporting their major or division.

OCE accounts support both personal computing and upper-division course work. Your lower-division courses may have created a course-specific account for class resources, but your upper-division classes will use your OCE account to allocate appropriate resources to your account.

How Do I Access OCE Course Resources?

Logging into Unix systems via ssh and running the prep command will prompt you to select the environment. This will only occur if you have more than one environment to select from.

  Below is a list of the computing environments you have available.

        If one of them corresponds to the class for which you are logging
        in to do work, type its number and hit return.

        1) jsmith
        2) cs131s
        3) cs167s
        4) ee171s
        5) Stop asking me this

        Choose one, or hit enter to use personal account -->

John Smith needs to work on CSE 167 assignments, so he picks "3".

Shortcut for selecting the environment

Course resources can also be accessed by using the prep command and specifying a course identifier as an argument. This will require you to know your course identifier.

  prep cs131w

Once John has finished working on his CSE 131 courses, he wants to work on his ECE assignments.

  prep ee171s

Class Storage Directories

Some classes provide additional storage to complement the course.

In addition to the storage in your home directory, you may have a directory in a course "umbrella" for any OCE-compatible class you are taking. For example, John has his home directory here:


But the CSE 131 class he's taking also has a directory for him here:


When John "preps" a course, the program will check to see if he is in his course directory for the course. If not, it will offer to change his directory.

Copying Files From a Class Storage Directory to Your Home Directory

Class storage directories are deleted at the end of the quarter. If you want to back up any coursework that you have in a class storage directory, be sure to back up your files.

First, create a backup folder:

mkdir backup.<classname>

Then, "prep" the course to change to the course directory:

prep <classname>

Now copy all the files in your folder to your back up folder.

cp -r . ~/backup.<classname>

Too much stuff?

Try deleting files that can be recreated, like executables (*.exe) and object files (*.o)!

Copying Another Home Directory to Your OCE Home Directory

The "cphome" program is an easy way to copy a home directory on another server onto your OCE Home Directory:

cphome username@server

This will copy the home directory for the specified user on the server.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why don't I have a course-specific account?

Course specific accounts are created for lower-division courses and students taking the course who do not qualify for an OCE account.

I used to have a lot of space. Where did it go?

Certain courses will request a quota boost to ensure that students have sufficient space for their workload. At the end of the quarter, your account will return to the original quota. Although you may receive an additional quota boost, the space is to complement the course you are enrolled in that quarter and may not be sufficient for both last and this quarters' work.

Please be sure to back up and remove any coursework at the end of the quarter.

Which courses are OCE-compatible?

The Account Lookup Tool also shows the OCE-compatible courses that have been linked to your account, and lists the facilities assigned to each class. Some facilities require access to special software that is only available on certain machines. The Account Lookup tool will show you which facilities are available for the courses you are taking.

If you still have questions or need additional assistance, please contact the ITS Service Desk. You can call us at (858) 246-4357, email us at, or submit a ticket at