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Linux on your work machine

The university’s preferred solution is that you run Linux as a virtual machine inside their normal Windows install on university-owned machines. They provide instructions on how to do this. In some cases, you may prefer or require direct (e.g. dual-boot) access to Linux. Obvious examples in psychology include: (a) neuroscience analysis on laptops (VMs are too memory-hungry and laptops too low in memory for this to be viable), (b) in a desktop machine, anything requiring direct access to the GPU. This is demonstrably possible, and permissible on a case-by-case basis (Prof. Rod Sheaff, Prof. Andy Wills, and graduate students Lenard Dome and Gokcek Kul are among current staff doing this)

Things to note:

  • Backup your machine before doing this!

  • The request you need to make from TIS is for an unmanaged PC on which you can install Linux. If you already have a machine issued to you that is managed, you will need to exchange this machine for an unmanaged one.

  • IT support won’t support unmanaged machines, any problems you have are your problems (but I can help).

  • You may be asked to get the approval of a Senior Manager to approve your request. I am one of those, so you can get mine. Prof. Rod Sheaff is also happy to approve such requests.

  • Don’t leave it more than a few days without an email from TIS before you ring them up again and check progress.

  • You’ll need to provide your own installation media. I’m happy to give you an Ubtuntu 20.04 installation USB stick, for free.

  • Don’t give up, if you hit problems (including problems with TIS) just tell me and we’ll get it unstuck together.

Internet access

  • eduroam - WiFi for students, researchers, and educators at 10,000s of hotspots in over 70 countries (including PU campus).
  • Virtual Private Network - Connect to the university’s private network from outside campus (useful for remote desktop) using these instructions.

Two-factor authentication

The university’s two-factor authentication system uses, by default, installation of a Microsoft closed-source authenticator app from the Play Store (Android) or the Apple equivalent. Here are two open-source alternatives:

  • If you have an Android-based open-source device (e.g. a LineageOS tablet or phone), you can download FreeOTP+ from FDroid.

  • If you prefer a Linux desktop solution, you can use Authy on Ubuntu, following these instructions.

The university also requires you provide them with your mobile number.

Email and calendar

These instructions cover how to set up the Thunderbird email software to access Office365 email and calendars. The email component should be adaptable to other mail clients that use IMAP/SMTP (e.g. Mutt). Alternatively, use the web interface, which works well on Linux - if you have privacy concerns for this web-based solution, consider using the containers feature of Firefox.


Here are some instructions for printing from a wired, or wireless, connection.