Graphical remote access to SunRay servers

From your own personal computer, you can graphically log into our servers banach, hardy, or pythagoras and see the same desktop that you would see if you were logged in from one of our SunRays in your office. When you do this you are working on our secure server without risk of restricted data being left on your own computer or laptop.

To do this, you may use one of the four buttons below to start a session directly to banach, hardy, or pythagoras, or one in which you specify where to connect, the proper username and session you want to run.

See below for information on the prompts and messages you may see.

Connect using sfb:
to server banach
to server hardy
to server pythagoras
Use to connect to other hosts or if your username here is not the same as on the server.

Prompts and messages you may encounter

Messages about an out-of-date Java version
While the exact message will depend on your computer system, in early 2013 many vendors began automatically disabling outdated Java versions in response to security concerns. If your system tells you that Java must be updated, you will need to follow its instructions for doing that before sfb will work.
The application's digital signature cannot be verified
(Now that Purdue has signing services in place with InCommon Federation, we expect this message to be rare.) If you see this warning, before you give the ok to continue, please see verifying signature below for how to be sure you are running the program you think you are.
Host to connect to:
Your choice of,, or If you used one of the direct-to-banach (or hardy, or pythagoras) buttons, you will not see this prompt.
Login name on that host:
If you have a different login name on your own computer/laptop than your Math Department login, be sure to change this to the one used in the department. (In this case, avoid the direct-to-banach (or hardy, or pythagoras) buttons, as they won't give you this prompt.)
Session command to run:
Leaving this as "gnome-session" will give you the most similar experience to using one of our own SunRays. It can be changed if there is another type of session you prefer. The direct-connect buttons also skip this prompt.
Window size
If the default size of the sfb window is not to your liking, you may adjust the width and height to what you prefer.
The authenticity of host ... continue connecting?
You should not see this unless connecting to a non-Math machine. If you see it when connecting to banach, hardy, or pythagoras, please see vouching for department servers below.
sfb_known_hosts does not exist... want to create it?
If you manually vouch for the identity of a server, the first time you will get this prompt and may answer yes to remember the identity for future connections. You should not have to manually vouch for Purdue Math department servers.
Password for (yourname)@(host)
When connecting to a Math department server, naturally what's needed here is your Math department password.

Common issues, frequently asked questions

Only a portion of the corner of the window is displayed
This seems to be something that happens occasionally. Usually, if you find the window-frame 'maximize' button, click it once to maximize the window, then again to restore it to normal size, the complete window gets shown.
On a Mac, clicking the sfb button seems to do nothing
Check the Downloads. There should be a file sfb.jnlp (or sfb-banach.jnlp, etc.). You will not be able to open it with a simple double-click (a message will say it has an "unknown developer", because Apple has a new policy of considering all developers unknown unless they register as Apple developers). However, if you control-click it and select Open from the menu, it should open.
What machines can I sfb into?
In broad strokes, if you can ssh into it, and it has Xvnc and Python installed, you can sfb into it without any fuss. Typically, that will mean a Linux or Unix-like machine. If it is not Linux, it may need to have lsof installed. It may not work right away if Xvnc, python, or xauth (or lsof) are installed in unusual places, or if the Python version is 3 or higher. If there is a Python 2.x installation under a different name, you can make sfb use that with the --python_path option, but to use special options you will have to download sfb and start it from the command line rather than from the web.

Verifying the program's signature

The application's signature is important to ensure that you are running the program we distribute and not some possibly malicious version. Before you continue past the warning, please follow these steps to make sure the signature is right. You can then agree to trust the same signature in the future to avoid repeated warnings.

  1. Look at your broswer carefully to confirm that the page you are viewing right now is and the your browser indicates a secure connection.
  2. In the box warning you about the application signature, click More Information or Certificate Details until you can see and confirm one of the fingerprints in the table below.
  3. Optionally agree to trust the same certificate in future, and proceed to run the app.
SHA1 9A:11:A3:4C:32:71:93:95:CC:4A:F4:31:80:6A:6F:AF:25:5E:EB:45
MD5 52:23:1A:0C:5E:B0:EC:48:B4:E5:70:5E:01:5B:B2:D4

Starting the app with a shortcut

Once you have run sfb from this page, you will be able to find it in your computer's Java Control Panel by choosing View... for network cached files or temporary internet files (the exact wording varies). From there you can choose to run sfb without returning to this page, or choose to have it installed as a shortcut on your computer's desktop.

Vouching for the server you connect to

The authenticity of host ... can't be established is not a message you should see when connecting to a Math department server. If it happens, please do not proceed to connect unless you first verify the server's fingerprint in the table below.

If connecting to a server that is not one of ours, you should check with that server's administrators to make sure you know where to confirm its correct signature.

banach aa:95:2c:40:7b:0e:ca:df:ff:b7:76:44:45:44:ef:3f
banach 16:54:5d:c9:43:9b:c4:82:6a:3d:5e:3d:39:92:a2:ee
hardy 68:c1:2f:ef:37:e6:fd:c1:75:6d:98:83:94:f3:ac:37
pythagoras 30:99:de:21:46:a5:05:c1:65:db:da:d1:d3:05:d3:8a
pythagoras d0:5d:d1:72:e0:ba:1c:29:94:f9:fc:ec:8e:9f:3a:6f