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DICE software

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How do I find out what software packages and versions are installed on DICE?

On DICE Ubuntu: The command dpkg -l gives a complete list of all the software packages installed on any particular system, along with summary information about the package (most lines should start with "ii" - those are the ones actually installed), and dpkg -s package will tell you more about a particular software package.

On SL7: The command rpm -qa gives a complete list of all the software packages installed on any particular system, and rpm -qi package will tell you more about a particular software package.

You could also use the apropos command to search for pieces of software if you're not sure about the name of the containing package. If you're not sure which system you're using, it is safe to try them all and find out.

Can I install software on DICE?

Yes, you probably can.

Although we can't give you root permission, software can very often be installed locally without it, simply by modifying the standard installation process slightly. The Installing Software page has advice on this topic.

Can I use apt (or apt-get to install software?

No, but that doesn't mean you can't have that software, necessarily.

On DICE Ubuntu We have the apt tools, and you can search for software with apt search (or apt-cache) but you will need to contact us to have the packages installed. On (older) SL7 machines, DICE is compatible with rpm packages, as used by Fedora/Red Hat. As DICE is RPM-based, it doesn't support the deb format.

As for installed packages, if you're not sure which system you're using, it is safe to try them all and find out.

Can I have software added to DICE?

Yes you can. We have repositories containing software packages which can be added.

If your package is available in our upstream repositories (apt or yum) then there's a good chance we can install it quickly for you, potentially across many or all machines if it's of wider benefit.

On DICE Ubuntu: The command apt search foo  lists the available software packages matching the string foo. The command apt info bar  gives more information about a package named bar. These commands can be run on any Ubuntu machine to which you have access.

On SL7: the command yum search foo  lists the available software packages matching the string foo. The command yum info bar   gives more information about a package named bar. These commands are best run on one of the login servers (student.login.inf.ed.ac.uk or staff.login.inf.ed.ac.uk, more info here).

We are happy to take requests for software that not listed in the repository (it helps if we know the name, version and where we can acquire it!), but please bear in mind that it may take some time and in some cases it may not be possible to deploy the software more widely, or in some cases install software at all.

In either case, please use the Computing Support form to make the request. The procedure we use to process these requests is described in the requested software page.

If you are a taught student requesting software in support of a project please ask your project supervisor to make the request on your behalf.

Software used to directly support teaching should be requested/upgraded as part of the ISS course lifecycle: see Course Software for details. We will not upgrade software used for teaching mid-semester without the course leader's approval.

Can I have a newer version of specific software installed on DICE?

Yes — sometimes.

Upgrading software to the latest version across DICE can sometimes be problematic, since it requires us to check that upgrading a package (and all of its dependencies) will not alter any current teaching and research requirements, or require large changes to core packages which could cause compatibility or stability problems. For this reason it is not always possible, even if the version on DICE is much older than the latest release. In some cases it is possible to compromise by updating packages on individual machines or groups of machine, for example without altering the software in teaching labs, or just the servers for a specific research group.

On SL7 if you're looking for a more recent version of a developer tool (e.g. devtoolset or the LLVM Toolset), see Software Collections.

Can I set my own default applications on DICE?

(For instance, choose a particular application to handle PDF documents.) Yes you can. The page Setting a default application on DICE explains how to do this.

Last reviewed: 
25/03/2021

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