Setting up your Zoo Account

Logging In

Logging in is a simple process. Sit down at a node, and press Return if necessary to get the login prompt (the workstations blank their screens after a while to prevent burn-in). Type your NetID and password where indicated, choose a kernel if desired and press Go.

Changing Your Password

To change your password go to Yale ITS' password maintenance page.

For tips on password protection please see ITS' article Protecting your Yale NetID.

Keep in mind that anyone who knows your password has unrestricted access to your account and the information within. You should be the only person with this access. Anyone who logs into your account has the ability to alter or damage the data within, as well as to represent him or herself as you on the internet. To make sure that only you have access to your account, please observe these guidelines:

Changing Your Shell

When you log in and get to a prompt the operating system starts a program called a shell, which allows you to launch programs and interact with the file system. All commands you type at the shell's prompt are interpreted and executed by the shell.

There are several different shells, and you may not like the default shell. If you'd like to change your shell, type ypchsh. The /usr/bin/chsh program (short for change shell) will display your old shell and ask you for a new one. The preferred method for changing your shell is through the web interface at The list of supported shells in the Zoo includes (but is not limited to):

Tcsh, an enhanced version of the Berkeley UNIX C Shell, csh.
Bash, the "Bourne Again Shell," which is the standard GNU shell.
The Berkeley UNIX C shell; considered harmful by some authorities.
Zsh, the Z Shell, designed for compatibility with ksh, the Korn Shell.
The generic Bourne shell. Not recommended.

Setting Up Your Environment

Initially your login environment will have a plain-vanilla setup. You may want to customize your login and logout procedures, your shell, and your window manager. This setup is done by editing certain files in your account, called dot files (because their names begin with a dot (.) character). The default behavior of ls is to ignore dot files, so you may wish to run it with the -a option to have them displayed. Here are a few tips to get you started:

What Next?

Play around! Try things. It's the best way to learn about the system. Remember that help is always available. (To find out about getting help with the Zoo, visit the Getting Help section of this help system.)