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How to specify Custom Logins for Quickstations

Since Quickstations are identical to normal Athena Workstations except for the time-out function, all of your normal customizations will load and applications you start on login will run. In many cases, you may not want or need these applications on Quickstation logins, especially if they take time to load and you will not be using them during your quick session.


There are several ways to avoid running your customizations on Quickstations and to speed up your login by specifying a special login session:

  • Select "Ignore your customizations" from the "Login Options" menu on the login screen before logging in. This will log you in with the default Athena configuration which is often (not always) faster than using your own customizations.
  • Select "Terminal-style session" from the "Login Options" menu on the login screen before logging in. You will get one xterm window. If you require additional things later, you will have to start them up by hand. (i.e. a window manager, zwgc, etc.)
  • Select "Check your email" from the "Login Options" menu on the login screen before logging in. The machine will run a check to see if you have email waiting, and will then give you the option of logging in fully, or logging out.
  • If you only occasionally use Quickstations or only use them for one thing ( for example, to run evolution ), you can specify a single program to run using the menu option "Specify special login" from the "Login Options" menu on the login screen. A window will appear prompting you to enter the name of a shell script or program. Type in the name of the program you want to run on login (for example: evolution, xterm, emacs, etc.), click "OK" and enter your username and password. The program you specified will launch. Once you exit that program, you will be logged out.


To have certain commands in your dotfiles run only on Quickstation logins, or to have certain commands in your dotfiles run only on Non-Quickstation logins (perhaps more useful), check for the existence of the ATHENA_QUICK environment variable.

For example the following construct in your .startup.X file:

if(! $?ATHENA_QUICK) then
   add infoagents sipb
   firefox &
   pidgin &
   thunderbird &
   xterm -e pine &

will run firefox, pidgin and thunderbird only on Non-Quickstation Athena
machines. On Quickstations, it will instead run pine inside an xterm
to check your mail. This is an example only. You can replace
the commands in the "if...then...else...endif" clause with
anything you like.

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

August 04, 2014

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