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Thanks to Raghu and to the Ubuntu installation on the netbook I got from IMSc, I have started taking interest in learning Linux. Mind you, I don’t hate Windows yet, but nowadays I am beginning to think its more fun to hate something if you know it in-and-out. 😛

One problem that I (and my technologically challenged Mathematics fellas) face is that the institute computers have their IPs registered to journal subscriptions. But when we use our home systems, the institute (IMSc, in my case) doesn’t register those IPs. Thus I am not able to view journals from there. Here is a solution, provided your institute allows you to do so.

My plan is the following: Denote the IP-registered-for-subscription-system (office or institute PC) by system O (office) and the home PC by system H (home). I shall create a secure key in system O which has public and private files, share the public key with the administrator who will store this key in the server (at the space reserved for my username in the institute server). I shall then copy the private key to system H and command my browser to ping the institute server, thus virtually browsing the net through my institute’s IP, which is registered with the journals. Here is how it is done:

  • Run terminal (for keyboard lovers like me, shortcut key : <Alt> + F2 , “gnome-terminal“, <Return>)
  • Type “seahorse” in the terminal (Seahorse is a tool for creating digital signatures. Details here.)
  • My personal keys” will show you a list of keys created on the system. Go to File >> Create new >> Secure Shell key >> (Give any name) >> Just create key >> (Enter a password twice).
  • (To see the created key, type in the terminal, “cd .ssh“. This will take you to the “.ssh” folder which is usually hidden while browsing through the windows (because of absence of viewing permission).
  • Copy the public key file (whose filename would be if you haven’t created a secure shell key earlier on the system, and if this is the (N+1)-th time the key is being created). Use the cp command to copy to desktop (or any other convenient location) : cp /home/<user>/Desktop/<file_name> (If you aren’t in the .ssh folder, then use cp /home/<user>/Desktop/ ).
  • Email your institute system-administrator this file on the desktop, asking him to put the file in the location on the institute server corresponding to your username. (In my case, it was <user-name> ).
  • Copy the private key from the .ssh folder of system O to the .ssh folder of system H via a pen drive or email. Assuming the private key file is on the desktop, this command would be, cp /home/<user>/Desktop/ /root/.ssh (Most probably, system H would be your own laptop, so there would not be permission issues so you can directly copy-paste the file like you do in Windows).
  • In the terminal, type “ssh -D 5050 <username>@<domain>” (In my case, it was (This creates a secure local SOCKS proxy server on system H).
  • Open your browser’s preferences, find “change proxy settings”. In Mozilla Firefox, it will be in Preferences >> Advanced >> Network >> Settings. In Google Chrome, it is Preferences >> Under the Hood >> Change proxy settings.
  • Set it to Manual Proxy configuration. In the SOCKS Host, enter localhost and port 5050. (Save and) close the settings page.
  • You can now access all the journals your institution has subscribed!

About me

Abhishek Parab

I? An Indian. A mathematics student. A former engineer. A rubik's cube addict. A nature photographer. A Pink Floyd fan. An ardent lover of Chess & Counter-Strike.

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