Using Matlab or ENVI/IDL from off-campus locations

You can access the Planetary and Marine Computing (PMC) matlab or envi/idl licenses from home or other off-campus location provided you are connected to the PBSci VPN or by tunneling through a linux account on the PMC network.

VPN Access Instructions (easiest method for accessing the licenses from off campus)

To use the Campus VPN please visit If you have difficulty connecting to the vpn contact us and we can help you.

Linux Account Access Instructions

If you are a guest and do not have a UCSC Cruzid you can use a PMC linux account to access the licenses. If you need an account please contact us to establish one. Once you have a linux account follow the instructions below.


  1. You must have a linux account on the PMC managed linux machines.
  2. You must be connected to a network.
  3. Your ISP must allow direct SSH connections (tcp port 22) to network hosts.
  4. Some locations such as wi-fi hotspots may limit the network services that can be connected to.
  5. If the terminal connection phase of these instructions fails then here some possible problems:
    1. You are in a location that does not allow direct SSH connections (try from another network)
    2. You aren't properly connected to a network (test using a browser to some popular site such as google)
    3. The server or some portion of the network in-between you and the server is temporarily down (try again later).
  6. Edit the file ".profile" in your home directory. (The "." character at the front of the file name is important). This file probably will not exist, if so go ahead and create it.
    1. Add the line:
      • launchctl setenv LM_LICENSE_FILE

    2. Save the file
    3. Logout and back in.
  7. Open a terminal window.
  8. From the terminal window, ssh to the machine with this command (typed all on one line):
    ssh -L -L <username>
    1. <username> is your login on the managed linux machines

    2. this command opens a connection to with 2 ssh tunnels to
    3. You might consider using the "New Command" selection in the "Shell" menu of the terminal program to create a persistent version of the above ssh command so you can avoid retyping.
  9. Remain logged in to You may minimize the terminal window, but do not close it. If you experience disconnects from the "" server read Unix Shell and SSH Timeouts. In particular, try the solution in the "Shell auto-logout Solution" section.

  10. Start matlab or envi/idl and it should find the license.