Desktop Linux Environment

Service Description

ITS Research Computing provides a desktop Linux distribution, TarHeel Linux, customized for the UNC computing environment. Based upon CentOS, it is tailored particularly to work with CCI machines. In addition to providing a baseline, secured Linux environment, the TarHeel Linux project provides:

  • The capability to build Linux distribution on CCI equipment without needing advanced computer expertise
  • Integration with existing ITS Research Computing systems
  • Access to a very large repository containing a core set of open-source research applications, Firefox, OpenOffice, Thunderbird, and many other tools
  • An environment that is easily managed and modified, while remaining secure

TarHeel Linux is easy to install and designed to be compatible with Mac and PC operating systems. A user needs an Onyen and password to access the distribution. Software updates and patches are run nightly, along with basic integrity scans to ensure optimal security and reliability.

Hours of Availability

The TarHeel Linux application repository, and automated build services (Kickstart server), are typically available 24x7 other than during planned maintenance periods or unanticipated emergencies (such as loss of commercial power to the data center). System or service outages occurring outside business hours will be investigated on the next business day.


Faculty, postdocs, staff and students who would like to use Linux as their desktop operating system.

Customer Responsibilities

Responsible use of the resources. Customers are responsible for maintaining the security of their systems and environment, should they choose to modify the system and security settings that were enabled as part of the base installation. Customers are responsible for monitoring their system logs and logwatch reports and for investigating (and resolving) issues identified therein. For assistance with that, you can submit a Remedy ticket to the Research Computing group or email .

How Do We Charge

Currently, there are no charges associated with accounts or usage.

How To Request More Information On Or Request The Service

For additional information about TarHeel Linux, please visit You can also contact to learn more about this service.