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Unix Shell Accounts?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the an-endangered-species dept.

The Internet 115

mcovey asks: "Unix shell accounts used to be easy to find, with quality applications installed and free web space. Nowadays the only free ones left are either not accepting new accounts, have limited applications or send you on a wild goose chase to register. Does anyone know any free or low-cost shell accounts that include compilers, IRC, background processes, FTP, a decent editor and an email app (preferably pine, since I have a config file already on my IMAP server)?"

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There are several of them ... (1, Informative)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698373)

... out on the linuxiso website: LinuxISO.org [linuxiso.org] .

Re:There are several of them ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9698605)

... out on the linuxiso website: LinuxISO.org.

I don't see any free unix shell accounts listed there. It's just a link to download Linux ISO images. The submitter asked for free unix shell account providers, not Linux ISO images. That'd be like me saying "Does anyone know where I can get free web hosting?" and you pointing out a link to Apache. You are a fucking moron.

Why do you need a hosted shell account? (5, Insightful)

Bad Boy Marty (15944) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698382)

Just fire up Linux on some dusty old i386, and plug it into your home network. What's so special about having a hosted account?

Re:Why do you need a hosted shell account? Reasons (2, Insightful)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699580)

You provide support for a corporate entity with multiple access connections and have to regularly check to see which are up/down, and find out why.

You are an out of work, homeless, software developer, and the library won't let you compile software on one of their computers.

You happen to be interested in writing new software to spam the internet, but don't want direct evidence of it being your system sending it out. (not a legitimate reason, but it wouldn't surprise me if someone wanted to do just this. It's probably the primary reason you might find it hard to find a hosted shell account as well.)

You have a mail server set up at home, doing secure imap, which is the only hole in your firewall, and would like to read your mail at an Internet cafe, or public library, without having to put a copy of that pine config on every computer you touch.

Just some ideas.

-Rusty

Re:Why do you need a hosted shell account? Reasons (4, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699853)

FWIW, I have a "free shell account" on my machine at home which is permanently connected thanks to DSL. You can get an address from dynip.com (pay) or a miriad of free providers that will track your IP address and give you a hostname permanently pointing at it. Most major DSL providers in the US seem to offer static IPs as an option too.

This, ultimately, is probably the major reason supported, open, free shell accounts have died out. Most people who'd want one have the ability to create what they need. As a result, the bulk of users of the free services have become those who are desperate to use someone else's machine, and you can imagine that a high proportion of those are script kiddies and other undesirables.

So I think the GP was on the money. Of course, you're out of luck if you don't have a DSL connection (or something else you can use to stay on the net permanently.)

Re:Why do you need a hosted shell account? Reasons (1)

Krunch (704330) | more than 10 years ago | (#9701544)

You don't even need an internet connection to set up a shell account you can use from "anywhere". Just use a good old modem and your phone line, set up pppd the right way and there you are. You can access your shell from anywhere as long as there is a phone line, a computer and a modem. Moreover, your phone number don't change as often as your IP adress.

Re:Why do you need a hosted shell account? Reasons (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 10 years ago | (#9702799)

However, the phone line and modem are the hard parts. I now only use one computer with a modem (not mine), and I have no phone line (cell phone all the way - I've got line-of-sight to a Sprint tower, too)

Re:Why do you need a hosted shell account? Reasons (1)

JimmyGulp (60100) | more than 10 years ago | (#9700013)

You have a mail server set up at home, doing secure imap, which is the only hole in your firewall,

Why not punch another hole in your firewall for ssh? Then, when you're in an Internet cafe, its just a matter of grabbing a copy of putty from somewhere and connecting into your own server? Then you've also got all the tools you want right at your encrypted fingertips.

Re:Why do you need a hosted shell account? Reasons (1)

RedHat Rocky (94208) | more than 10 years ago | (#9700604)

Can you say keystroke logger?

I thought you could.

Rather they got my imap password then my login.

Re:Why do you need a hosted shell account? Reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9700931)

Can you say S/Key?

I thought you could.

Re:Why do you need a hosted shell account? Reasons (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 10 years ago | (#9703850)

Can you say "One-time passwords?" Can be very easy, or very tricky, to set up, depending on your documentation and level of ability.

Re:Why do you need a hosted shell account? Reasons (1)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 10 years ago | (#9703731)

You are an out of work, homeless, software developer, and the library won't let you compile software on one of their computers.

Have one of your employed buddies plug a 386 box from the thrift store into their subnet for you to shell into. Sheesh. You can run Linux on laptops that sell under $10 at surplus auctions these days....

Re:Why do you need a hosted shell account? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9700535)

For one thing -- News. Hosted shell accounts used to have the best news feeds. Reading articles was instantaneous, no latency. News was updated continuously. It was like Slashdot only 100 times better. Plus, you could cancel your own posts if you had second thoughts about flaming somebody. Too bad Slashdot doesn't have that feature!

Re:Why do you need a hosted shell account? (1)

maskedbishounen (772174) | more than 10 years ago | (#9700770)

...but it's no fun unless you can launch your DDoS^H^H^H^Hirc client from someone else's box?

Re:Why do you need a hosted shell account? (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9701331)

You could host a website on a house connection, but it doesn't mean that you'd want to. Perhaps your speed is inadaquate, or perhaps your ISP has become anal and doesn't permit remote access and such. Perhaps your connection is just flacky and you want a service to run as long as possible without interuption. Or heck, perhaps you don't want to keep your machines powered all the time. Or, this is probally the most important on, it's possible that a shell is hosted on a really kick ass machine and a kick ass connection that puts yours to shame.

But probally the most important reason a shell is desired is to test out your own shinola from a remote site.

The obvious reasons why (1)

jageryager (189071) | more than 10 years ago | (#9714976)

While I'm capable of setting up a box, and setting up software, configuring the network, and maintaining everything, it is timeconsuming, and can be frustrating and annoying.

It would be nice to be able to just log onto a box and have everything I ever want be setup already, and have someone else worry about security patches.

The obvious reason why the ISPs don't like to offer this anymore is because they don't want to deal with everybody trying to hack the machine, and hack each other, and spawn infinite recursive fork programs and programs that consume all the inodes.

I had a shell account with my ISP. 2 months before it went away somebody hacked the box. Then it took 2 weeks for access to come back. Then 6 weeks later it happened again. That was it. They cancelled the service.

Get a whole (virtual) server (4, Informative)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698390)

Get an inexpensive UML (User-Mode-Linux) virtual server and it's just like having a whole server online.
I use Tektonic [tektonic.net] . Their cheapest plan is only $15/month. For more money you get larger slices of the CPU and RAM. There are several other good ones as well.

(oh, and FP).

Check out their network stats page (4, Interesting)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698601)

Notice the spike, right around the time that this article was posted. Hard data on the Slashdot effect!

Re:Check out their network stats page (2, Informative)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699987)


In case anyone is too lazy, here is a direct link to Tektonic's network stats page: http://www.tektonic.net/network.htm [tektonic.net]

Re:Get a whole (virtual) server (1)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698707)

That's what I use, best thing going, heck, get a plan with something like Plesk and be a hosting "reseller". Now, I hav individual hosting for all four of my domains, set up was easy, and I still have the power of root for anything I want to do. I'll even throw in a plug for my hosting provider [defenderhosting.com] (maybe now they'll get the new site up!).

Re:Get a whole (virtual) server (1)

n-baxley (103975) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699249)

It looks like they're fairly new from looking at their support site. Not a lot of entries in the KB. Does their base install come with any programs loaded? Apache, some mail server, PHP? This sounds like a good deal, how much work would it be to get a mail and web server up and running on this for a adequate linux user and novice admin?

Re:Get a whole (virtual) server (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699428)

It's got all the usual stuff install by default.
Sendmail, Apache, etc...
I set it up to handle my email and some test sites running PHP in a few minutes. I also installed my own ColdFusion server and am using that as well.
I've had the server for several months with no complaints.

Re:Get a whole (virtual) server (1)

n-baxley (103975) | more than 10 years ago | (#9700102)

Thanks for the info. Do you know how long they've been around?

Re:Get a whole (virtual) server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9701498)

I'm with TekTonic and i've had my account for over a year, so at least that long. I highly recommend them, everything is very stable and fast.

public access on my virtual server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9705728)

I was thinking of setting up a bochs virtual server on my co-lo'd box and making this a free server. I used to have a nether.net account years ago and this got me through years of remote access from around the world. Some of us who remember how cool this was are keen to give back to the community.

However there's the obvious security threat. What I figure is that by assigning an ip to my virtual server (which is after all just a distro image), I can pretty much throw security out of the window on that virtual environment. If the server is screwed, I just copy over an old disk image. It's a closed world from which my real box would remain untouched. You filter connections -to- it and can make it too shit (resource wise) to do any harm with and bob is then pretty much your mythical uncle. What worries me is that I don't know why others don't do this? Constructive anarchy, I call it.

Re:public access on my virtual server (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 10 years ago | (#9706512)

> too shit (resource wise) to do any harm

Give me a login and I'll demonstrate how to do harm (maybe not to YOUR box).

Buy a cheap shell (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9698395)

The reason there are few free ones is because people abused them. Just go buy a cheap shell somewhere like QuadSpeed Internet [quadspeedi.net] . $3 a month. JVDS offers a limited free shell [jvds.com] , but as they put in the big print, no IRC.

Re:Buy a cheap shell (1)

platipusrc (595850) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699943)

Many places that offer Dedicated or Co-Location hosting specifically disallow IRC. You'd almost have to go with a bulletproof hoster to get IRC without breaking the Ts&Cs.

Re:Buy a cheap shell (3, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 10 years ago | (#9702843)

I don't recall if it does EVERYTHING the OP wants, but Freeshell.org is $1 validation, and if you want more (stuff like IRC client, Perl, Python, PHP, etc.), it's $36 one-time (you don't have to pay the $1 if you start out with the $36 plan or better), and they've also got monthly plans that have even more than that (AFAIK, stuff like background processes DOES cost more). Myself, I've gotta shell out $36 (in addition to my $1 that I sent in about a year ago) to get Python, FTP (really pisses me off, because I don't know how to use ZModem over SSH on Linux, so I have to zip up my site, take it over to a Winbox, fire up HyperTerminal, and Telnet in), and SMTP (I hate webmail, and I use my own VERY nice client (Opera M2), thank you very much). Now, if they'd let me JUST add Python, FTP, and SMTP (I don't need Perl, PHP, 240MB more storage (80 in each area - shell, mail, and web), outbound IRC (they have plans for inbound IRC, IIRC, but they're REALLY expensive), outbound Telnet, etc.)

They wish they could (5, Insightful)

etymxris (121288) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698425)

I'm sure there are plenty of people that own dedicated hosts that would be happy to offer shell accounts, if only the company that they rent from would allow it. I own several dedicated hosts, and none of the companies allow me to sell shell accounts from them.

I'm sure it wasn't done on a whim. Giving out shell accounts allows the potential for serious abuse, and when you start granting strangers permission to do so many random things from the shell, abuse is destined to occur.

Block Outgoing Connections! (1)

Vagary (21383) | more than 10 years ago | (#9713790)

Simple solution: setup a firewall to block outgoing connections from the free accounts. The person using it to develop doesn't need any outside access at all, for email you open just that port. Think like chroot: protect your box from the users on it just as well as from the users off.

panix.com (5, Informative)

gregh76 (121243) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698428)

I've been using Panix for over 10 years. They have $10/month shell-only bring-your-own access accounts. CGI, IMAP, et. al. included. I highly recommend them. Highly competent personnel. Well administered. Worth every penny.

panix.com is da bomb. (3, Insightful)

millia (35740) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699075)

what he said, plus they have ssh access, either via a client or through a web-based client, and webmail. nice size of space available, too. you can also get a price of $100 per year if you pay up front. i got my panix acct. after netcom discontinued shell access, and my only regret is not getting it sooner.

Re:panix.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9700437)

I have used Panix.com for about 4 years now and agree that it is GREAT.

Why free? (5, Interesting)

Jahf (21968) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698429)

Ok, so I'm curious, what is the benefit to the provider to give free access to shell accounts.

All the shell accounts I've had in the past (I'm in the camp that just runs their own server over broadband now) were in some way attached to a paying account and/or were provided by a school or employer.

I can see a low-cost account, say $5/month for no compiler and $10/month for compiler (or just limit the account to x% CPU), but free doesn't make sense to me.

Not saying I think they should go away if they exist, just wondering what the incentive to give someone command-line access to your box would be?

Re:Why free? (3, Funny)

PylonHead (61401) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699093)

Why?

So they can deal with a lot more bullshit in their lives!

By offering free shell accounts, they give spammers a base to work from.

By offering free shell accounts, people can coordinate their DDOS attacks from their box.

By offereing free shell accounts, they can deal with people running high bandwith gaming servers that choke off their networks.

Now, I wonder why it's hard to find people giving out free shell accounts with compilers?

Check out hub.org (5, Informative)

zhobson (22730) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698474)

I'm a customer of hub.org.

They have web accounts with SSH login as a standard feature, and you can even get root access to your own personal VM and install whatever software you want.

Oh, and they run FreeBSD, which happens to be my favorite unix.

And on a related note (5, Funny)

mkavanagh2 (776662) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698492)

Does anyone know where I can find an open mail relay for legitimate purposes? For some reason, all the public open mail relays seem to be scarce now :(

special request (1)

Gigahertz (768208) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698504)

Not that they offer it on the front page, but www.nexornet.com offers cheap shell accounts as an addition to their excellent hosting....

Virtual Servers (5, Informative)

DDumitru (692803) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698505)

Most shell accounts are disappearing because they are very unsafe for the hoster. Also, the prevelence of UML (User Mode Linux) lets hosters run virtual servers in security sandboxes so that the child application is more isolated from the host system.

UML virtuals behave like complete Linux servers with smaller RAM and disk sizes. You can load full distros and get a direct, public, IP address. Some hosters let you run IRC servers and some don't (many upstream providers hard-filter IRCD). In terms of software and services, you can run just about anything you want. Mail, FTP, ssh, IRC, Apache, Perl, PHP, MySql, etc. Plus you have full editors (vi, emacs) and compilers (gcc, java, etc.).

You can typically get these starting at about $12/mo. We sell them starting at $15/mo. They are more than shell accounts because the load you can place on a physical server is much smaller. In general, we only put 15-20 on a box to keep the underlying LoadAvg < 1.

Info on UML is available at:

http://user-mode-linux.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

Have fun.

Cybercomm (2, Informative)

bluethundr (562578) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698519)

My old ISP from the Jersey, called Cybercomm [216.182.2.169] was a great dial-up providor back before the hey-day of broadband. They were recently swallowed up by Telurian Networks [tellurian.com] so that under the Cybercomm moniker they can offer broadband services.

On their website, they still appear to be offering their old services which include

30 days unlimited/interactive usage

10 MB Web Space for your personal webpage(s).

1 Internet Email Address

Full UNIX Shell Included

Listing in our Users directory

The Best Technical Support in The Business

Well that last line about their tech department is of a bit of sales hyperboly. But I do remember their being fairly good.

Of course you wont want to dial up to their network, but I've never had any trouble at all accessing the Unix Shell account they give you.

You get all that for a low low low $20 'merican dollars per month or for $200 a year in one lumpy sum.

Also interesting is that they appear to still have their Muds section open (as of a couple of months ago)and are STILL operating a BBS that you can chat with local yokal Jerseyans. Not that you'd want to do either of the latter, but it is still interesting to find that stuff still around!

Re:Cybercomm (1)

sevensharpnine (231974) | more than 10 years ago | (#9700733)

30 days unlimited/interactive usage

I hate marketing drivel like this. Either offer unlimited downloads, or give it a hard cap that everyone can see. I'm tired of these stupid ambiguities that make it sound as though you can use as much as their service as you want. I wonder what their marketing department says when you download a half-dozen cd images in a weekend? These fuckwits don't deserve anyone's business.

Re:Cybercomm (1)

bluethundr (562578) | more than 10 years ago | (#9702206)

30 days unlimited/interactive usage

I hate marketing drivel like this. Either offer unlimited downloads, or give it a hard cap that everyone can see. I'm tired of these stupid ambiguities that make it sound as though you can use as much as their service as you want. I wonder what their marketing department says when you download a half-dozen cd images in a weekend? These fuckwits don't deserve anyone's business.


Do me, do yourself and everyone here a favor. Read the paragraph you just wrote. Has it ever occured to you that you might be taking yourself just a leeeetle too seriously? Really, the situation is not as grave as you portray it. Now take a deep breath. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Now, repeat after me "They are just an ISP"..."They are just an ISP"...GOOD!

I agree, it is just some marketing drivel there, but all I did was copy and paste a table from their website so I could save myself some typing. I could see where you might think that I was the one making those claims, but this is not the case.

And as for their marketing department - they ain't got one! At least, not when I was their customer.They were just four dudes who knew Red Hat so well it looked as if they wrote the distro themselves. Obviously, marketing ain't their forte! ;)

Eskimo.com (3, Informative)

vjl (40603) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698540)

Though I no longer use them, I was very happy with Eskimo.com [eskimo.com] . They give discounts if you're only using ssh/telnet to access the shell account, and they have great support. They use Linux and SunOS, though their news server, when I was last there, crashed a lot.

Check out their home page, but I do believe you get full IMAP access as well as compiler access. I remember compiling my own version of Pine as they were a version behind, and all worked just fine.

They're not free, but I think you'll find their rates ok. /vjl/

get your own server (0, Redundant)

uslinux.net (152591) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698568)

you could always put together your own server, buy your own domain, and then stick the box at the end of a friend's DSL line. Or rent colo space.

HP Test Drive (5, Informative)

RupertJ (520598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698598)


HP Test Drive [hp.com]

You sign up for a free account and get NetBSD, Linux, Tru64 and HP-UX accounts on a variety of hardware.

The account itself is not mail enabled, but compilers, ftp, editors - it's all there and anything else you need you could compile and run yourself...

HP-UX software ports and archives here [connect.org.uk] .

Enjoy!

RJ

SDF (5, Informative)

nmnilsson (549442) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698617)

SDF [lonestar.org] (a.k.a. freeshell.org) is good. Large userbase; running since -87. Several access levels are available.
As a serious user, you appreciate some degree of user validation - it means the server won't be full of spammers and script kiddies.

Re:SDF (2, Informative)

consolidatedbord (689996) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699092)

I agree, I started using this before I had my first linux box on the internet around 99. Last I checked (about a year or so ago) they had everything that you had requested, though I can't verify the availability of any compilers.

Re:SDF (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9699529)

I can verify the availability of compilers. It's gcc, on a BSD system. Very nice, I know someone who has been experimenting with some cgi programs there using Thomas Boutell's cgic library.

Re:SDF (1, Informative)

Moderator (189749) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699500)

Yep. You get email (with IMAP access), usenet, irc, AIM, lynx, and a shell. Something like $37 gives you 100Megs of space to work with. They don't ask for much and I think it's more than worth it.

Re:SDF (1)

mr_jim83 (753759) | more than 10 years ago | (#9701676)

Actually, with the ARPA account ($37 one-time fee) you get 100MB for your home directory, 100MB web space, and 100MB email. They also have cool shirts if you want to send them a little more money.

Re:SDF (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 10 years ago | (#9702936)

I thought it was $36, as you didn't have to do the $1 validation dance if you got an ARPA account to begin with. Here's what pre-validated (the 90-day trial) has:
20mb home, 20mb web, 20mb mail
mutt, pop3, imaps, webmail, icq, bboard
games, TOPS-20, mud, gopher & more


user (the $1 account):
Everything pre-validated has, plus:
elm, pine, mailx, rmail, lynx, cgi (limited)
bash, ksh, tcsh, rc, zsh, tclsh
http://yourlogin.freeshell.org
hundreds of shell & network utilities


arpa (the $36 account):
100mb home, 100mb web, 100mb mail
one time $36 initiation fee
all features of the 'users' account
voting rights on system features and policies
private 'arpa' member server
telnet, ssh, ftp, ytalk, irc, snarf
gcc, lisp, perl, php, python, ruby, et cetera
access to additional memberships below


server ($20/mo, must have an arpa account to access):
ability to run a server (mud or bbs)
background process on private server
access to compiler & crontab


Here's what the OP wanted:
Does anyone know any free or low-cost shell accounts that include compilers (ARPA has gcc), IRC (ARPA again), background processes (This one's tricky, as server isn't exactly cheap, but it's the only one that offers bg processes), FTP (see ARPA), a decent editor (I know vi and pico are there, you'll have to check for others) and an email app (preferably pine, since I have a config file already on my IMAP server)? (How's pine, user and up?)"

So, everything he wants, except background processes, is damn cheap, and he can get bg processes easily. It's all run by one guy, smj, but he provides damn quick support. SDF is awesome ;-).

Re:SDF (1)

mr_jim83 (753759) | more than 10 years ago | (#9704104)

You're right, it is $36. It's been a while since I joined. As far as editors are concerned, there's also vim, emacs, and nano. The information about membership levels can be found at http://sdf.lonestar.org/index.cgi?access

I'm going to plug the shirts again because they're pretty cool, and a good way to help out SDF. Buying one might even be tax deductable, but I'm not sure.

Re:SDF (1)

Dante333 (25148) | more than 10 years ago | (#9701185)

SDF is definatley worth the money. The $36 for a lifetime ARPA account is cheap for what you get. In fact sometimes I feel bad, like I am ripping SMJ off.

The only problem I'v hade with it was when NWLink dropped SDF

Re:SDF (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 10 years ago | (#9702952)

Well, buy a couple T-shirts. Or, donate some money - they're a federally recognised non-profit 501(c)(7), so AFAIK it's even tax-deductible (yep, help SMJ out and rip Uncle Sam off - now THAT's the way to do it ;-).

IRC is taboo (1)

freaksta (524994) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698684)

The biggest holdback you will find is IRC. You really cant get an IRC account unless you pay. Too many people ran eggdrop bots, or just pissed someone off and got the server nuked. IRC seems to be 'taboo' in free shell providers.

Friends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9698741)

I'm sure if you dig around you can find some friends who have always-on nix boxes somewhere that you can use. I let my friends use mine. It's handy. You may not get great speeds if it's hosted at their house, but it is probably good enough depending on what you need.

posting anonymously so people won't "try" to "become" my "friend" :)

CSoft! (2, Informative)

LocoBurger (18797) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698832)

I use CSoft for just this. From their website:

CubeSoft Communications is a company from Quebec which produces open-source software, funded by a quality UNIX hosting service, and a dedicated server/co-location service.

They're not free, but their cheapest setup is $5/month for a real shell login, web server access (including tons of interpreters, databases access, etc.), compiler access (they ask you to be reasonable), and just about full reign as a user on a shared UNIX system. They're also quick on service requests and have a great administration tool. From their website:

Look them up at csoft.net [csoft.net] .

Re:CSoft! (1)

frankm_slashdot (614772) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699445)

holy shit, ive never met another csoft user. ive been using them for almost a year and a half now and i'll say that its the best host ive ever had. no complaints at all... well, except for the unresolved IMAP issue (i cant empty folders out of my trash on the OpenBSD shell account due to some courier-imap issue)... which has been unresolved for about 6 months.. but its no biggie... the money spent on them is well worth it.

Re:CSoft! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9700175)

In regards to OBSD/Courier.

http://www.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/cvsweb/ports/mail /c ourier-imap/Makefile?rev=1.37&content-type=text/x- cvsweb-markup

Fixed 4 months ago in ports. I won't mention which shell provider I work for though..

Knoppix (Seriously) (1)

markjugg (21992) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698929)

Although you don't state it explicitly, it's implied that you want a shell account on an internet connected server. This implies that actually connecting to the internet is not a problem.

So why not just have your unix shell account on your desktop machine? If you are not already using Mac or Linux, it's easy to create a dual-boot with the Mandrake install CDs, or have a portable solution with a Knoppix CD [knoppix.net] and a USB stick.

Re:Knoppix (Seriously) (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699190)

Because then he couldn't background an IRC client and DCC bot, or run the auto-mudding script he's planning, or have a coordination point for the new windows worm he's written.

Re:Knoppix (Seriously) (1)

Gudlyf (544445) | more than 10 years ago | (#9701146)

I know that I use an outside shell account to run ping and traceroute tests back to my work systems. It lets me know where hangups are along the path so I have some hard evidence to shove down our IDP's throat. I also do testing with nmap as well.

Sure, I'll give ya one! (4, Funny)

VisorGuy (548245) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698953)

Yeah, you can have one on my syst...

"System halted"

Re:Sure, I'll give ya one! (1)

`Sean (15328) | more than 10 years ago | (#9708732)

+++ATH0 NO CARRIER

I had the same problem (1)

agraupe (769778) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698964)

I was also trying to find a shell account a while back. Then I plugged an old computer into my broadband router, forwarded the SSH port to that box, and voila, a shell account! It may be easier than you think, and you can do whatever you want on it. Having root access and no "terms of service" are worth the extra effort of hosting it myself (which is minimal anyway). If you are worried about your ISPs hosting rules (ie no servers), don't worry about it. It's not like SSH consumes bandwidth, at least if only one person is using it. Good luck!

Shell acounts: memories (1)

MacBrave (247640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9698995)

My first real introduction to the internet and email was thru a unix shell account. It was a company based in Ann Arbor, I think it's name was M-Net or something. Don't even know if it exists anymore.

Used pine, lynx, gopher, etc. all the time. Actually myself and two of my friends 'shared' the account in order to keep the costs down.

M-Net and Grex (1)

jaredmauch (633928) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699347)

Still exist. Try arbornet.org and grex.org/cyberspace.org.. Back "in the day", I ran one of the larger free shell systems out there.. you might have memories of me if you're old skool enough and look at my domain-name.

Re:M-Net and Grex (1)

DA-MAN (17442) | more than 10 years ago | (#9712557)

I still remember nether.net, that's old school man . . .

I once co-admin'd a semi large free shell system (zimcity.net), but it losts its usefullness when the script kiddies and h4x0rs came in.

We eventually firewalled out all outgoing connections not originating from port 22/25/80/110 and blocked all incoming packets not destined for 22/25/80/110 after getting calls from some government sites about unauthorized scans.

After a while, we decided to kill it. It was way more trouble than it was worth.

Re:Shell acounts: memories (1)

$$CALL NOW (777965) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699407)

I think you're referring to arbornet.org [arbornet.org]
I used to have an account with them, but haven't check in a while to see if it's still active... It was free and ran BSD.
From their site:
"M-Net is a public-access UNIX system based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, owned by Arbornet, Inc. which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. M-Net is run entirely by volunteers and funded by various supporters.

We offer over 125 different conference areas, real-time chat rooms, common UNIX utilities such as compilers, E-Mail, a homepage, and WWW access via lynx all for free. Users who want further access to Internet services such as telnet, ftp, and IRC are charged a modest fee, and also get the benefit of becoming an m-net patron or member."

Re:Shell acounts: memories (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 10 years ago | (#9702987)

I remember I was looking for a free shell account, found M-Net, tried it, and it felt like I was connecting over a 28.8K line - when I was on a T1. SDF, OTOH, did more (after $1), and was MUCH faster.

A different question, Dialup Shell Accounts? (1)

Inominate (412637) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699066)

Are there any services left providing dialup shell accounts? Preferably national ISP's, but a local one would suffice.

Re:A different question, Dialup Shell Accounts? (1)

Hes Nikke (237581) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699243)

my ISP, sonic.net [sonic.net] , used to provide this, (10 years ago, when i signed up for non-AOL internet) but i just checked their sales page [sonic.net] and it appears that service is no longer available. (ssh shell access is still available though their dial-up internet service though)

Re:A different question, Dialup Shell Accounts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9699462)

I believe io.com does [io.com] . The free shell account SDF also has a dialup partnership with someone.

Both questions, with one answer -- Speakeasy (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 10 years ago | (#9706150)

Speakeasy offers dialup [speakeasy.net] , and it comes with a shell account.

I have their Sysadmin DSL package [speakeasy.net] , which includes a shell account, dialup and static IPs.

(I've never had reason to use the shell account, as I have plenty of others that I've collected through the years, so I have no idea if they have compilers available, so this may not answer the original question)

Ah, back in the day (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699506)

"Unix shell accounts used to be easy to find..."

My guess as to why they're harder to find now- Lack of demand. Broadband is far more available (or available period) compared to 5 years ago.

As of May of this year 48.61% [websiteoptimization.com] of U.S. homes who regularly use the Internet have broadband.

Why pay another monthly fee when you can just throw up some hardware of your own on your home network that you can use without restriction. (Other than running say a web server on your cable modem, but if you want to SSH home and mucky muck around, no one is stopping you.)

For all the computer nerds without broadband, there are a few providers out there, but don't expect much competition when it comes to pricing/options.

Cheap VPS accounts.. (1)

jvagner (104817) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699634)

..can be had for $5 at reliable hosts. For that, you not only get shell, you also get root.

Speakeasy! (1)

dacarr (562277) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699635)

Speakeasy includes shell accounts on one of their machines as part of the package for a broadband account. Verio, AFAIK, does as well.

Though as another poster mentioned, why not just set up a Linux box and get a shell account on your own workstation?

Re:Speakeasy! (1)

maskedbishounen (772174) | more than 10 years ago | (#9700885)

Last I checked, Speakeasy claims not to allow you to run any background services. I would assume most users would want such processes running to bounce their IRC traffic, rather than ssh'ing in run a text-based client.

Aside from that, I honestly don't see a use for it -- maybe checking your mail from a public terminal? Then again, who doesn't have a Gmail account these days?

I have to agree, though. Adding a (dedicated) SSH box onto your network is the way to go.

Re:Speakeasy! (1)

IvyKing (732111) | more than 10 years ago | (#9702357)

In fact the shell account is included as part of their "OSDN" package - and for the Sysadmin package. Haven't played with it too much. One nice thing about a shell account is being able to test ports on my own machine from the outside - especially nice in the days of dial-up (i.e. before home networking).

Had a lot of experience with the shell account on CTSnet (now parting of Hosting.com - sigh) - allowed for very fast access to their newsserver, mail (my mail account was one the same host as the shell account), etc. During their heyday, CTS was one of the best ISP's around.

Spammers and phishers (4, Informative)

gtrubetskoy (734033) | more than 10 years ago | (#9699863)

Nowadays the only free ones left are either not accepting new accounts, have limited applications

This is only because of spammers and phishers. They have absolutely no shame and will immediately abuse any open access shell acount, and even those that are not free are still not immune.

We have had a hell of a time with people signing up for our service with stolen credit cards, and we ended up just blacklisting big parts of the world and subjecting every new order to a pretty meticulous investigative process prior to turn up.

Free shell with IRC, web hosting, etc. (2, Informative)

pilot1 (610480) | more than 10 years ago | (#9700044)

www.metawire.org
Just saw them the other day, run on OpenBSD boxes.

Re:Free shell with IRC, web hosting, etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9700380)

Metawire has recently gotten a corporate sponsor, Microsoft, who is going to be putting the administration on a paid salary as well as provide hardware, software, and money for bandwidth for us to promote hosting on the superior Microsoft platform. Metawire will be going through a 2 week upgrade to the new server farm, at the end of which we will be transferring all email and webhosting to the new servers. Everyone show your thanks to Microsoft by purchasing some MS software. Microsoft has really helped this community out big time and deserve all your support.

Re:Free shell with IRC, web hosting, etc. (1)

mcovey (794220) | more than 10 years ago | (#9700522)

Actually I signed up for metawire (after I submitted this). I don't care if it's sponsored by Satan himself, it's free and has everything I expected from a professional paid host. And they will continue running OpenBSD, and according to their site, their host is hostdime.com, not microsoft. If "pine" ever gets replaced by "outlook", "irssi" by "mirc" and "links" by "ie", then I'll look elsewhere.

Re:Free shell with IRC, web hosting, etc. (1)

saudadelinux (574392) | more than 10 years ago | (#9701252)

I use metawire to host a small website, 'til I can get DSL and run from home.

So far it's been pretty good, except for the huge hardware crash which kept them offline for quite a while. I couldn't really complain, though, seeing how it's free :)

It used to be kinda slow, but the speed from the new hardware and connection they have will burn your fingertips off!

Re:Free shell with IRC, web hosting, etc. (2, Informative)

RogL (608926) | more than 10 years ago | (#9702687)

The metawire "sponsored by Microsoft" note was an April Fool's joke. The AC who posted it *hopefully* knew that and just wanted to rile folks up.

I signed up for a metawire account myself - so far, all I've used it for is scanning my home connection from a remote site. From home, I can SSH to metawire, check my firewall config by nmap-ing back to my site, etc.

Linode (3, Insightful)

caseih (160668) | more than 10 years ago | (#9700116)

Go to www.linode.com and get yourself a linode machine. Full root access and everything. All for about $20 a month. Good for hosting, backup, and shell stuff.

They're around (1)

ximenes (10) | more than 10 years ago | (#9700215)

I've got a whole lab full of Solaris workstations for X and shell access to students. General usage is low, but there is a core of people who use them every day.

I've been thinking about opening up access beyond Case, but not too hard.

Free Unix Shells (1)

noisecrew (796959) | more than 10 years ago | (#9700261)

AceShells provides free shells with irc access (they're a commercial unix provider so, as always, there's a catch: free account activation is only activated during 3 - 4 PM EST) and passwords must be renewed every two months. cheap alternatives are QuadSpeedi (which i use) unixdemon and AcmeShells ( $1 per process)

No (3, Funny)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 10 years ago | (#9700450)

No, but there are tons of free* Windows accounts for to use. I've heard the figure at millions.

*Cost does not include any lawyer fees or jail time associated with the use of said Windows accounts.

Cheap Shells (1)

zeromemory (742402) | more than 10 years ago | (#9700719)

I know the OP originally asked for a FREE shell account, but there are plenty of low-priced shell accounts out there in the $3+/month range, depending on how many background processes, bandwidth, etc, you need.

A good place to start searching is ShellSearch.com [shellsearch.com] . IIRC, they also have ratings for each shell provider.

Sourceforge? (1)

sbennett (448295) | more than 10 years ago | (#9700735)

If you're a software developer, you can do a lot worse than sourceforge. The shell server doesn't seem to have a compiler, but you can opt-in for Compile Farm access, which should more than satisfy your compilation needs. Pine isn't there, but Mutt is, and i haven't checked IRC.

Dedicated servers taking over. (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 10 years ago | (#9701865)

With dedicated servers starting at $49/mth US (I haven't seen any cheaper yet), considering the benefits they have over shell accounts, it's not surprising that unix shell accounts are losing popularity.

Most dedicated servers these days have over 1TB of bandwidth to boot, even at the 49$ level.

Dedicated servers? (2, Informative)

Nonesuch (90847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9703956)

Not everybody wants to be a sysadmin, one major advantage of just buying shell access is that somebody else does the heavy lifting, the patching, the dealing with DoS and compromise, etc.

With dedicated servers starting at $49/mth US (I haven't seen any cheaper yet), considering the benefits they have over shell accounts, it's not surprising that unix shell accounts are losing popularity.

Most dedicated servers these days have over 1TB of bandwidth to boot, even at the 49$ level.

One terabyte of "bandwidth"?

I'll assume you actually meant 1000 gigabytes per month "transfer limit"?, A bit of back of the envelope calculation suggests that to actual reach that limit would require a sustained bandwidth of 3 megabits.

Do any of the "$49 per month dedicated server" providers actually state any sort of guarantee on how much "bandwidth" (to the "Internet", not just local facility) a customer will have access to?

How many of these hosting companies have more than just a couple of DS3 shared across all of their customers?

Re:Dedicated servers? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 10 years ago | (#9708388)

Yes, sorry, transfer.

The provider I'm with, ServerMatrix, has Celeron 1.7s available for 49$/mth, with 1200GB/mth of transfer.

They have, last I checked, 12 GigE connections, more than just a few DS3s. Those 12 GigE connections are only partially utilized to boot. And none of them are Cogent.

Servers come with 10mbit connections (And there is no problem maxing out that 10mbit, trust me), but if you desperately need it you can get upgraded to a 100mbit card for 10$/mth.

Several other providers also have similar deals, but I've been with ServerMatrix a long time so I have done but minor research into other providers. I understand ServerBeach offers 2000GB/mth for 99$, but I have never used their service. I also understand 1and1 offers no-setup servers for 49$/mth, but those only have 500GB of bandwidth. P4 2.4s though.

Keep in mind that 49$ figure is with a 299$ setup fee... ServerMatrix has a setup pricing structure. For the server I mentioned:

- $49 Monthly / $299 Setup
- $59 Monthly / $199 Setup
- $79 Monthly / $99 Setup
- $99 Monthly / $49 Setup

There are, however, occasional specials for machines, that give you (permanently) the $199 setup level for 0$ setup.

All that said, I agree with you about server management. You can get that for 59$/mth from 1and1, but I'm not so sure I'd want to rely on somebody else to make every single config change to my box. What if some urgent change is needed? Do you simply wait on their techs to do it?

shelil at Super Dimension Fortress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9702740)

Super Dimension Fortress [1] has offered free shell access for 17 years.

It is also 3l33t. But then you should know as much just by its name.

This is where it's at folks.

[1] http://sdf.lonestar.org/

Get out more (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#9703371)

A AC posted more or less this, but my +2 bonus make this easier to find...

Do you have any friends? A local linux (or BSD) computer club? Start asking the geeks you know. I personally would be happy to give friends a shell account on my personal machine. I don't have much disk space or CPU power, but it is always on, and I have a static IP.

I'm not going to do this for someone who doesn't talk to me in person though. I want a personal promise that you won't abuse the account. That is you will keep your password safe, won't spam, won't try to crack root, or any of the other evil things that could be done. Oh, and I want to make sure I won't have to support you, I've got better things to do with my life than upgrade gcc just because 3.4 is out and 3.3 is soo outdated... (though if you ask nicely I might do it)

I Love Google (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9704489)

A quick search turned up something that might be of interest: free shell accounts [ductape.net]

Metawire (1)

mrpuffypants (444598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9705133)

I'm amazed that nobody's mentioned MetaWire [metawire.org] yet. They're an all-around great shell/web provider with good policies and nice systems.

I found out about them from an older post on /. and signed up for an account. Sometimes its great to have a shell on a 3rd party system for those times that one of your boxes decides to stop working and you need to troubleshoot.

Microsoft is taking over. (0, Offtopic)

The Foo (794948) | more than 10 years ago | (#9713409)

You will all be running Windows ME soon........... There will be no more Unix.....
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