- 1 Open OnDemand
- 2 GUI2
- 3 Hardware Accelerated GUI
- 4 GUI1
- 5 Connect From a Client Computer
Here you will find the information necessary to configure and run graphical user interface (GUI) applications on HiPerGator. The process is not complicated, but running a GUI on a remote server and displaying the windows on your local client computer with a sufficiently responsive interface is not as easy as simply running the application locally. To accomplish this task we use Xpra software - an open-source multi-platform persistent remote display server and client for forwarding application and desktop screens. Full information on Xpra can be found in its basic usage documentation and the Xpra manual. Below we show the parts of Xpra documentation relevant to running GUI Programs on HiPerGator.
We are testing an Open OnDemand setup to provide a web-only interface to starting and attaching to GUI programs and Virtual Machines with seamless connections through web browsers. This service is now in Beta and is available at the following URL:
To provide feedback, please open a support request with [OnDemand Feedback] in the subject. Please note:
Ondemand is currently a Beta service. Users are welcome to test the service and submit support requests with feedback. However, no SLA is guaranteed and all features should be considered experimental.
This is the second iteration of the UFRC approach to starting GUI programs in SLURM jobs on HiPerGator and attaching to them over any modern web browser.
Start GUI Session
- Log into HiPerGator
- Load the environment module
$ module load gui/2
- Start a GUI session
- Example: RStudio with 2 cpus, 8gb of memory, 24 hours of run time
$ gui start -e rstudio -c 2 -m 8 -t 24
- Example: Matlab with default resources (1 cpu, 4gb memory, 2 hours of run time)
$ gui start -e matlab
gui start -h to see all available options.
Show Running GUI Sessions
Note: Give the session from few seconds to a couple of minutes to start if the output is empty.
$ gui show
The output will look similar to the following e.g. with four active sessions and real passwords listed instead of 'REDACTED' in the example:
Current GUI sessions: ______________________________________________________________________________ #: JobID Application Type State Reason 1: 38005270 rstudio gui RUNNING 2: 38005271 rstudio gui RUNNING 3: 38005272 rstudio gui RUNNING 4: 38005355 matlab gui RUNNING ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Connection URLs: 1: https://gui3.rc.ufl.edu/4207/?password=REDACTED 2: https://gui3.rc.ufl.edu/5713/?password=REDACTED 3: https://gui5.rc.ufl.edu/12474/?password=REDACTED 4: https://gui5.rc.ufl.edu/4078/?password=REDACTED ______________________________________________________________________________ Please copy a connection URL and paste it into a modern web browser's location bar on your LOCAL computer located on campus or connected via VPN
Connect To a GUI Session
- Attach to a session
Copy and paste a session URI into a modern browser (tested on Firefox and Chrome/Chromium) e.g.
As a result the browser tab becomes a 'desktop canvas' and the GUI program window should be visible and can be resized or maximized to the limits of the browser tab window as normal.
Stop a GUI Session
To stop a session either close the application, which will cause the SLURM job to automatically terminate, or cancel the session on the command-line with
gui stop SESSION_ID
$ gui stop 3 Current GUI sessions: ______________________________________________________________________________ #: JobID Application Type State Reason 1: 38005270 rstudio gui RUNNING 2: 38005271 rstudio gui RUNNING 3: 38005272 rstudio gui COMPLETING Stopping session and cleaning up ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Connection URLs: 1: https://gui3.rc.ufl.edu/4207/?password=REDACTED 2: https://gui3.rc.ufl.edu/5713/?password=REDACTED ______________________________________________________________________________ Please copy a connection URL and paste it into a modern web browser's location bar on your LOCAL computer located on campus or connected via VPN
This is all it should take to use the 2nd generation setup.
Hardware Accelerated GUI
This is a service to provide hardware acceleration for OpenGL applications needing 3D acceleration on HPG. Please see the following page for more information:
This is a classic client/server approach where a gui program is started in a SLURM job on HiPerGator and is wrapped in Xpra server. Once started the session can be attached from a remote (local) computer using the xpra client software.
Install Xpra Software on the Client Computer
Since Xpra is required on both ends of the connection you will have to have it installed on your local computer. Xpra client installation depends on the operating system running on your local machine and may require assistance of a system administrator if you do not have the authority to install new software. Once Xpra is installed on your client computer feel free to skip this step. Installation instructions are specific to the operating system running on your local computer:
Start a GUI Session on HiPerGator
- The launch_gui_session script described in the sections below takes a number of arguments allowing specification of the number of cpu cores, memory, time limit, and more. Please run
module load gui launch_gui_session -h
to see all available arguments.
Single command, no job script
There are two classes of applications that can be started with just one command from the gui environment module and do not require you to provide a job script.
Provided job script
If you need to pass custom arguments to the application, load pre-requisite environment modules or run additional commands, you can provide a simple script (linux format text file) with the required commands as an argument to launch_gui_session.
Make sure to prepend the command that starts the program with xpra_start. For example, a following job script named my_molden.sh will use the molden/5.0 environment module and start molden with a particular model file:
module load molden/5.0 xpra_start 'molden /ufrc/data/tests/molden/boc-iso-1t.gjf'
Now, to launch molden with the above script run:
launch_gui_session -e molden -f my_molden.sh
If you prefer to talk directly to SLURM you can write a full job script complete with resource requirements, job name, output file, etc in the #SBATCH section and submit the script to SLURM manually.
Make sure you use the gui partition:
and wrap your command with xpra_start as shown above.
You can use a job script for one of the application presets found in the '$HPC_GUI_JOB' directory once the 'gui' environment module is loaded as the base of your own job script.
List GUI Sessions
If you performed a manual launch or used the '-w' argument to the automated launcher command you'll have to manually check on your gui job. Check the job status with 'squeue -u $USER'. When the job starts you have to list the available xpra sessions using xpra_list_sessions command in the gui module. This command will refresh the Xpra session list and provide a convenient list of live Xpra sessions as well as client commands that can be copied and pasted into a terminal on the client machine.
$ module load gui $ xpra_list_sessions
Refreshing Xpra session list for jdoe. This could take a while..... List of active Xpra sessions for jdoe: Session: i21a-s33.rc.ufl.edu:9626 for RStudio job 2852284 Copy this command to a terminal on your LOCAL PC: xpra attach ssh:email@example.com:9626
See the respective application pages for details and sample job scripts.
Connect From a Client Computer
Servers in the SLURM gui partition are accessible only within the UF campus network.
Connecting from Linux
Connecting from MacOS X
Connecting from Microsoft Windows
Special cases (GUI scaling, font issues, etc)
See the Special Cases page for GUI Programs if you run a program or a local system that requires special care compared to the normal usage. Some examples of special cases include desktop scaling and DPI issues.