Software for SFU Researchers — RCG Handbook

Software for SFU Researchers

SFU has a wide range of licensed software packages available through SFU IT Services.


Software for Research Network Workstations

MATLAB and Maple

If you want to do serious numerical computations in any scientific or technical field, you probably want to use MATLAB.

If you want to do pure mathematics or symbolic manipulation, or just want to explore the beauty of math for pedagogical purposes, you probably want to use Maple.

Environment Modules

For software not installed on your Linux workstation, you can quickly load and run popular software from our collection of environment modules.


The Research Computing Group makes a centrally maintained and configured version of TeX Live available on most of its managed Linux computers. TeX Live is a free software distribution of TeX, LaTeX, Metafont, and their associated programs (amstex, bibtex, dvips, latex, mf, pdflatex, pdftex, tex, xdvi, etc.), as well as various macro packages and fonts.

For more details, see TeX, LaTeX, Metafont, and friends.

Compiling Esoteric Software

Contact us with your software request. Be sure to include a URL where we can find the software’s source code.

SFU Vault (Retiring Early 2023)


SFU Vault will be replaced in early 2023. Please move your files to Microsoft OneDrive at your earliest convenience.

On RCG Linux workstations, choose Applications => Accessories => ownCloud Desktop Sync Client. Enter when prompted for a server address.

There is also a command-line client. To use it in the same directory the graphical client uses:

mkdir ~/ownCloud
owncloudcmd --user mysfuid ~/ownCloud

Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft OneDrive is a file hosting and synchronization service for individuals at SFU. OneDrive is available to all current SFU faculty, staff and students with a Microsoft 365 account.

You can access OneDrive on Linux hosts via any web browser.

Advanced users may be interested in the command line client (onedrive) already installed on most RCG Ubuntu workstations.

Further Reading: SFU IT Services OneDrive FAQs


You are free to install Dropbox on your own workstation. No root privileges are required. Instructions: Dropbox Headless Install via command line

Dropbox is not installed by default because:

Services like Dropbox make it easy to access the same files from anywhere, but they are not “enterprise grade” as they cannot be provisioned by SFU administrators, governed by SFU policies, or be integrated with SFU resources like your SFU Computing ID to enforce security and privacy.

Source: Cloud Computing FAQ, SFU IT Services

Sublime Text

Sublime Text requires a license for continued use. If you have purchased a license, you can download and run it from your home directory without sudo privileges.

Free alternatives already installed on our Ubuntu workstations include vim, emacs, Atom, PyCharm, VSCode, and pluma (formerly known as gedit).

Flash and Adobe Reader on Linux

Adobe ceased all Linux development in 2014.

We cannot provide newer versions of Flash on Linux.

Adobe Reader works on CentOS 6 but fails on Ubuntu 16.04 due to SSSD, which we use to provide integration with campus Active Directory.

Please use one of the newer, more up-to-date PDF viewers already installed on your Ubuntu system:

If you absolutely must have access to Adobe Reader, use X forwarding to run it from another CentOS 6 host in your lab.