If some of this seems like techno-jargon to you, don’t worry. We’ll sort it all out on the first day :)
PuTTY for Windows Users
The official PuTTY downloads can be a little hard to find. I’ve included the official link here. PuTTY is a tool that will let you connect to unix machines like the EdLab from Windows.
When I worked with Windows and multiple unix machines, I found PenguiNet to be more fun, but it costs some money (15 GBP). I’d start with PuTTY and try their 30-day trial at some point to see if it makes a difference to you.
iTerm2 for Mac OSX
Mac users have a SSH-compatible terminal emulator installed by default:
Terminal.app (search for it with spotlight if you’re not sure, usually in
/Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app), but a lot of users prefer iTerm 2 which is free under the GPLv2.
A very popular flavor of the GNU/Linux which even has a UMass-branded version. I’d actually recommend the official “long-term-service” or LTS version from the ubuntu download site. You might be able to download it faster for Assignment 3 if you grab it from the local CS mirror.