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Frequently Asked Questions

if you have any questions, that are not answered here, have a look at our support wiki or write an email to zedv@physik.fu-berlin.de.

General Questions

Most information can be found in our wiki. For anything else you can write a mail to zedv@physik.fu-berlin.de or any one of our more specialised lists or give us a call.

We offer Linux and Windows desktops (in the theory and experimental groups respectively), data storage, a HPC-Cluster, Gitlab server, calendar, Jupyterhub, Matrix, Jitsi and much more. If you think that something is missing, we are always looking forward to suggestions.

New machines are installed by us and then handed to the groups. For machines that we cannot install, e.g. because they have been delivered by the maker of an instrument, you need to tell us their MAC address and hostname.

Machines can be hooked into any network port, but will usually only work, after we switch the port to the correct network, because Linux, Windows and Laboratory machines are on different networks. To do this we need the network socket's identifier, which you can read off of the socket. The identifiers have the form 1.2.34/1-1, where everything before the slash is the room number, the number directly after the slash is the number of the network socket and the last number is the number of the port. The port number will be 1 or 2 and, if it is not labeled, 1 is left. If the socket number is missing, which can be the case for older sockets, it will be 1 as well.

A list of software the department has licenses for can be found in the Wiki.

The computer pools are in 1.3.01 and 1.3.50 (wing 3, first floor, directly opposite to each other).

First of all, you should never reply to suspicious emails, click on links contained in such mails or open its attachments. Be careful with mails that you do not expect, that comes from people you have never had contact with or that are unusual for the sender. If in doubt, just ask us.

Emails can be very falsified very easily, since they are little more than text files in a certain format, that are exchanged between mail servers. A lot of servers are therefore extremely liberal in what they accept in their From header

Current malware can produce extraordinarily genuine looking phishing mails, but recently we had cases of easily-noticeable forgeries, notable for inconsistent names and addresses (John Doe <tom.smith@example.com>), usage of non-departmental mail addresses, linguistic mistakes and their content.

If you suspect to have received such mail, please send it to cybermobbing@physik.fu-berlin.de by first saving the mail (usually right click on the mail and Save as) and attaching it to your mail.


You need a ZEDAT account to log into the machines at the department. Once you have your account it needs to be whitelisted for usage at the physics department. This happens automatically for students, for new employees we need a note from your group (the group leader, IT coordinator or secretary).

ZEDAT deletes accounts shortly after people leave FU. If you have ongoing projects that make it necessary for you to keep your account with us, your account can be converted into a project account for the duration of the project. Talk to your group leader and us about converting your account in time.

Linux / HPC

There are multiple places where you can store files. There is your home directory, /home/<username>, and "storage", available at /net/storage/<username>, where <username> is your username.

The quota for home is 2GB for students and 20GB for everyone else. Storage has a quota of 100GB for students and 500GB for everyone else.

The quota for the home directories is so small, because it is backed entirely by fast solid state drives whereas storage is backed by convential rotating rust. Just symlink directories in storage to your home if you need to access them more often.

Group members can also put data into grouphome /net/grouphome/<groupname>. This is meant for data that is relevant to the whole group, in contrast to the former places that are meant for personal data.

Usually, the reason is that you are over quota (you are using to much storage). The command  quota -s can tell you if that is the case. The quota for /home is 2GB for students and 20GB for group members.  The solution is to simply delete no longer needed files or move them to  /net/storage/<username>.

Some FU forms (e.g. travel reimbursement and holiday forms) are PDFs using so-called XFA forms that are solely supported by Adobe Reader. Since Version 9 Adobe does not support running Adobe Reader in Linux environments. To allow filling out these forms we support the current Adobe Reader with Wine. You can start Adobe Reader using the acroread binary.

We install a lot of packages by default, probably the package is already installed. If not and the software is packaged for Debian, its sufficient to write an email to linux@physik.fu-berlin.de with the package's name. You're also free to compile things to your hearts content in your home and the package managers of the usual programming languages have options to install packages to your home  (e.g. pip3 install --user).

Yes! Please find the information in our Wiki.

With bookworm Debian started to follow PEP 668 and mark their Python installation as externally managed. This makes pip refuse to install packages so as to not damage this isntallation. This is not a danger for us, since users cannot write to system directories anyway, but this is leads to pip refusing to install to the home directory via python -m pip install --user.

We recommend to use virtual environments to resolve this issue, i.e. for each for your Python projects

python -m venv myenv

source myenv/bin/activate

python -m pip install pkg1 pkg2 ...

or use tools such as pdm or poetry in alternative to pip. To install these and other tools, that should stand on their own and that you just want to use, we recommend pipx, which is installed by default on all Linux machines starting with bookworm.

For those that don't want to use virtual environments there is the pip option --break-system-packages, which you can also add to your pip config. We explicitly recommend against doing either, though.


There are multiple places where you can store files. There are your Profile (e.g. Desktop, Downloads, Documents,...), your home directory, H:, and ("storage") S:.

The quota for the Profile is 3GB for everybody. The quota for home is 2GB for students and 20GB for everyone else. Storage has a quota of 100GB for students and 500GB for everyone else.

The quota for the Profile is so small, because the profile is synced to every machine you log into and back to the profile server once you log out. This low maximum size makes sure, that you can log into and out off machines without having to get a coffee each time.

Group members can also put data into grouphome ("grouphome")V:. This is meant for data that is relevant to the whole group, in contrast to the former places that are meant for personal data.

We don't support remote access to desktop machines, but we have a terminal server for this case. To request access write an email to win@physik.fu-berlin.de

Please write an email to win@physik.fu-berlin.de. We have already packaged most usualy software and it's enough to write an email and we will make the software available for you in the software center. In the case of unsualy software we will install it via remote support or come to your desktop.

This means that you have exceeded your profile's quota of 3GB and that the profile can no longer be synced with the profile server. Your data is still accessibly locally on the machine, but only there.

To resolve the problem you should move some data to a network share, e.g. ("storage") S:.

This problem can be avoided by not storing large amount of data on your Desktop or in folders like Dokumente, Downloads,..., but instead on S: or H:.


There are a lot of printers in the department and many groups have multiple printers, so it's a good idea to ask on which printers to print. The printers in the student computer pools are physik01 (bw), physik02 (bw) und physikcol02 (colour) and need a ZEDAT print account with credit, which can be charged via a terminal in the computer pools.

You can print on the new centrally managed printers via the followme queue. You can than collect your printer at any centrally managed printer after logging in with your ZEDAT account. To make that easier you can activate your door token for authentication at the printers at the Feinwerktechnik.

Documentation on using our printers with your own computers can be found in our Wiki.

Posters can be printer at the ZEDAT.

Once an older printer, not belonging to the central FollowMe pool, no longer works, it will not be replaced.

If one of the Ricoh FollowMe printers does not work, you can report this to Ricoh telephonically. The phone number as well as all necessary information (e.g. the ID of the printer) can be found on each printer.

To print from your own machine on the central FollowMe printers add


as an IPP printer (only reachable from the university networks).

For further information consult this page (Windows) and this page (Mac OS, Linux, Windows) by ZEDAT. This documentation is only available in German, but the latter links are illustrated and you should be able to follow along even without knowing any German, but we also have a version on our Wiki: MacOS, Linux.


No, we don't offer our own mail services, email is handled by ZEDAT. However, every user at the physics departments gets an email address of the form <username>@physik.fu-berlin.de, that is forwarded to the ZEDAT address. Furthermore we offer several mailing lists.

There are several mailing lists at the physics department. The most important ones are:

All lists are moderated. Please write your mails to the narrowest possible circle of recipients as the lists are extremely large. The all list should be used as rarely as possible. Mails with attachments larger than 500kB will be rejected outright.

The studies list is the right list for announcements about available master thesis topics and PhD positions.

Also, every group has their own group mailing list <groupname>@physik.fu-berlin.de.

As long as you are a student at the Physics department, you will be automatically subscribed to the studies mailinglist. Along important mails from the department, e.g. about teaching, this list also receives announcements on events for students and requests (job offers, survey participation).

If you have left the department and no longer wish to receive these mails, you ask for your Physics account to be deleted by writing a mail to zedv@physik.fu-berlin.de from your ZEDAT address. This will also lead to your removal from the studies mailinglist. Unfortunately, we are not informed about such changes automatically, so that we normally only delete accounts when the accompanying ZEDAT account is deleted.

Matrix (chat platform)

Just go to meet.physik.fu-berlin.de and log in. You can find our documentation here.

The login at meet.physik.fu-berlin.de is simply your ZEDAT username and password, but a Physics account is a requirement. If you don't have one, write an email to zedv@physik.fu-berlin.de with either your collaborator or the lecturer of the course, for which you need access, in the CC.


Since version 13.0 Gitlab has started to warn users about logins from unknown locations via mail. Most users don't notice this, because they never log out, but users who regularly sign out might find these mails unsettling, since IP addresses on home lines change daily which is why these mails might occur on every login.

If the IP address of the login is the one of your line (which you can check for example on the config page of your router) there is nothing to worry about.

The issue was resolved for Gitlab 13.3. Please let us know, if you continue to get this warning.


You can request access to the CMS online. Simply choose the path of the website you need to access or write it into the note if it doesn't exist yet.

You can find documentation on the CMS at CEDIS (unfortunately only in German). It also helps to look at the other pages of the Physics deparment. The ag-beispiel page has a couple of examples.