Computer Use


This policy governs use of computers and related equipment operated by the Department of Computer Sciences of The University of Texas at Austin. Each computer user is a member of a community; the purpose of this policy is to maximize the value of our resources to that community. The intent of the policy is to permit maximum freedom of use consistent with State Law, University policy, and a productive working environment. The policy applies to all those who use CS computers. Depending on the seriousness of an offense, violation of the policy can result in penalties ranging from reprimand to loss of account to referral to University authorities for disciplinary action.

State Law and University Policy

Use of CS computers must comply with Texas law and University policies. Therefore, CS computers may not be used for commercial or profit-making purposes (except for the production of drafts of scholarly texts), for political purposes, or for personal benefit where such use incurs a cost to the Department and is not academically related.

State law prohibits unauthorized access to computer systems. Access of or attempts to access another person's directory, files, or mail, whether protected or not, without permission of the owner is prohibited. Attempts to access unauthorized machines via the computer network, to decrypt encrypted materials, or to obtain privileges to which the user is not entitled are prohibited. The University has licensed software that is available on CS computer systems; removal or transfer of such software without authorization is prohibited.

User acknowledgment of this policy statement authorizes CS computer systems staff to examine the user's files if required as part of their official duties.

Sharing of a computer account with other persons is prohibited; each user must have an individual account. Passwords must be protected, and the user should not leave a machine logged on when the user is not present unless the machine is in a secure area, such as a private office.

Actions that compromise the security of the system as a whole can be seriously detrimental to the system and to other users; the staff will take any necessary steps to correct security problems created by the user's action, and will notify the user of the problem. Conduct that intentionally or negligently interferes with the security of the system as a whole is prohibited.

Working Environment

Users of CS machines should conduct themselves in a manner that promotes a productive working environment. Conduct that creates a disturbance to other users is prohibited; this includes making noise, taking food into the computer labs, and printing or displaying materials that are unsuitable for public display. Conduct that intentionally or negligently interferes with the proper operation of the system or its use by others is prohibited.

Users of electronic mail should avoid sending messages that are libelous, patently offensive, or that intimidate, threaten, demean, or harass individuals or groups, or that would otherwise bring discredit to the University or the Department. Changing a mail header with the intent of hiding or misrepresenting the author of a mail message is not allowed. Using departmental resources to harass individuals or groups in any fashion is absolutely prohibited.

Use of Resources

Users of CS computers should not consume unreasonable amounts of limited resources. Resources that are in limited supply include printing, disk space and, in some cases, machine access itself. Printing should be used only when necessary; it should not be used for multiple copies. Picture files or other large files should not be stored on disk unless they are academically relevant. Playing of games and other non-academic activities should be restricted to periods of off-peak usage. The Department may impose restrictions or limits on use of resources.

Section 4.08(b) of the UNIX Operating System software license agreement between the University of Texas at Austin (Licensee) and American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) requires those permitted to use the LICENSED SOFTWARE to be notified of section 4.08(a):

4.08(a) LICENSEE agrees that it shall hold the LICENSED SOFTWARE in confidence for AT&T and its associated companies. LICENSEE further agrees that it shall not make any disclosure of the LICENSED SOFTWARE (including methods or concepts utilized therein) to anyone, except students and faculty members of LICENSEE to whom such disclosure is necessary to the use for which rights are granted hereunder.

The license agreements between The University of Texas at Austin (LICENSEE) and The Regents of the University of California (Berkeley) (LICENSOR) regarding the "Fourth Berkeley Software Distribution" and Carnegie Mellon University (LICENSOR) regarding "CMU Mach Software Release 2" have similar provisions.


I, the undersigned, agree to use the UNIX Operating System for official University business only and to protect the confidentiality of the source and object code in accordance with the terms of the UNIX software license agreements with AT&T, Berkeley, SUN Microsystems, Carnegie Mellon University and any other vendor granting a license to the university. I agree not to disclose or allow to be disclosed to any third party nor to copy or allow to be copied, any UNIX source or object code, except for my own use in understanding the UNIX operating system or to modify for research purposes. I also agree to maintain records of all such copies made, to make these records available to LICENSEE upon request, and to surrender any copies of UNIX source or object code to the LICENSEE when no longer required for my use at this site.