Use of the term
In gamer slang, the term often refers mainly to the ability to make a IRC - Bouncer or a bot , such as Eggdrop to perform. Actually, however, it describes any remote access to a shell, for example to a rented server or to a private PC. In particular, the administration of larger computer networks usually takes place in this way, provided the computers involved are operated with a suitable operating system. Since this ability is a matter of course for the users of an operating system that supports operation via shell and this option is usually available to every user account on such a system, the term shell account is mainly used outside this group of users, for example by users who only need shell access to another computer for very few tasks.
Operating systems with shell support
The following operating systems support the operation of the computer from a remote location via a shell. The list does not claim to be complete; the entries are exemplary.
- Traditional multi-user operating systems such as Unix and its modern derivatives, such as Solaris
- Any modern Unixoid operating system such as GNU / Linux , macOS and other members of the BSD family
- Windows using Cygwin
On the server side , an SSH implementation is mainly used today. The encrypted SSH protocol has replaced older protocols such as RSH . In contrast, Telnet is still used in rare cases today . This is also an unencrypted connection, but with authentication based on a user account. However, with the advent of encrypted protocols due to increased data security awareness among users, these protocols are generally perceived as insecure. SSH also offers convenience features that the other protocols lack, such as the option of authentication using a key, which means that manual password entry is no longer necessary. Both server-side and client- side software for all of these protocols is usually available under Unix-like operating systems. A free SSH implementation is, for example, OpenSSH .
On the client side, there is also special software that is integrated into the graphical interfaces commonly used today. An example of such client software is PuTTY , which is available free of charge for many common operating systems.
The shell accounts coveted by gamers for the purpose of operating a bouncer or egg drop are usually offered commercially on the basis of Linux . One reason for this could be the widespread use of this operating system, which means that the most important necessary software is also available.
There are other niches outside of the gamer scene. Scientifically oriented offers such as the Sun Grid from the American IT company Sun Microsystems , however, often do without direct shell access, as the architecture used is not always suitable for this.
Non-commercial shell accounts
Most universities and many colleges give shell accounts to enrolled students. Other providers usually attach strict conditions to the allocation of accounts. For example, the SourceForge project grants shell access to servers and a compile farm to registered project developers. The Wikimedia Foundation , which operates Wikipedia, grants access to developers of tools for use with Wikimedia projects.