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UFS (UNIX File System) and NFS (Network File System) are two common filesystems in the Athena environment.

UFS is the standard local filesystem for machines running UNIX, including Athena workstations. You will not normally have permissions to change or create any files on the local drives of Athena workstations, except in temporary directories, /tmp and /usr/tmp.

NFS is a distributed filesystem. Its files are stored on fileservers; in order to access a locker of files, you have to mount it to your computer. On Athena, all you have to do to mount a locker is type attach lockername. For example, if you wanted to attach the bitbucket locker, you would type:

athena% attach bitbucket 

And Athena would respond with something like this:

attach: filesystem bitbucket (JASON.MIT.EDU:/u1/bitbucket) mounted
  on /mit/bitbucket (read-write)

Now, you can access the files in the directory /mit/bitbucket; the computer will contact the fileserver where the locker bitbucket is stored whenever it needs to read or write something. You can find a more detailed description of the attach command in the manual page for that command.

Except for mounting (which is needed in NFS), UFS and NFS are very similar to work with.