Some of the programs on our system can be started using the menu (e.g. right click on the background on an NCD terminal). You can also run all of these programs from a terminal by typing their name and hitting enter. If you run a program which opens a window of its own from the command line, you can add an ampersand, "&", at the end of the command to let you continue using the original window. If you need more information about a command, you can type
xman to find out all you want to know (and
then some) about a command. If you don't know the exact name of
the command you want, try typing
man -k keyword
which will produce a listing of relevant commands.
Text editors (relatives of word processors) are essential to many tasks. Correspondingly, there are many editors to choose from. Virtually all text editors are are started by typing
The four most common text editors, ordered from easiest to hardest are: textedit (only on NCDs), pico, emacs and vi.
is somewhat friendlier than vi and on theory you can run
xemacs which provides a front end to emacs designed
to look as much like MS Word as possible. Emacs has a tutorial
which you can access by typing
is extremely powerful; there are very few imaginable text manipulations
which are not built into the program, but it takes years to learn
about them all. The tutorial covers all the basics you are likely
to need on a regular basis (and then some.) If you program, you
will find emacs' built-in modes (which understand about indenting,
bracketing, etc.) very nice.
pico is very similar to emacs, but much simpler
and with a cheat sheet of available commands on the bottom of
the screen. It is used by the Pine mail program, but can be run
on its own.
textedit are editors with
simple X-windows interfaces. Textedit has a problem that it doesn't
insert new line characters into your text, so things won't print
or email nicely as is. The best way to fix this is to run
filename on your file when you are done writing.
This produces a new file named
which is properly formatted.
You will probably want to use LaTeX to write papers. The procedure
should be the same on our system as on any other. Use the text
editor of your choice to create the tex file, then type
filename to produce a dvi file (might have to
run it twice sometimes). You can view the result on screen using
xdvi filename or produce a Postscript
file suitable for printing using
In all cases, you should not need to include the
.dvi suffixes; The programs are smart enough to
figure it out.
E-mail is one of the applications which was responsible for popularizing the Internet. By now it has largely supplanted traditional ("snail") mail for personal and business correspondence.
mail recipient < file
pine is probably the most popular mail program
in use on Unix systems. It is user-friendly and has gotten considerably
faster and more powerful than it once was. Pine still does not
support filtering or preprocessing and requires you to use pico
rather than letting you choose your favorite text editor. For
most users, however, this is not a big deal.
mailtool is a simple mail program for X-windows.
If you are using the system default settings, it will start up
automatically when you start an X-session. You should consider
this a historical accident rather than an endorsement by the current
sysadmin. Its user interface is in the worst style of X-applications
- confusing, unintuitive and undocumented. It forces you to use
an editor which is marginally acceptable at best and has no capabilities
for preprocessing or filtering of mail. You can keep it from starting
every time you log in by removing the line which does so from
Two other powerful but more difficult alternatives are emacs or mh, the later of which is really a set of programs (such as inc) that allow you to deal with mail.
Finally, it is also possible to read your email using Netscape Communicator. This makes it difficult to view your email remotely (i.e. from home, or on a trip), but it has the same interface that many people are accustomed to on Windows. To set it up the first time, you should enter The edit menu and select preferences. Then go to the mail setup, removed all the defined mail servers, and just add one that uses movemail.
ssh is installed on our system. Use it. SSH provides
secure connections and supersedes telnet, rlogin and rsh. Since
using any of those commands will start ssh anyway, you might as
well get in the habit of typing
netscape is the only web browser currently installed
on our system.
You can start Netscape from the Applications
menu. Please contact the sysadmin if you are interested in setting
up your own personal homepage.
sftp are used to transfer files
between computers. See the remote access help page for more details.
are all available on theory. While Mathematica is the most popular
of the three, they all have their adherents. You can run Mathematica
in a terminal window (useful if you are logged in remotely with
a slow connection) by typing
math. Some of the packages
installed on our system include FeynCalc for Mathematica.
You can also write your own C, C++ or Fortran programs. This
may be useful for heavy numerical work. The
compilers are all available.
In any case, you should avoid running numerical calculations
that require more than a day or two to complete, both out of courtesy
for other users and to alleviate the risk of losing your work
in the event of a crash. There are techniques for breaking long
numerical computations up into sensibly sized pieces which you
should use. Always
nice long calculations.
You can view Postscript files (such as those downloaded from
Los Alamos) using
Ghostview can also be started from the menu.
Star Office (
soffice) is a collection of programs
similar to the MS Office suite. Before running it for the first
time, you must do a personal installation of certain files into
your home directory by running
You will need our campus key number - see the sysadmin.
The Calendar Manager (
cm) is an appointment scheduling
The File Manager (
filemgr) provides a graphical
display of the file system, similar to that on a Mac or PC. If
you double-click on a file, it is opened in the appropriate program.
Try to avoid leaving File Manager running when you don't need
it as it uses a lot of memory.
On the NCDs, your menu has an "Extras" submenu with starts out empty. You can put whatever you want in it by adding the line
setenv OLWMMENU2 filename
.cshrc file in your home directory, where
filename contains your personalized menu.
You should follow the format in the file