MSSL Basic User Note #12:

Frequently asked questions

Philip Smith 20/06/97 V0.2 (beta)

This document:
What are all the startup files?
.cshrc is the startup script for csh (the C shell) and tcsh (an improved version). This gets run frequently when logging in or when a csh or tcsh starts (which is much more often than just logging in).
Typical things to go in .cshrc are the path, aliases and variables (setf and setenv).
.login is run during login (i.e. once). Typical entries are things like calendar and other reminder programs, biff, messages.
.profile is like .login but for the Bourne Shell (sh) and clones.
/etc/csh.cshrc is like the .cshrc for everyone (gets run before your personal one)
/etc/csh.login is like the .login for everyone (gets run before your personal one)
/etc/profile is like the .profile for everyone (gets run before your personal one)

How do I get VMS-like keys for editing with EDT?
See the fvwm BUN

Why can't I make a window active?
There is a probable fvwm bug which causes fvwm focus to go wrong. Just restart fvwm.

How do I stop my window manager from flipping to another part of the virtual desktop when I move the mouse off the edge of the screen?
Find the the "Edgescroll" line in your ~/.fvwmrc file and change the "100 100" after it to "0 0".

How do I copy stuff onto floppy?
See the ftp BUN

Why does the screen flash when I use X-Windows?
See the fvwm BUN

My mouse is too fast
See the fvwm BUN

My Makefile doesn't work?
Remember to use TABs and don't use tildes (~) in paths
And don't put backslashes at the end of comment lines because this will continue them onto the next line.
Make sure you are running the proper makefile. make first searches for makefile in the current directory then Makefile - but check with man make. Use gnu make if possible (this is the default on Linux).

How do I make TAB in tcsh complete whole filenames instead of completing as much as possible?
Put the line
       bindkey "\t" complete-word-fwd
in your ~/.cshrc file

How do I make xhost permanent?
See the fvwm BUN

The mouse isn't working
Check the switch on the bottom of the mouse. For X-Windoes it should be set to `3'. For some SVGA programs it may need to be set to `2'. Check the mouse is plugged in.

How do I ftp something?
Read the BUN about Transferring files.

I've got an encoded mail message. What do I do with it?
If it has a `begin' and an `end' and `M's up the left hand side it is uuencoded so extract it and use uuencode file.
If it has `PGP' at the top use PGP (man PGP for help or see http://msslag/localhelp/pgp).
If it is more messy it is probably base64 encoded so extract it and use base64_decode < file_in > file_out

How do I find something on the Net?
Try nngrab subject to search netnews; use Lycos on the WWW and use archie file (a Unix command) to search for a file or package.

My file didn't ftp properly. Why? My file is a few bytes too large or small. Why?
You probably transferred it as ascii instead of binary.
ascii binary
text files compressed files (.zip .gz .tgz .arc .Z .z)
postscript (.ps) executables
uuencoded (.uue) images (.gif .jpeg .tif .pic .bmp)

Some commands don't have man pages
The commands built into the shell (normally tcsh) don't have their own man pages - you have to read the man page for the shell. So if you want help on the setenv command of the tcsh shell you have to do
	man tcsh
How do I unset a variable?
	unset variable
if you have previously used
	set variable
	unsetenv variable
if you have previously used
	setenv variable
I can't log on with xdm on a X-Windows login screen but I can on a console login screen. Everyone else can login OK.
You are over quota and should delete something.

Mouse/keys don't work properly with fvwm.
Turn off Num Lock.

`cron' doesn't work for me
Cron normally used the Bourne shell (sh) so don't use tilde (~) for your home directory (this only works for C shells - cshm tcsh). Use the full path to the executable because your path for the Bourne shell might be different to that for the C shell. Make sure any shell scripts are executable (chmod +x file).

`at' doesn't work
I think it does now.

Backspace doesn't work properly in Netscape
Read this for a n explanation and fix it by appending ~pjs1/public_html/backspace.txt to your .Xdefaults file.
	cat ~pjs1/public_html/backspace.txt >> ~/.Xdefaults
(Make sure this will not interfere with anything you have put in your .Xdefaults file. If it doesn't exist yet, then there's no problem.)
If it complains that you don't have a .Xdefaults file (probably because you have `noclobber' set, then `unset noclobber' or use:
	cp ~pjs1/public_html/backspace.txt ~/.Xdefaults

What does ./xxx mean? What does ~/yyyy mean?
Read a Unix manual. ./ is just the path to xxx and is often used if the current directory is not in the path or if you want to be sure you are running the program in the current directory and not the program with the same name elsewhere in the path.

The path is a list of directories that the computer looks in (in order) to find executables.

~/yyyy is the full path to yyyy if it is in your home directory. This is the same as /home/your_name/yyyy on msslag, for example.

How do I read netnews?
answer yes to a few questions and then quit with
This will make you a ~/.newsrc file containing all the newsgroups. You can either use nn to unsubscribe from the unwanted groups (this takes a LONG time) or just edit the .newsrc file. A colon `:' after a group means read it and an exclamation mark `!' means don't read it so it is probably easiest to convert all `:' to `!' and then change a few back.
Netscape can also be used to read news but it doesn't have as many features as nn.
To decode encoded posts, highlight them in nn and then type

How do I edit my elm (mail) aliases?
Edit ~/.elm/aliases.text and then run elmalias to update.

How do I run a program with data in the background?
You can redirect standard input and output
	sort < file_in > file_out
where file_in is a text file containing the data and file_out is where the output should go.

You can also include the data in the script itself

	sort << END_OF_DATA
This will read the data from the script. END_OF_DATA is just a unique string and can be just about anything.

Remember to make the script executable

	chmod +x script_name
You can run the script later with the `at' command or with `cron' (use
	crontab -e
to edit your crontab file.)

How do I copy a directory structure?
Could use cp -R but better to use tar:
	example% cd fromdir; tar cf - . | (cd  todir;  tar xfp -)
Why does my script/tcl program say command not found?
Scripts including shell, perl and tcl scripts have a first line like
to tell the shell which shell to use when running the script. If this file does not exist you will get a
	Command not found
error as if the script was not there.

Another reason might be that the script does not have the executable bit set in its permissions. Do

	chmod +x script-name

Yet another reason a shell script might not work is if it has DOS-like new-lines.

How do I get an Angstrom symbol in IDL?
	xtitle='!3Wavelength ('+string(197B)+')',$ 
How do I convert files from DOS-like newlines to Unix-like newlines and vice versa?
For DOS-like to Unix-like, use:
	tr -d '\015' < in > out
For Unix-like to DOS-like, use:
	awk '{/\n$/; printf "%s\015\012", $0}' < in > out
How do I convert files from mac-like newlines to Unix-like newlines and vice versa?
For mac-like to Unix-like, use:
	tr '\015' '\012' < in > out
For Unix-like to mac-like, use:
	tr '\012' '\015' < in > out
What do I do with mime-encoded messages?
See for more help.
Otherwise, extract the mail to a file and do
		uudeview file
	man uudeview
	for more details.
What is recursion?
See recursion
Windows password caching
From the Win Networking FAQ

P.J.Smith ---