Last $Author: ballan $Utilities is a window which displays and allows modification of the global variables which control the interaction of ASCEND with UNIX. Below are explanations of the buttons and then some of the options.
Buttons: OK: This will close the window. If the sanity checks fail, the window will not close. Currently the only sanity checks are that the Scratch directory and Working directory must exist out in UNIXland. Save: This writes the current set of options to a file called ~/.ascend-config. (~ is your home directory.) ~/.ascend-config is read on starting ASCEND to get your UNIX defaults. EXCEPTION: The variables with names in ALL CAPS, e.g. PRINTER, are UNIX environment variables. You may change them interactively, but their interactive values are NOT saved. Your environment variables are typically set in your .login, .profile, .[ba,c]shrc, or .environ file and are used by programs other than ASCEND. Read: Fetches the values in ~/.ascend-config. This is in case you want to edit ~/.ascend-config by hand while running ASCEND or you want to verify that the changes you saved were properly saved. More: Rotates you through the pages of options. (2 at present.) Help: Is how you got here.
Printing to a printer:
You may safely omit the -P[postscript]printername part of
these commands if you normally do so in your Unix shell.
Note that ASCEND (TCL, really) does not know about your
Unix environment aliases.
Printing from the probe or the display execute.print buttons
to Unix is done by TCL executing a script consisting of
where $printcommand is the string you've set on the utilities page
and $scratchfilename is set by ASCEND internally.
We need the WWW variables explained here.
Typically this is /tmp or /usr/tmp but it can be any existing directory you
have write access to.
The scratch directory is used to write temporary and plot files ASCEND
creates. The temporary files are automatically deleted before you leave
ASCEND, but the plot files are not (since people often want to save plots.)
Other users on your system may be disturbed if you clog up /tmp with
Typically this is the directory you start ASCEND from but it can be any
existing directory you have write access to. Our handling of the
working.directory is a bit flakey at the moment because the commandline
allows the user to cd without telling the rest of the interface about it.
Intermediate files are sometimes written to working.directory.
Text edit command
This is a command to spawn your favorite text file editor.
The default is vi in an xterm, but you can change it to your
favorite flavor of emacs or whatever you like. Only one of us
here actually uses vi, but since he wrote the Utilities window
code he chose the default.
This allows you to specify your systems command for looking at Postscript
files. Some ASCEND concepts are only rapidly communicable by pictures and
we do such documentation via PostScript files. Ghostview (aka gv) is the
viewer around here. (CMU)
Plot program name
This is the name of your plotting program. It should be able to take
the file type given in plot.file.type as input.
Plot file type
The supported plot types are: plain_plot, gnu_plot, and xgraph_plot.
(These may be abbreviated xgraph, gnu, and plain.)
If you do not have gnu-plot or xgraph or xmgr, try selecting
plain_plot and seeing if the output will work with your own
plotting package. Gnu-plot, xgraph, and xmgr are all available
for free on the net. We are not experts in building any of these
Text print command
Printing to a file:
Set the print command to be
> filename.you.want cat
This is a program that allows you to interactively determine font
names available to ASCEND. The default (xfontsel) is the only
program we know of which does this properly. (Xfontsel has it's own
set of bugs, so we suggest you tamper with nothing to the right of
ptSz on the xfontsel widget.) Once you have found fonts you like with
xfontsel, you may wish to set the Font values in ~/.ascend.ad.
Beware: fonts are Xserver dependent. The fonts available on one workstation
often differ from those on another. ASCEND will make some substitution
for unavailable fonts if it can, but the results are not always pretty.
In at least one case we have found the default ASCEND comes up with to
be Katakana (a Japanese typeface.) We find most machines know some sort
of helvetica font.
We have not been content with any of the free UNIX spreadsheet programs.
The thing to be done is to write out the desired variables as columns
of numbers suitable for import to any spreadsheet. Nobody gets PhD
points for doing this code, so it's not done yet. If you want to
do it, let us know and we'll be happy to consult. email@example.com
has pseudocode for this laying around someplace.
Printing to a printer: lpr -Pprintername
Landscape printing: xa2ps -Ppostscriptprintername enscript -2rGPpostscriptprintername
You may safely omit the -P[postscript]printername part of these commands if you normally do so in your Unix shell. Note that ASCEND (TCL, really) does not know about your Unix environment aliases.
Printing from the probe or the display execute.print buttons to Unix is done by TCL executing a script consisting of $printcommand $scratchfilename. where $printcommand is the string you've set on the utilities page and $scratchfilename is set by ASCEND internally.