Getting Started in the Graphics Lab

To get an account on the graphics machines, send mail to requests@graphics explaining why you need an account and how long you will need it. Once you have an account, you will be able to log into any of the graphics machines.

Accounts and Passwords

Many important system files (/etc/passwd) are automatically distributed from aperture to the rest of the graphics machines. Consequently, in order to change your password (for example), it's necessary to change it on aperture. When the password file is distributed to the rest of the machines, your new password will be in effect everywhere.

The File System and Backups

All home directories can be accessed via the path /u/username on all machines; this makes it possible to cleanly refer to home directories without needing to know exactly which disk and which machine they really live on. In a similar fashon, the filesystems on other machines can be accessed via /n/machinename.

Two large file system hierarchies are available on all of the machines: /usr/common and /usr/graphics. Broadly speaking, /usr/common is for commonly used software from the net, and /usr/graphics is for software and projects that are internal to the graphics group.


Documentation things in the /usr/common hierarchy is a bit spread out--in addition to the manual pages in /usr/common/man, see /usr/common/info for GNU Texinfo-style docomentation, /usr/common/html for packages with html documentation, and /usr/common/lib/{packagename} for miscelaneous documentation and example files.

The include/ and lib/ directories have header files and .a library files for the extra libraries installed.



Almost all of our disks are backed up nightly, with a few exceptions: In the event that you need to have files restored from backup, send e-mail to thoi@cascade with the relevant information.


Electronic mail on the graphics machines isn't as standardized as most of the rest of the setup. By default, mail sent to you@kittyhawk will stay on kittyhawk, unread until you someday log into kittyhawk and see it. In practice, this sort of thing happens frequently, as everyone's used to typing "Mail person" to send mail to someone, and having it show up at the right machine.

Consequently, it's critical to have a .forward file in your home directory. It should forward your mail to a single machine that you will have to log into to read mail (e.g. aperture, or xenon if you don't want to read your mail on the graphics machines, etc..)

Example contents of .forward file:
Someday this will be fixed.

PATH and environment variables

These are some values for environment variables that have been useful to others:

Caveats and Known Problems

There are GNU implementations of a number of commonly used programs like sed, as, diff, etc., in /usr/common/bin, so you if you don't want to use these instead of the IRIX versions, don't put /usr/common/bin at the head of your PATH.

Version 5 of perl is installed in /usr/common/bin. If you need the previous (and still more widely used) release, it's available in /usr/bin/perl. There are a number of incompatibilities between perl 4 and perl 5, so for now, it's probably best to use the old version unless you know that you need the new one.

Enscript isn't available--it's licensed software from Adobe. However, both imprint and psnup provide much of the same functionality.

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Last modified: Mon Oct 30 16:36:53 1995