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UNIX in a Nutshell: System V Edition

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Solaris 2.0 only. openwin is the shell script that sets up OpenWindows, the windowing environment based on the OPEN LOOK graphical user interface. OpenWindows provides application programs that let you edit, print, or delete files, send and receive mail, make icons and screen dumps, schedule activities on a calendar, etc. Online help is included. To access OpenWindows, your environment variable OPENWINHOME must be set to the directory in which the OpenWindows software resides. The description below presents a "roadmap" of OpenWindows' Workspace menu, including a summary of the available programs and utilities.


openwin accepts all options that are valid for xnews , along with some additional options specific to openwin . Most of these options are used to initialize the display format of the OpenWindows environment. The display format is usually initialized automatically, so command-line options are rarely used (see the Save Workspace utility). For more information, see the online reference pages for openwin or xnews .

Workspace menu


Submenu from which to select the DeskSet applications. Individual programs are summarized below.


Submenu from which to select OpenWindows utilities. Individual utilities are summarized below.


Window from which you can set background colors, icon locations, scrollbar placement, and other properties of the Workspace environment.


Window that provides menu-based help on the features of OpenWindows.

Desktop Intro

Window that provides novice users with a basic introduction (e.g., how to use the mouse, how to use the help facility).


Menu item that quits OpenWindows.

Programs submenu

This submenu provides access to the DeskSet applications, of which the most essential are File Manager, Text Editor, Mail Tool, and Command Tool. The applications are summarized below, in the order they appear in the Programs submenu.

Command Tool

Open a terminal window for entering UNIX commands at a system prompt. Because the window is scrollable by default, you can review (and even edit) previous commands.

Text Editor

Open a text editor on new or existing files. Editor functions include searching, replacing, moving, and copying.

File Manager

Manipulate files and directories. Tasks include creating, moving, deleting, and printing. Files can be listed using different sorting methods, as icons, etc.

Mail Tool

Read or send electronic mail.

Calendar Manager

A month-at-a-glance window that lets you set appointments and receive automatic reminders.


Display a clock. You can customize the clock display by selecting various features from the Properties window. (To bring up this window, move the pointer inside the Clock, then press the MENU button on the mouse.)


Display a calculator that can perform mathematical operations. Enter input using either mouse-button presses or keyboard typing. Important Calculator buttons include:


Label the buttons of the calculator keypad with their keyboard equivalents.


Display values in octal, hex, binary, or decimal (the default).


Pop up a window containing buttons for special functions. Modes include Financial, Logical, or Scientific.


Display values in notations such as fixed-point or scientific.

Print Tool

Send print requests, select a printer, check the queue, or stop a print request.

Audio Tool

Record and play audio files.

Tape Tool

Copy files to a tape cartridge.


Change the default association (that is, binding) between icons and DeskSet applications (e.g., you can change an icon's color). Also useful for binding a new icon to its associated application. See "Icon Editor" below.


Create raster-image files or view existing ones. For example, you can "take a picture" of all or part of your screen, then store it as a raster-image file (for later viewing or printing).

Icon Editor

Create or modify icon images or pointers. Useful for graphically labeling file types that are displayed by the File Manager application.

Performance Meter

Display graphs (or dials) to monitor various aspects of system and network performance.

Shell Tool

Same as Command Tool except that scrolling is initially disabled by default.


A list of OpenWindows demonstration programs you can run. In order for the system to locate these programs, you must specify the -includedemo option when running openwin .

Utilities submenu

This submenu provides access to OpenWindows utilities, of which the most essential are Save Workspace and Refresh. The utilities are summarized below, in the order they appear in the Utilities submenu.


Redraw the Workspace. Useful if applications leave distracting visual remnants after being closed.

Reset Input

Make keyboard input readable again. (Input is sometimes garbled by running an incompatible application at the same time as OpenWindows.)

Function Keys

(Currently unsupported.) Display the function keys and show the operation that they would perform while using the current application. This utility will allow support for international keyboards.

Window Controls

Manipulate the active application window (open, close, resize, or move in front of or behind another window). This utility duplicates the operations available to most applications from their window menu (which is pulled down from the application header).

Save Workspace

Store the appearance of your Workspace. Once you have customized the size and position of your applications, use Save Workspace to store this appearance. Now, each time you start up OpenWindows, your applications will automatically appear the way you previously saved them.

Lock Screen

Cover the Workspace with a moving pattern. Useful when you are away from your screen. Lock Screen hides your applications (providing added security) and prevents phosphor burnout of the screen. To unlock the screen, press any key or mouse button, then type your password.


Provide a terminal window in which to view any error messages or system messages you receive.

Online help

There are four types of online help: the Desktop tutorial, the Help handbooks, Spot Help, and manpages. The Desktop tutorial and Help handbooks are accessed from the Workspace menu as described above. Spot Help is available by moving the pointer to a specific place on the Workspace (e.g., a menu item). If you now press the keyboard's Help key, an information window pops up to describe the spot where the pointer is. Manpages are reference pages that you call up by typing the man command at a UNIX prompt. To view manpages, you don't need to be running OpenWindows, but you do need to define the MANPATH variable to include the directory where the OpenWindows manpages are located. By default, this directory is:


So, for example, you could define a few search directories for man by placing the following line in your .cshrc file:

setenv MANPATH /usr/man:$OPENWIN/share/man

After sourcing .cshrc , you could browse OpenWindows topics by typing either of these commands:

man -k openwin


Here's a list of the most useful manpage files you might want to find out about:

audiotool    install_cmgr    snapshot
binder       mailtool        tapetool
calctool     olwm            textedit
clock        pageview        xfontsel
cm           perfmeter       xlsfonts
cmdtool      printtool       xmodmap
filemgr      reservecolors   xrdb
iconedit     shelltool       xset

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