INTRODUCTION TO XWINDOWS IN THE LAB
These notes were prepared for use on the xlab machines in
the Math Department's Undergraduate Computer Lab.
DISAPPEARING WINDOWS: If you click on the title bar
of your local window with
the right mouse button it will disappear. Actually, it is still
there in miniature form. Look at the top of the screen. Both on
the left and right you will see little rectangles labelled
local. Clicking on such a rectangle with the left
(or right) mouse
button causes the window to reappear. Practice making
windows disappear and reappear.
TYPING: To type something, the cursor must be inside a
Put it inside the local window and type whoami and press
return. Put it outside the local window (on the screen
background) and type the same thing. Did you notice a
difference? In the first case you successfully gave a command
to the computer, who (of course) obeyed. Practice typing
Click on the title bar with the left
mouse button, drag to a new position, and release.
RESIZING WINDOWS Click on the square in the upper right
corner of the
window with the left mouse button, drag, and release.
Note that you must enlarge the window before you can shrink it.
In other words, to make a window more narrow, you must hold down
the mouse and drag to make the window a bit wider than it was
originally; then still holding down the mouse button, drag the
mouse in the opposite direction until you have the desired width
and then release the mouse button. Practice! You might
also try what happens if you click the left mouse button
on the other small square in the upper right corner of your
window. Clicking on that box a second time should reverse this effect.
MULTIPLE WINDOWS: Your local window is used for
Unix commands. Typically, you use
the local window for two main purposes:
EXAMPLE: Move the cursor into the
local window and
type netscape & and press the Return key.
Presently the ghost of a new window will appear in a kind of
``dotted outline form.'' Move the mouse to position this window
and click with left mouse button when satisfied.
place windows so that part of the title bar is visible for each
window.) Netscape is a world wide web browser. Click on the House Icon
(HOME) to go to the Math Department Home Page. Notice how the cursor
changes when you move it over underlined, colored text. Use the scroll
bar along the right edge of your netscape window to scroll down the
Math Department Home page until you reach the "More Information"
section. Click on the Computing Link there to get more information
about what is available in the Undergraduate Computer Lab.
USING MENUS: Click on the background with each of the
three mouse buttons to see some useful menus.
The left menu contains the
item Exit X-windows, used to end your session at the machine.
(Don't do this yet!)
The middle mouse button contains the menu item
X Maple V4 which you can select to start a maple session.
(Do this now!)
GOING FROM ONE WINDOW TO ANOTHER:
You should have several windows on your screen now, overlapping each other
unless you have done some careful resizing. In a typical session you may
need to move back and forth between different windows.
For example, you may be reading your assignment from a netscape window,
doing problems using Maple, and chatting with your friends in e-mail about
arranging that big study session.
Practice moving the mouse among your three windows, the local
the maple window and the
Observe the change in appearance of the title bar as you move the cursor
from window to window. A dark title bar indicates the active window. Whatever
typing you do will go into that window. The active window can be behind
another window. You can bring it forward to the top layer by clicking with
the middle mouse button on the title bar.
Practice this now.
- to open other applications like
- emacs ---
a text editor
- xmaple --- a general purpose
mathematical software package
mm --- an electronic mail program
- for file-handling commands (removing old files, renaming
or copying files, organizing files into folders or directories);
to learn more about these commands check out the
Unix tutorial .