IID - the IRIX Interactive Desktop, SGI's graphical user interface (GUI)
The IRIX Interactive Desktop is an end-user environment that provides an
icon-oriented interface to the IRIX operating system. Users can launch
applications and select files using icons instead of pathnames. The
icons represent files, directories, URLs, printers, hosts, and disk and
tape drives, including zip, jaz, magneto-optical, and PC cards.
The IRIX 6.5 desktop consists of five different products: the 4Dwm window
manager, the desktop_eoe applications, the desktop_base libraries, the
desktop_tools utilities (GL screensavers, Jot, IconSmith, and the
Twilight background), and the sysadmdesktop system administration active
The desktop environment is configured to be on by default. If for some
reason no icons appear on the background, users can invoke the desktop
environment by running the file manager: In a Unix shell, type fm -b & on
the command line.
Users can turn off the desktop environment for their account by touching
the file $HOME/.desktop-<hostname>/nodesktop where <hostname> is replaced
by the name of the system as returned by the hostname(1) command and
$HOME is the user's home directory (ex., /usr/people/mary). See the
touch(1) man page. Alternately, the system's administrator can disable
the desktop environments for every user on the system with the command
chkconfig desktop off. See the section VARIABLES THAT AFFECT THE DESKTOP
for more information.
The IRIX Interactive Desktop environment is a software package consisting
of dozens of executables, scripts, and libraries. Most desktop
executables reside in the /usr/sbin, /usr/lib/desktop, and /usr/bin/X11
directories. Each primary desktop component has its own reference page.
Please refer to those man pages for detailed information about each tool.
The primary desktop components can be organized into six categories:
main interfaces, customization panels, desktop tools, support programs,
system administration tools, and libraries.
1. MAIN INTERFACES
In IRIX 6.3 and later releases, the following desktop applications that
appeared in previous IRIX releases are obsolete:
is obsolete and its functionality has been moved into the file
has been subsumed as the File QuickFind dialog in the file
newdir has been replaced by the new accessworkstation tool
permissions and tapetool
have been replaced by several new IRIX Interactive System
In IRIX 6.3 and later releases, the findanicon tool is part of the file
manager, is no longer a separate program, and is known as File QuickFind.
It allows the user to retrieve the icon for a particular file, or
conversely to obtain the full path-specified filename for a desktop icon.
A similar version of this tool appears as part of every directory view in
the desktop. Invoked by selecting File QuickFind from the Find
The following components are the main interfaces for the IRIX Interactive
A list of push-buttons, each of which can invoke a useful command
or present a submenu of additional buttons. In the standard
desktop configuration, the toolchest appears in the upper left
corner of the screen and contains buttons labeled Desktop,
Selected, Internet, Find, System, and Help.
dirview A symbolic link to the file manager fm. The dirview program
presents the contents of a directory using the file manager, fm.
The file manager opens the directory or directories specified as
arguments to the dirview command, and presents icons of the files
contained in those directories. The user can also provide URLs
for Web or FTP sites as arguments to dirview. The icons can be
moved, copied, opened, and manipulated in other ways. Invoked in
many ways (see next fm section).
fm The file manager displays icons on the Desktop background and in
iconviews (dirviews), and keeps a log of all recent file system
transactions made through it. In IRIX 6.3 and later releases,
the Media Previewer is incorporated into the file manager. The
Media Previewer instantly displays contents of Web pages, ftp
files, Inventor models, text, video, audio, and other files when
the user selects any icon in an iconview (dirview). File manager
can be invoked in many ways in the desktop environment, including
by selecting the Desktop toolchest, then Access Files, then In my
Home Directory; by double-clicking any folder icon; or by
selecting View Links from the Selected menu for any webjumper
This program lets the user open parts of the desktop from a
specified remote machine: a toolchest, or a directory view for a
directory. The user selects interactively the directory or
toolchest to be viewed, and the machine, login name, and password
to be used. Invoked by selecting the Desktop toolchest, then
Access Files, then As Another User or By Remote Login.
launch A simple dialog box providing a text field in which the user can
type an application name and any required or desired arguments to
it. Clicking OK then causes the command to be executed. Invoked
by various applications.
The iconcatalog contains named pages which can store many types
of icons, including files, folders, programs, printers, hosts,
and devices. Icons are stored as references to the actual
entities. Blank pages can be added. The user can drag icons
onto or out of any page. Invoked by selecting the Find
toolchest, then any iconcatalog page (Applications,
Collaboration, ControlPanels, Demos, and so on).
Contains named pages on which users can create queries to find
files located either locally or across the network. Unlike in
previous versions of IRIX, only files can be searched; the user
can no longer use this tool to search for other icon types like
printers, people, hosts, tape drives and disk drives. Search
criteria can be added from the Match menu. As in the
iconcatalog, icons in the search tool are references to the
actual files. Invoked by selecting the Find toolchest, then
Search For Files.
ov The desks overview tool provides a graphical interface for the
user to create, change, copy, rename and delete desks. A userscalable
square represents each desk, and these squares appear in
a collection. Windows are represented as smaller rectangles
within the desk squares. A window rectangle can be dragged from
one desk square to another, which has the effect of moving the
window onto another desk, or can be placed on the global desk
square, which has the effect of making that window visible on all
desks. Invoked by selecting Desks Overview from the Desktop
slaunch Stand-alone version of launch.
4Dwm The SGI window manager provides window management functions, as
well as some desks management, session management, and background
management. Normally not invoked directly by the end user, but
the user can choose to restart 4Dwm from the Windows
customization panel in order to fully apply choices made on the
The WebJumper tool helps users create webjumpers, or jumpsite
icons, which specify particular universal resource locators
(URLs) on the World Wide Web. When double-clicked, webjumpers
will cause the user's Web browser to launch and go to the
specified URL. Invoked from the Internet toolchest, as the
Create a WebJumper item.
2. CUSTOMIZATION PANELS
In IRIX 6.3, three new customization panels were introduced: dtSounds
lets users toggle which sounds they want to hear during their session,
dtUtilities lets users choose their favorite viewer and editor programs,
and fmprefs lets users customize the layout of their iconviews
accessx Provides a graphical interface to the AccessX keyboard features
for movement-impaired users. Supports customization of
MouseKeys, BounceKeys, StickyKeys, SlowKeys, and RepeatKeys
attributes. Invoked from the Desktop toolchest, from Customize,
Allows the user to customize the image and colors of the
background for each desk. Invoked from the Desktop toolchest,
from Customize, then Background.
desktop Allows users to set background icon scaling, toggle whether new
files should appear on the background, toggle the launch effect
on or off, select whether files should be removed to the dumpster
or removed permanently, set up file overwrite and error output
behavior, and choose default file permissions. (Note: Users must
empty the dumpster manually by selecting from the Desktop
toolchest the Empty Dumpster menu item. The dumpster does not
get emptied automatically.) This data is communicated to the
running Desktop and is saved between sessions. This panel also
allows the user to revert to either their own original settings
or the factory settings shipped with the system. Invoked from
the Desktop toolchest, from Customize, then Desktop.
Allows users to set their $HOME/.desktop-<hostname> directory
location when they are using a machine that they do not usually
use. It lets the user choose one of three options: (1) copy or
(2) share their $HOME/.desktop-<hostname> directory from another
machine that they usually work on, or (3) create a new
$HOME/.desktop-<hostname> directory on the local machine. Not
invoked directly by the end user at login, but can be invoked
directly from the toolchest (Desktop > Customize > Environment
Setup) after login.
Introduced in IRIX 6.3. Allows users to choose which sounds they
want to hear during their session. Six toggles are provided:
Mute System, Startup & Shutdown Tunes, Desktop Sounds, System
Alerts Sounds, Keyboard Bell, and Key Click. Invoked from the
Desktop toolchest, from Customize, then Sounds.
Introduced in IRIX 6.3. Allows users to choose their favorite
viewer and editor programs to be used when they open different
types of file icons. Six different menus are provided: Text
Editor, Web Browser, Image Viewer, Mailer, Book Viewer, and
PostScript Viewer. Invoked from the Desktop toolchest, from
Customize, then Utilities.
fmprefs Introduced in IRIX 6.3. Lets the user choose how they want their
iconviews (dirviews) to appear by default. Users can toggle the
shelf, content viewer, filters, hidden files, image thumbnails
(gallery mode), snap to grid, and open in place. They can also
choose the type of sorting, view mode, and icon size. Finally,
users can choose to have dynamic help on or off across all
iconviews. Invoked from the Desktop toolchest, from Customize,
then Icon Views.
windows Allows the user to customize window options applicable to the SGI
window manager, 4Dwm. The user can toggle the toolchest
orientation between horizontal and vertical, toggle the keyboard
focus between click to type or point to type, choose whether to
use the icon box, toggle whether a window should appear opaque or
transparent during a window move, toggle whether new windows
should be placed on the screen automatically, and toggle whether
session management should be done explicitly by the user or
continuously. Invoked from the Desktop toolchest, from
Customize, then Windows.
ipanel Redesigned in IRIX 6.3. The internationalization panel allows
the user to customize the foreign language and keyboard mapping.
Invoked from the Desktop toolchest, from Customize, then
Allows the user to set four keyboard parameters: toggle key click
sounds on or off, toggle key repeat on or off, set the rate at
which a depressed key will repeat characters, and set the amount
of time before a depressed key will begin repeating characters.
Invoked from the Desktop toolchest, from Customize, then
mouse Allows the user to customize the mouse acceleration, button
mapping (left- or right-handed), and delay between clicks in a
double-click. Invoked from the Desktop toolchest, from
Customize, then Mouse.
Allows the user to customize their current screen saver and their
power saver options (if power saving is supported in the
hardware). Also allows screen locking for certain savers.
Invoked from the Desktop toolchest, from Customize, then Screen
The color scheme browser allows the user to customize the
different colors comprising a scheme and to select the current
scheme. Invoked from the Desktop toolchest, from Customize, then
3. DESKTOP TOOLS
A script for transferring files to or from a host using the
remote copy command rcp. Invoked by double-clicking its icon
from the Find toolchest, from Desktop Tools.
A graphical interactive drawing program, iconsmith allows the
user to create or modify desktop icons. Currently, iconsmith
provides the only means for making desktop icons, aside from
directly coding drawings in a low-level GL-like language.
IconSmith produces and reads files whose names are expected to
end with an ".fti" suffix (for examples, see the files under
/usr/lib/filetype/iconlib). These icons are not the 85x68-pixel
pixmaps that appear on minimized-window icons (these are RGB
images stored in /usr/lib/images), but rather the scalable
geometric drawings that depict system entities, such as folders,
data files, mail files, dumpsters, and disk and tape drives.
jot A display-oriented, cut-and-paste style, ASCII text editor tuned
to run on SGI machines. Jot is written using pure GL code, and
hence will not work on a generic X terminal, and it ignores the X
resources. Jot was originally called Zip. It is tuned to run well
on large files and can edit arbitrary binary files. Invoked by
double-clicking its icon from the Find toolchest, from
Applications. In IRIX 6.4, a text editor called nedit was
introduced as an alternative to jot. See the nedit(1) reference
ieditor An internationalized text editor similar to jot.
bongo A GL-based program depicting many rainbow-colored jiggly bouncing
cubes. Available from the Desktop toolchest, from Customize,
then Screen Savers, as the screen saver named Octahedra.
noof A new GL-based screensaver in IRIX 6.5 showing spiraling
rainbow-colored flower shapes. Available from the Desktop
toolchest, from Customize, then Screen Savers, as the screen
saver named Diatoms.
mailbox Presents an interactive GL-based image of a mailbox. When mail
arrives, the red flag on the mailbox rises. The user can read
mail by clicking the left mouse button on the mailbox door. When
the user finishes reading mail, the mailbox closes. The lighting
and background sky change to indicate the time of day. Invoked
by double-clicking its icon from the Find toolchest, from Desktop
An X11 program that displays a color patch and a list of color
names from an X11 rgb database. When the user clicks the left
mouse button over a color name, the color matching the name
appears in the patch above the list. Invoked by double-clicking
its icon from the Find toolchest, from Desktop Tools.
ep A GL-based program depicting a few twisting, spinning ranks of
rainbow-colored squares. Available from the Desktop toolchest,
from Customize, then Screen Savers, as the screen saver named
A GL-based program mimicking a starry night sky, fading from a
red-orange sunset to a dark blue-black night. Available from the
Desktop toolchest, from Customize, then Background, as the
background named Twilight.
4. SUPPORT PROGRAMS
In IRIX 6.3 and later releases, the desktopumask program, formerly used
by the Desktop customization panel, is obsolete. Also, the ftr compiler
is obsolete and has been replaced by the fftr compiler; see the fftr(1)
reference page for details.
In IRIX 6.5, the desktop message bus (DMB) is obsolete. In IRIX 6.3 and
6.4, the desktop message bus allowed desktop components to communicate
with each other and provided run-once functionality. In IRIX 6.5, the
desktop applications communicate in different ways. Note: The DMB was
not a replacement for the objectserver. The objectserver is obsolete in
IRIX 6.3 and later releases.
ConvertLayout [Toc] [Back]
Runs automatically as part of the firsttime mechanism of
Xsession.dt. It reads the layout files from the IRIX 5.3 or 6.2
Indigo Magic Desktop, and writes an IRIX 6.3/6.4/6.5 IRIX
Interactive Desktop format layout file for those directories
still existent. Not normally invoked directly by users.
FLtoPopDB [Toc] [Back]
Reads standard input, treating each line as a fully qualified
pathname. If the file exists, then the filename is converted to
the special format required by bgicons (serialized DNA), and
written to the standard output. This is used with bgicons to put
icons for specific applications on the desktop background by
default. Not normally invoked directly by users.
Restarts the file manager on the desktop background and, if
necessary, the icon catalog. Its purpose is to show new
application icons immediately, saving the user the trouble of
logging out and back in. Not normally invoked directly by users.
bgicons Maintains icons on the desktop background. Not normally invoked
directly by users.
This shell script can be used to remove stale entries from the
desktop type and layout caches. See the cleanCache man page.
Prevents remote hosts from placing windows on or otherwise
getting access to the local display during a user's login
session. All remote hosts will have display access disabled,
whether access originally was granted implicitly (ex., using
xhost +) or explicitly (ex., using xhost + hostname). Not
normally invoked directly by users.
Supports mailing of files by dropping icons onto people icons.
Not normally invoked directly by users.
fam A server that tracks changes to the file system and relays these
changes to interested applications, such as mailbox and the file
manager. Without fam, these applications would need to poll the
file system to detect changes. Fam is more efficient.
fftr Builds the ftr database, which is used by various desktop
applications. It creates optimized type rules files (suffixed
".otr"). These rules are in turn read by desktop libraries.
Applications displaying icons use the functions provided by these
libraries. The older compiled type rules (files suffixed ".ctr")
format database files are no longer supported in the desktop in
IRIX 6.3 and later releases. The .otr files are better designed
and use much less space when loaded by the libraries than the
corresponding older .ctr files. When icons are not appearing
properly, they can often be restored by typing su; cd
/usr/lib/filetype; make -u and logging out and back in. (This
requires root privileges.) Normally invoked by application
This shell script can be used to flush the desktop type and
layout caches. See the flushCache man page.
fmserv Maintains correct folder state (open or closed) when multiple fm
processes are running. It also monitors for changes to the
desktop file typing database and lets the user restart the
desktop if a change occurs. fmserv should never be invoked
directly by users.
Forces the outputd window to raise itself by writing a NULL
character to stderr. Not normally invoked directly by users.
fserv Assists in the transfer of files when an icon is dragged from a
dirview for one machine to a dirview or background for another
machine. Normally not invoked by the end user.
Generates mailcap and mime.type files from the file typing rules
(FTR) database. Normally invoked by application developers.
Reads an input file to determine which devices to look for. If
the device is present on the system, then serialized DNA for the
device is written to the standard output. This is used in
conjuction with bgicons to put icons on the desktop background.
Not normally invoked directly by users.
haven An X screen-saver client that manages a GL window as the screen
saver, enabling GL programs such as atlantis, ep, bongo, and noof
to be used as screen savers. Invoked from the Desktop toolchest,
from Customize, then Screen Saver, when the user selects
Atlantis, Diatoms, ElectroPaint, or Octahedra. (To see the
Atlantis screensaver, demos.sw.atlantis needs to be installed on
Converts old-format iconbook pages to IRIX 6.3/4/5 iconcatalog
pages. Normally not invoked directly by users.
Allows the user to modify which icons appear on the pages of the
icon catalog. Note that icons added to the iconcatalog system
pages will appear in all users' iconcatalogs, but removing an
icon from a system page will not remove the icon from all users'
iconcatalogs. Normally invoked by application developers.
This daemon monitors the state of the system and launches alerts
(for example, when the disk is full). Not normally invoked
directly by users.
isSuper Allows a user or application developer to determine if a
particular icon type has a specific supertype or not. Example
uses of isSuper can be found in the file typing rules (files
suffixed ".ftr") under /usr/lib/filetype. The command supports
both .otr and .ctr file formats, but by default looks at the
desktop.otr file. Normally invoked by application developers.
Launches the user's favorite book viewer as chosen on the
dtUtilities(1) panel or set in the BOOKVIEWER environment
variable. If the user has not chosen a favorite book viewer, the
script launches Insight(1). This script can be accessed from the
toolchest (Help > Online Books). Not normally invoked directly
The sparkling visual effect that precedes the appearance of a
Opens a webjumper icon or URL into the user's chosen Web browser,
avoiding any locked-cache dialog windows from Netscape. Invoked
whenever users double-click a webjumper icon. Can also be
invoked directly by users.
Chooses a set of visuals based on the hardware to provide goodlooking
Desktop icons that use a minimum of memory and avoid
colormap flashing. Normally not invoked by the end user.
newer Compares the modification times (in seconds since 00:00:00 UTC,
Jan. 1, 1970) of the two files given as arguments. Not normally
invoked directly by users.
Loads the IRIX Interactive Desktop Hints & Shortcuts
documentation into the user's favorite Web browser as chosen on
the dtUtilities(1) panel. If the user has not chosen a favorite
browser, it uses Netscape(1). This script can be accessed from
the toolchest (Help > Hints & Shortcuts). The end user can also
launch it at a Unix shell command line, though that is not its
Loads the user's OutBox(1) page into the user's favorite Web
browser. If the user has not yet chosen a favorite browser on
the dtUtilities(1) panel, then it will use Netscape(1). This
script is launched from the toolchest (Internet > Browse OutBox
Page). Not normally invoked directly by users.
outputd The output daemon captures output from applications launched from
the file manager, the toolchest, or session management, and
displays them in popup windows, one per application. If outputd
is not running, all output goes to the system console. By
default, outputd requires activation from the Desktop
customization panel (desktop) before it launches. Users can
customize the captured output to include any combination of
stdout and stderr. Can be toggled on or off from the Desktop
toolchest, from Customize, then Desktop, as the item "Display
Runs early in the login process to preallocate a small set of
colors used by the Desktop. By preallocating these colors early,
it enables GL programs to run with less colormap flashing. On
machines with multiple colormaps, where flashing is not a
problem, preallocColors exits immediately, without allocating any
colors. Normally not invoked by the end user.
Opens a remote dirview using autofs or, if that fails, runs
accessworkstation. Not normally invoked directly by users.
After the user changes their language using ipanel, this script
removes iconcatalog pages that were in the old language.
Normally not invoked by the end user.
Checks to see if the system's monitor supports the powersave
option. If it is supported, setPowerSaver turns on the powersave
option and sets it to a default of 1200 seconds (20 minutes).
Invoked automatically in Xsession.dt as long as the user has not
turned off the power saver on the ScreenSaver panel. Not
normally invoked directly by users.
Opens a dirview of the user's home directory. It does not
restart the file manager (fm(1)) on the desktop background,
however. Compare with the similar /usr/lib/desktop/telldesktop
restart command. In previous releases, this script would also
restart the desktop background; in IRIX 6.3 and later releases,
this is no longer the case, such that you must type fm -b & in a
Unix shell to restart your desktop background. The startdesktop
script can be launched from the toolchest (Desktop > Access Files
> In my Home Directory). Not normally invoked directly by users.
tag Lets users clear, query, or set the unique numerical tag for any
icon. These tags are used by the desktop to determine icon types.
Normally invoked by application developers.
Invokes file manager functions as long as the file manager was
invoked with the -b option. Most file manager functions require
an icon to be selected before the operation can be performed. The
single required argument to telldesktop can any one of the
following commands: open, openDir, copy, link (or reference),
remove, print, 'new directory', permissions, 'get Info', fetch,
fetchHost, See the telldesktop man page for the meaning of these
commands. Normally invoked by application developers.
tellwm Allows other window managers to communicate with and run commands
through the 4Dwm window manager. Cooperating window managers post
the _SGI_TELL_WM property on the root window containing a list of
command strings they support externally. If the command argument
given to tellwm matches this published protocol, tellwm forwards
the command to the 4Dwm window manager for execution. Normally
invoked by application developers.
Turns on or off access control for the local X server, running
the xhost(1) command with the appropriate argument and posting a
feedback dialog to the user. The script can be run from the
toolchest (System > Utilities > Disable Remote Display or Enable
Remote Display). Not normally invoked directly by users.
This program can be used to "pre-fill" the FTR type cache used by
the desktop. See the typeCache man page.
waitmap Produces an alarm when a MapNotify event has occurred. It is used
as a launch function to serialize session management startup.
Normally not invoked by the end user.
Allows the user to tailor the appearance of their background
(root) window on a workstation display running X.
5. SYSTEM ADMINISTRATION TOOLS
The system administration tools in IRIX 6.3 and later releases are
completely different from all previous versions of IRIX. They make
extensive use of active guides, step-by-step tools that walk the user
through the system administration procedures. They inform users what
they will need and what will happen in the task up front, so users can
prepare for the procedure or decide to do it at another time, avoiding
unnecessary interruptions in the process. Each step is performed for the
user, and the user is prompted for information in the step-by-step
The new system administration software may be accessed from the System
toolchest, as System Manager. For detailed information about the system
administration tools, see the IRIX Interactive System Administration
(sysadmdesktop) release notes. Also see the sysmgr(1M) reference page.
Most of the system administration tools require the invoker to be root or
a privileged user. Most of the old IRIX 5.3 and 6.2 system
administration tools beginning with the lowercase letter C (for example,
cnet) are obsolete. The tapetool and backup_restore programs are also
clogin Executed at the beginning of each session on the graphics
console. It replaces the functionality of /usr/bin/login. The
choice between login and clogin is made on the basis of the value
of the configuration variable "visuallogin." If this
configuration variable is set to on then clogin is used in place
of login. (See the VARIABLES THAT AFFECT THE DESKTOP section.)
To date, libfam.a is the only desktop library whose interface is
available for use by application developers.
The objectserver and directoryserver are obsolete in IRIX 6.3 and later
releases. All IRIX Interactive Desktop and system administration
dependencies on these libraries have been removed. This includes the
IRIX 6.2 libraries shipped with IRIX 6.3, 6.4, and 6.5 for backward
compatibility; that is, all 6.2 libraries (like
desktop_base.sw.ftrdso6_2) no longer depend on the objectserver or
The dmb and messagebus are obsolete in IRIX 6.5 and later releases. All
IRIX Interactive Desktop and system administration dependencies on these
components have been removed.
To perform properly, the desktop also requires the following additional
components: Insight and InfoSearch deliver on-line documentation for the
desktop. SGIHelp provides on-line help for various desktop applications.
ViewKit, a C++ toolkit, provides commonly needed facilities for
applications based on the IRIS IM user interface toolkit (the SGI port of
the industry-standard OSF/Motif user interface toolkit for use on SGI
workstations). Soundscheme, an X-based server daemon, provides highquality
audio playback for applications. Mediad polls the removable
media devices on a machine to determine their state. The
demos.sw.atlantis subsystem from the Demos product needs to be installed
on the system to see the Atlantis screensaver. The desktop also links
with the Motif libraries, the graphics library (GL), and the image
library (IL), and relies on the print product for the graphical printing
In IRIX 6.3 and later releases, screen-specific resources are kept in
subdirectories under the $HOME/.desktop-<hostname> directory named for
the screen (for example, $HOME/.desktop-<hostname>/0.0). These hold many
of the 4Dwm resource files that in previous IRIX releases resided in the
Host-specific resources are kept under the $HOME/.desktophost directory.
This is data that cannot be shared among hosts. Specific files and
subdirectories of interest in each $HOME/.desktophost/<hostname>
directory include the following:
a list of which device icons the user dropped onto the desktop,
beyond the system default device icons, file created and
maintained by /usr/sbin/bgicons
Icons/ system-specific reference devices, such as printers, and icons
dragged from system administration managers, directory created
and maintained by /usr/sbin/bgicons
a list of which system administration objects the user dropped
onto the desktop, beyond the system default system
administration object icons, file created and maintained by
filesystem-size notification levels, file created by the system
administration Filesystem Manager
error messages, file created by /usr/sbin/sysmon
The $HOME/.dtEnvPref file, created by /usr/lib/desktop/makeDotDesktop,
recorde the user's preferred method of creating a new desktop
configuration. See the makeDotDesktop(1X) man page for details.
The $HOME/.Sgiresources file contains session configuration information
that the user chose from customization panels (ex., color scheme, whether
to show new files as they are created, whether to update session
continuously). The customization panels (ex., windows, schemebr,
dtSounds) and other applications write to it. This file is written
automatically, and generally shouldn't be altered by end users.
Specific files and subdirectories of interest in the $HOME/.desktop-
<hostname> directory include the following:
.userenv environment variables, file created by /usr/bin/X11/userenv
from earlier versions of /var/X11/xdm/Xsession.dt, obsolete in
0.0/4DWm which backgrounds to display on each desk, and resources
curNewBackground and warnOnXsetrootAndDesks, file created by
name of the home desk (not the current desk), file created by
which windows are on which desks, the windows' state (normal,
iconic, hidden), and their geometry (size and position on the
screen), file created by /usr/bin/X11/4Dwm
backup copy of 4Dwmdesks, file created by /usr/bin/X11/4Dwm
launch commands, screen, launchTime, wmClass and wmName for
windows on all desks, file created by /usr/bin/X11/4Dwm
Bgdaemon used in IRIX 5.1, replaced by 4DWm, file created by
a list of which icons the user dropped onto the desktop, beyond
the system default non-device icons, file created by
/usr/sbin/FLtoPopDB when run from /var/X11/xdm/Xsession.dt
Desktop customization information for the desktop, file created by
customization information for desktop sounds, file created by
FmState customization information for communicating with /usr/sbin/fm,
file created by /usr/sbin/fmprefs or /usr/sbin/desktop, used by
the file manager and the system manager
Ipanel language customization information, file created by
moviemaker application customization information, file created
Overview desks customization information, file created by /usr/sbin/ov
directory holding lists of which icons appear on iconview
shelves, similar to the layouts directory directory created by
screensaver customization information, file created by
presence of this file indicates the system manager should
continue to issue notifications when the user performs rootprivilege
tasks and there is no password for the special root
user, file created by the system administration active guides
a cache for FTR types (one typecache file per directory, named
with _+ where / would appear in the full path), directory
created by /usr/sbin/fm
Webjumper WebJumper options, file created by /usr/sbin/webjumper
accessx/ user profiles for special keyboard accessibility features, file
created by /usr/sbin/accessx
list of which configuration files (.Xdefaults, .sgisession)
have been verified to exist, directory created by
desktop environment variable settings, file created by
/usr/sbin/webjumper or /usr/sbin/dtSounds
filetype/ personal desktop icons (see the ftr(1) reference page),
directory and its contents created by the user
firsttime flag indicating first time user is running the desktop, file
created by earlier versions of /var/X11/xdm/Xsession.dt, but
obsolete in IRIX 5.3 and later releases
iconbook/ user-defined pages and icons users have added to system pages,
directory created by /usr/sbin/iconbook and
/usr/sbin/iconbookedit, but obsolete in IRIX 6.3 and later
the contents of the user's iconcatalog pages, describing which
icons should appear on the pages and how each page is laid out,
directory created by /usr/sbin/iconcatalog
layouts/ the layouts of the user's iconviews, directory created by
log record of desktop file operations (removing, renaming, etc.),
file created by /usr/sbin/fm
log.bak backup copy of log, file created by /usr/sbin/fm
nodesktop presence of this file turns off the desktop environment, file
created by the user
(obsolete in IRIX 6.3 and later releases) directory view
geometry from the last time <directoryName> was viewed,
directory formerly created by /usr/sbin/fm
(obsolete in IRIX 6.3 and later releases) which icons appear on
the background and where, file formerly created by
xset and xlock settings affecting the display, file created
and/or written to by /usr/sbin/ssaver, /usr/sbin/keyboard, and
user-defined pages for customized searches, directory created
schemes/ user-customized color schemes, directory created by
The above may not be a complete list. Other applications can also read,
write, and remove files in the $HOME/.desktop-<hostname> directory. See
the section VARIABLES THAT AFFECT THE DESKTOP for information about
configuring such applications to run properly over the network.
VARIABLES THAT AFFECT THE DESKTOP [Toc] [Back]
There are several configuration variables that relate to the IRIX
Interactive Desktop. The default settings for a system running IRIX 6.5,
NFS and IRIX Interactive Desktop are as follows:
It is not necessary to be on a network to run the IRIX Interactive
Desktop. If a system is standalone, it will not have the "autofs" or
"nfs" flags, and "network" will be "off". If a system is on a network,
the IRIX Interactive Desktop will make use of the "autofs" feature, so it
should be "on".
To disable the Desktop for every user on a system, the root user can
execute the command chkconfig desktop off. Rather than disabling it for
every account, an individual user can disable the Desktop for their
account by touching the $HOME/.desktop-<hostname>/nodesktop (where
hostname is replaced by the name of the system as returned by the
Please see the fm(1G) man page for further information.
IRIX 6.3 and later systems do not need to have "objectserver" "on". The
objectserver and directoryserver are obsolete in IRIX 6.3 and later
The "noiconlogin" and "visuallogin" variables affect whether the login
screen shows icons and images for each user, respectively. With the
default settings, icons will be used, and the icons will be enabled to
show photograph-like SGI image files.
Please refer to the man pages for soundscheme(1) and mediad(1) for
information on these tools.
The desktop customization panels (available from the Desktop toolchest,
on the Customize menu) and other applications like WebJumper save
resource settings chosen by the user in the directory .desktop-hostname
in the user's home directory. If any of these programs are run on a
remote machine and displayed across the net on a different screen, then
the program will still save the user's options on the remote machine but
these settings will not get read by the program appropriately. The
desktop used to notify the user when this happened, with a dialog message
The following field does not appear at the start of your
Customizations made during this session may not be properly observed
the next time you login.
As this condition occurs infrequently, the desktop no longer issues this
alert in IRIX 6.3 and later releases.
The Xt toolkit uses the XUSERFILESEARCHPATH environment variable to
determine the path for retrieving resources. Its format is that of
XFILESEARCHPATH as described in the XtResolvePathname(3Xt) man page. The
file /usr/lib/X11/xdm/Xsession.dt sets the XUSERFILESEARCHPATH variable
for users when they log in at the console. In order for an application
to read changes made through the customization panels and through itself,
this variable must begin with
where <hostname> is the name of the host on which the application is
running. When users log in remotely, the Xsession-remote file gets
executed instead of Xsession.dt and consequently the variable gets set
To work around this, the user explicitly can add $HOME/.desktop-
<hostname>/%N, where <hostname> is the name of the remote machine, to the
user's XUSERFILESEARCHPATH setting. This can be done at the command
line. Alternately, if the user often logs into a remote machine from a
different console, this setting can be added to the user's .login file on
the remote machine.
Note: The Xsession.dt file redirects output to /dev/console but the
output does not get there because /dev/console does not exist at the time
Xsession.dt runs. At the top of the Xsession.dt file, there exists a
commented-out section that will do X11R5 redirection of errors to a file
called .xsession-errors in the user's home directory. To activate that
behavior so users can see these errors, remove the initial # commenting
character for each line in that section.
DESKTOP COLORS AND SOUNDS
If the SGI desktop is running on an X server from another vendor (such as
an X terminal), then the names of icons on the background might appear as
black text on a black field. (The field color normally defaults to the
color SGIVeryLightGray, which is not defined on other vendors' machines.)
To work around this, users can add the line
to their .Xdefaults or .Xresources file. This changes the field color to
white, thereby making the icon names legible. If more colors are
available on the hardware, then this resource could be set to some other
color (other than "white") that contrasts with the text color.
More information about desktop color schemes and sounds can be found in
Appendix A of the desktop_eoe release notes and in the schemebr(1) and
soundscheme(1) man pages.
Users can search all reference pages, release notes, and online books at
once using the InfoSearch tool. Select the Help toolchest, then
World Wide Web -- netscape(1), xmosaic(1), fm(1)
To invoke Netscape, select the Find toolchest, then Web Tools, then
double-click the netscape icon. The following sites provide a list of
frequently asked questions and answers, as well as a Desks Overview
license. If the system is running IRIX 6.3 or a later release, then it
does not need a Desks Overview license, but information is available for
systems running previous IRIX versions.
Reference pages -- man(1), xman(1), infosearch(1)
To view the man pages, select the Help toolchest, then Man Pages. Many
of the desktop components mentioned above have manual pages. The
following man pages may be of particular interest:
sysmgr(1M) -- the System Manager with active guides
4Dwm(1X) -- the SGI window manager
fm(1G) -- the IRIX Interactive Desktop file manager
ov(1X) -- Desks Overview, providing extra desktops on one screen
iconcatalog(1) -- most applications on the system are included here
searchbook(1) -- search for files
background(1) -- change the screen's background pattern
clogin(1) -- the visual login screen
mediad(1M) -- reads peripheral hardware (disk drives, etc.)
soundscheme(1) -- provides high-quality sound
Release notes -- infosearch(1), grelnotes(1)
To view, select the Help toolchest, then Release Notes. Pertinent
information about the various desktop releases and versions can be found
under the following products:
Online books for end users -- infosearch(1), desktophelp(1)
To view, select the Help toolchest, then Online Books. Double-click any
of the following book icons to read their contents:
IRIX Interactive Desktop User's Guide
Personal System Administration Guide
IRIX Advanced Site and System Administration Guide
The IRIX Interactive Desktop User's Guide replaces the Indigo Magic
Desktop User's Guide and replaces IRIS Essentials.
Online books for programmers -- infosearch(1), insight(1)
To view, select the Help toolchest, then Online Books. Double-click any
of the following book icons to read their contents:
Programming on Silicon Graphics Systems: An Overview
IRIX Interactive Desktop Integration Guide
IRIX Interactive User Interface Guidelines
Developer Magic: RapidApp User's Guide
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