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Frequently Asked Questions for XDIR

Q: How do I customize attributes such as colors and fonts for XDIR?

A: You will have to obtain and customize a private copy of Xdir's application defaults file, XDir. (An application defaults file is a text file associated with an X-based application that can be modified by the user to change the way the application looks and/or behaves.) There are two steps to perform:

1. Obtain the application defaults file, XDir.

The XDir file comes with the Xdir distribution. If your system administrator installed Xdir, he/she probably placed XDir in /usr/lib/X11/app-defaults (or perhaps in /usr/local/bin). If you have not already done so, create a directory in your home directory named "app-defaults". Copy XDir to $HOME/app-defaults. Add the path $HOME/app defaults to your XUSERFILESEARCHPATH environment variable. If you are not using this environment variable, add the line

setenv XUSERFILESEARCHPATH "$HOME/app-defaults"

to your .cshrc file (and then execute "source .cshrc").

2. Edit the application defaults file, XDir.

3. Use your favorite text editor to modify XDir.
Look for lines containing the patterns "foreground", background", "font", and "Font". Here are some examples.

Example 1.


XDir*foreground: brown


XDir*foreground: red

to change much of the foreground color to red.

Example 2.


XDir*dirWindow*toolbarForm.upArrowButton.foreground: Red3


XDir*dirWindow*toolbarForm.upArrowButton.foreground: blue

to change the foreground color of the up arrow ("go to parent") button to blue.

Example 3.


XDir*defaultFontList: *hel*-b*-r-*-12-*,variable


XDir*defaultFontList: fixed

to change the font of certain components such as menus and push buttons.

Caveat. Changing a line of the application defaults file might not result in the desired effect (for example, replacing a font with a larger font might mess up the geometry of some of Xdir's windows). You will probably have to experiment.

Q: Help! Every time I change directories I get a new window. How do I tell Xdir to reuse the current window to display another directory?

A: Click the "tunnel" icon in the toolbar to turn "tunneling" on (icon is in inverse video in tunneling mode). Changing to another directory with tunneling on causes the directory window to be reused.

Q: What do all those buttons in the toolbar do?

A: Select "Contextual Help" in the "Help" menu. The cursor will change to a pointing hand. The Toolbar Page describes each of the buttons.

Sample Toolbar

Q: Why doesn't LLNL XDIR work correctly with my favorite FTP server?

A: FTP specifications leave considerable room for variation in responses and behavior of conforming FTP servers (e.g., the format of the long list is unspecified). This is usually of little consequence for command-line oriented FTP clients because a human is able to interpret what he/she sees and make adjustments. However, a GUI-based FTP-client, such as LLNL XDIR, requires special-case logic for each supported server in order to (1) identify the type of FTP server and (2) handle the server's peculiarities. For certain servers (e.g., those on VMS systems) this special-case logic can take a lot of effort to implement; hence, we have had to be choosy about which servers to support.

Q: Which FTP servers does LLNL XDIR support?

A: To the best of our knowledge the following servers are supported by LLNL XDIR (though things can change as the FTP servers evolve). The level of support might vary from server to server (e.g., the move operation might not be supported because of some server limitation).

1. Most FTP servers on Unix systems. (These servers tend to behave similarly.)

2. The standard Windows NT FTP server.

3. NetPresenz, shareware for the Macintosh by Peter N. Lewis.

4. UniTree and NSL UniTree.

5. WinQVT for Windows.

6. WFTPD, shareware for Windows platforms by Alun Jones.

7. A couple of servers on VMS systems, including the MultiNet FTP server.