Some time ago, I wrote about Project LASER (Learning about Science,
Engineering, and Research), a NASA sponsored program to encourage
education in the math and sciences at the pre-college level. Sun,
NASA, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) have set up
a computer lab as part of this, with Sun donating the machines. The
lab is now set up and running! There have already been some teacher
workshops and a chance for students to try out the machines.
I had asked on the net for advice for the configuration to run, good
software available, and general advice. I got a lot! Thanks. This
is a late, but appreciative, summary.
I mentioned we were in the market for memory. Advice was don't buy
from Sun. TechWorks and Solflower were recommended sources.
I asked whether I should run Sun's version of X, the current MIT
release, or Sunview. Advice varied slightly, but the common suggestion
was to stick with Sun's Openwindows, which is their X product, at
least until I was very comfortable with administering the system.
The full MIT release might be necessary to run some available soft-
ware, but Openwindows should serve most of my needs. Installing the
MIT X would also hog a lot of my precious disk space. A hybrid is
I asked for recommendations of good software which is publically avail-
able and would be of interest to elementary/high school kids. I got
a rich variety of replies. Here is a summary of packages, sources, etc:
The source of all good things. Well, the pointer to the source.
Well... Archie is an online, interactive database of anonymous
ftp sites. You can reach archie servers by telnet, or by mail.
There are some good client programs available. Archie can tell
you where it is. The trick is knowing what to ask for.
BRL (Ballistics Research Laboratories) CAD program
emacs complete, customized for Suns
gcc c compiler, ansi compatible
gnu-chess -- one of the better computer players available
gnu-plot -- allows 2D & 3D plotting of functions and data.
may be hard to use, but might be of interest to some
g77 or something. fortran compiler Real Soon Now
Games: Obviously will interest kids, some will also educate.
Answerbook -- Sun online docs. Well done, helpful
How to find sources (READ THIS BEFORE POSTING) -- a
good summary of how to find all these things on the net.
Read this in comp.sources.wanted.
Rapport -- Commercial product from Clarity Software, includes word
processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, and email.
Island Draw/Paint/Write -- more commercial stuff.
BBN Slate -- commercial multimedia presentation software,
integratable and tailorable.
JACAL -- equation simplification and manipulation program.
Numerical Recipies -- The book is full of good code. Available
in Fortran and C,at least, source is available in various places.
email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org are mail-based archive
servers for math/stat software.
Suggested reading includes:
Managing NFS and NIS
by Hal Stern
A Nutshell Book from O'Reilly and Associates, Inc.
A System Administrator's Guide to Sun Workstations
by George Becker and Kathy Slattery
UNIX System Administration Handbook
by Nemeth, Snyder & Seebass
Prentis Hall 1989
Catalyst -- list of third party software
Sun User's Group:
CD-ROM with lots of stuff on it.
Word processing/type setting of classic proportions. Not easy
to use, but very powerful.
LaTeX -- typesetter/word processor
TeX -- basis of LaTeX, not usually used ( directly )
bibtex -- useful program for making bibliographies
bibcard -- graphic program for inputing bibtex files
texsun -- a screen previewer
ispell -- a spelling checker
fig -- a drawing program
dvips -- a means of converting dvi files to
psfig -- code for including graphics in a LaTeX document
dviselect -- extract part of a dvi file into a
new dvi file
pageview -- postscript previewer running under
Including a few that are part of the system:
man -- view manual pages ( available for most commands).
tar -- Unix program to group files
compress --- Unix program to compress files
mtools -- read and write MSDOS floppies
screen -- multiplex sessions to any ASCII terminal
toms/toix -- convert text files to and from Unix
and PC formats
zoo -- file compression/grouping utility, also
available on PCs
arc -- file compression/grouping utility, also
available on PCs
unzip -- allows Unix machines to unzip PC .zip
sit/unsit -- create and unpack Mac stuffit archives
pbmplus -- utilities to manipulate and translate bitmaps
tifflib -- utilities to manipulate and translate
telnet madlab.sprl.umich.edu 3000 to get a weather report!
X: Quite a few of the previous programs are X, but I will mention
here conversion programs for Portable BitMaps (PBM), Portable
Grey Maps (PGM), and Portable Color Maps (PNM). Also, various
pictures are available (satellite photos from Ames Research
Anyone with questions about Project Laser can send to me, and I will
get it to the right folks, or you can contact:
NASA Project LASER/CA21
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Sep 28 2001 - 23:06:33 CDT