Productivity Software

Document and Display Software



Dia is roughly inspired by the commercial Windows program 'Visio', though more geared towards informal diagrams for casual use. It can be used to draw many different kinds of diagrams. It currently has special objects to help draw entity relationship diagrams, UML diagrams, flowcharts, network diagrams, and many other diagrams. It is also possible to add support for new shapes by writing simple XML files, using a subset of SVG to draw the shape.

To run it on a Configured Workstation, choose Applications-Graphics-Dia from the menu.


GNU enscript is a free replacement for the Adobe's enscript program. Enscript converts ASCII files to PostScript and spools generated PostScript output to the specified printer or leaves it to file. Enscript can be easily extended to handle different output media and it has many options that can be used to customize printouts.

It is a commandline program with a large number of options. At its simplest, however, you can simply enter:

enscript foo.txt

to print the text file, foo.txt, to your default printer. See the man page for a description of all the options.



ImageMagick┬«, is a free software suite to create, edit, and compose bitmap images. It can read, convert and write images in a large variety of formats. Images can be cropped, colors can be changed, various effects can be applied, images can be rotated and combined, and text, lines, polygons, ellipses and B├ęzier curves can be added to images and stretched and rotated. version


LaTeX is a document preparation system for high-quality typesetting. It is most often used for medium-to-large technical or scientific documents but it can be used for almost any form of publishing.

LaTeX is not a word processor! Instead, LaTeX encourages authors not to worry too much about the appearance of their documents but to concentrate on getting the right content.


AASTeX is a LaTeX-based package that can be used to mark up manuscripts for American Astronomical Society (AAS) journals. AASTeX enables you to prepare manuscripts and tables for electronic submission to the The Astrophysical Journal and The Astronomical Journal, as well as some non-AAS journals like the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

On the website, you can find Documentation, Frequently Asked Questions, and Sample Files that use nearly all of the capabilities of the package.

Open Office

OpenOffice is a multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open-source project. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute.

PDF Toolkit

If PDF is electronic paper, then pdftk is an electronic staple-remover, hole-punch, binder, secret-decoder-ring, and X-Ray-glasses. Pdftk is a command-line tool for doing everyday things with PDF documents.

On the pdftk website, you can find some simple examples of what pdftk can do, as well as the documentation.

Supermongo (sm)

Supermongo (sm) is a flexible graphics package. An on-line guide and sm tutorial are available. SM's great strength is that you can define macros to perform common tasks. SM can also emulate regular Mongo - to do this issue the command `compatible'. Examples of sm macros can be found in /data/system/user_guide/sm/. The version installed is sm 2_4_26

To run sm just type:

sm : quit

To get help type:

sm -help


Xfig is an interactive drawing tool in which figures may be drawn using objects such as circles, boxes, lines, spline curves, text, etc. It is also possible to import images in formats such as GIF, JPEG, EPSF (PostScript), etc. Those objects can be created, deleted, moved or modified. Attributes such as colors or line styles can be selected in various ways. For text, 35 fonts are available. Text can also include Latin-1 characters such as "a umlaut" or "c cedilla".

Xfig saves figures in its native Fig format, but they may be converted into various formats such as PostScript, GIF, JPEG, HP-GL, etc. xfig has facility to print figures to a PostScript printer, too.

There are some applications which can produce output in the Fig format. For example, xfig doesn't have a facility to create graphs, but tools such as gnuplot or xgraph can create graphs and export them in Fig format. Even if your favorite application can't generate output for xfig, tools such as pstoedit or hp2xx may allow you to read and edit those figures with xfig. If you want to import images into the figure but you don't need to edit the image itself (like this example), it is also possible to import images in formats such as GIF, JPEG, EPSF (PostScript), etc.

See the LaTeX and Xfig page for information about importing xfig images into a LaTeX document.

To run it on a Configured Workstation, choose Applications-Graphics-Xfig from the menu.

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To start emacs, just type emacs &. For an introduction to Emacs type C-h t inside Emacs to enter the Emacs tutorial.

vi vi(m)

vi stands for VIsual editor, and it is the standard UNIX editor. As such it is widely used. The advantage of vi is that whatever linux/Unix system you use, there will be a version of vi there, it is also compact and quick, much quicker to start up than for instance emacs or nedit. The downside is that it is difficult to learn, more so than emacs. If you are not going to use it, you only need to know that you get out of it by typing :q or :q! to avoid saving the file.