Terminal Server Software

Desktop Tools

Desktop Tools


Most of the UNIX machines at the AOC run Linux. Linux has several desktop environments available but the two most notable are KDE and Gnome. The default at the AOC is KDE but there are several Gnome users too, so both will be discussed here.

While you can run just about any Gnome program in KDE and vice-versa, it is sometimes better to use the tool that is tailored to your desktop.


  • korganizer is KDE's calendaring and scheduling program for organizing appointments, todo lists, projects and more. It is an integral part of the KDE PIM suite, which aims to be a complete solution for organizing your personal data. KOrganizer supports the two dominant standards for storing and exchanging calendar data, vCalendar and iCalendar.

  • ical provides an X interface for maintaining a calendar. A calendar is basically just a set of items. An item is either an appointment, or a notice. An appointment starts at a particular time of the day, and finishes at a particular time of the day. A notice does not have any starting or ending time. Notices are useful for marking certain days as special. For example, a calendar may contain a notice for April 15th indicating that taxes are due. When the documentation below refers to an item, it applies both to notices and appointments.


  • kcalc offers many more mathematical functions than meet the eye on a first glance; such as: a trigonometric and a statistics mode, a 'results-stack' which let's you conveniently recall previous results, and configurable precision.

  • gcalctool is a basic scientific calculator for the Gnome environment. It can do simple double precision similar to xcalc.

  • dc is not a graphical calculator, so it can be run over telnet, ssh or other such connections. It is a reverse-polish desk calculator which supports unlimited precision arithmetic. It also allows you to define and call macros. Normally dc reads from the standard input; if any command arguments are given to it, they are filenames, and dc reads and executes the contents of the files before reading from standard input. All normal output is to standard output; all error output is to standard error.

Mail Readers

When configuring mail readers for the AOC, use mail.aoc.nrao.edu for the mail server, smtp.aoc.nrao.edu for the SMTP server, and IMAP for the protocol.

  • Mozilla Thunderbird is quickly becoming the email program of choice accross the Internet. Itsupports IMAP and POP mail protocols, as well as HTML mail formatting, built-in RSS capabilities, powerful quick search, spell check as you type, global inbox, deleting attachments and advanced message filtering. It is what we recommend to users.

  • pine - a Program for Internet News & Email - is a tool for reading, sending, and managing electronic messages. Pine is not a graphical mail program, so it can be used over telnet, ssh and other such connections. Though originally designed for inexperienced email users, Pine has evolved to support many advanced features, and an ever-growing number of configuration and personal-preference options. Pine was developed by Computing & Communications at the University of Washington.

Office Products

  • 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. It includes document (oowriter), spreadsheet (oocalc), presentation (ooimpress), and drawing (oodraw) programs.

Content reviewed on: 28-Jun-2007
Reviewed by: krowe