HP OpenVMS Systems Documentation

Content starts here Getting Started With the New Desktop

Getting Started With the New Desktop

Order Number: AA--QUW1A--TE

May 1996

This manual is designed to enable DECwindows Motif general users, system managers, and programmers to successfully use the New Desktop, the alternate desktop provided with DECwindows Motif for OpenVMS Alpha.

Revision/Update Information: This is a new manual.

Operating System: OpenVMS Alpha Version 6.2

Software Version: DECwindows Motif Version 1.2--4 for OpenVMS Alpha

Digital Equipment Corporation Maynard, Massachusetts

May 1996

Digital Equipment Corporation makes no representations that the use of its products in the manner described in this publication will not infringe on existing or future patent rights, nor do the descriptions contained in this publication imply the granting of licenses to make, use, or sell equipment or software in accordance with the description.

Possession, use, or copying of the software described in this publication is authorized only pursuant to a valid written license from Digital or an authorized sublicensor.

Digital conducts its business in a manner that conserves the environment and protects the safety and health of its employees, customers, and the community.

© Digital Equipment Corporation 1996. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks of Digital Equipment Corporation: Bookreader, DECdirect, DECwindows, Digital, OpenVMS, OpenVMS Cluster, VAX, VAX DOCUMENT, VAXcluster, VMS, VMScluster, and the DIGITAL logo.

The following are third-party trademarks:

Hewlett-Packard is a registered trademark of Hewlett-Packard Company.

IBM is a registered trademark of International Business Machines, Inc.

Motif, OSF, OSF/1, OSF/Motif, and Open Software Foundation are registered trademarks of the Open Software Foundation, Inc.

Mosaic is a trademark of the University of Illinois.

NFS is a registered trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Novell is a registered trademark of Novell, Inc.

Sun is a registered trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.

UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries licensed exclusively by X/Open Co. Ltd.

Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.

All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective holders.


The OpenVMS documentation set is available on CD-ROM.

This document was prepared using DECdocument, Version V3.3-1e.

Contents Index


Intended Audience

This manual is designed for users of the New Desktop component of DECwindows Motif Version 1.2-4 for OpenVMS Alpha. It provides information for general users, system managers, and programmers.

Document Structure

This manual is for all types of users. Table 1 shows the chapters and their intended audience.

Table 1 Chapters and Intended Audience
Chapter Title Intended Audience
1 Overview of the New Desktop All users
2 Using the New Desktop All users
3 Managing the New Desktop System managers and advanced users
4 Integrating Applications into the New Desktop Programmers
5 New Desktop Programming Resources Programmers

Related Documents

The documents related to this manual are shown in Table 2.

Table 2 Documents Related to This Manual
Document Description
DECwindows Motif Version 1.2--4 for OpenVMS Release Notes Provides new features as well as release notes.
DECwindows Motif Version 1.2--4 for OpenVMS Installation Guide Provides a detailed description of the installation procedure.
Guide to the DECwindows Motif Version 1.2--4 for OpenVMS CD--ROM Includes a list of all the files on the kit, including the CDE manuals and this manual in HTML format.
CDE manuals Developed by UNIX vendors. They are available on the kit in HTML format and also in print, as shown in Section 1.8.1.

For additional information on OpenVMS products and services, access the Digital OpenVMS World Wide Web site. Use the following URL:


Reader's Comments

Digital welcomes your comments on this manual.

Print or edit the online form SYS$HELP:OPENVMSDOC_COMMENTS.TXT and send us your comments by:

Internet openvmsdoc@zko.mts.dec.com
Fax 603 881-0120, Attention: OpenVMS Documentation, ZK03-4/U08
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How To Order Additional Documentation

Use the following table to order additional documentation or information. If you need help deciding which documentation best meets your needs, call 800-DIGITAL (800-344-4825).


The name of the OpenVMS AXP operating system has been changed to OpenVMS Alpha. Any references to OpenVMS AXP or AXP are synonymous with OpenVMS Alpha or Alpha.

In this manual, every use of DECwindows and DECwindows Motif refers to DECwindows Motif for OpenVMS software.

The following conventions are also used in this manual:

MB1 (Select)
MB3 (Menu)
MB1 indicates the left mouse button, and MB3 indicates the right mouse button.
Ctrl/ x A sequence such as Ctrl/ x indicates that you must hold down the key labeled Ctrl while you press another key or a pointing device button.
[Return] In examples, a key name enclosed in a box indicates that you press a key on the keyboard. (In text, a key name is not enclosed in a box.)
... Horizontal ellipsis points in examples indicate one of the following possibilities:
  • Additional optional arguments in a statement have been omitted.
  • The preceding item or items can be repeated one or more times.
  • Additional parameters, values, or other information can be entered.
Vertical ellipsis points indicate the omission of items from a code example or command format; the items are omitted because they are not important to the topic being discussed.
( ) In command format descriptions, parentheses indicate that, if you choose more than one option, you must enclose the choices in parentheses.
[ ] In command format descriptions, brackets indicate optional elements. You can choose one, none, or all of the options. (Brackets are not optional, however, in the syntax of a directory name in an OpenVMS file specification or in the syntax of a substring specification in an assignment statement.)
{ } In command format descriptions, braces indicate a required choice of options; you must choose one of the options listed.
boldface text Boldface text represents the introduction of a new term or the name of an argument, an attribute, or a reason.

Boldface text is also used to show user input in Bookreader versions of the manual.

italic text Italic text indicates important information, complete titles of manuals, or variables. Variables include information that varies in system output (Internal error number), in command lines (/PRODUCER= name), and in command parameters in text (where device-name contains up to five alphanumeric characters).
UPPERCASE TEXT Uppercase text indicates a command, the name of a routine, the name of a file, or the abbreviation for a system privilege.
monospace type Monospace type indicates code examples and interactive screen displays.

In the C programming language, monospace type in text identifies the following elements: keywords, the names of independently compiled external functions and files, syntax summaries, and references to variables or identifiers introduced in an example.

- A hyphen at the end of a command format description, command line, or code line indicates that the command or statement continues on the following line.
numbers All numbers in text are assumed to be decimal unless otherwise noted. Nondecimal radixes---binary, octal, or hexadecimal---are explicitly indicated.

Chapter 1
Overview of the New Desktop

This chapter provides information about the following topics:

1.1 What is CDE?

The Common Desktop Environment (CDE), based on Motif and X11, is recognized as the next-generation desktop. CDE was created by a group of UNIX vendors (Hewlett-Packard, Sun, IBM, and Novell) to consolidate all the UNIX desktop interfaces and to define a consistent user and development environment.

CDE is built on existing technologies from these UNIX vendors and from the Open Software Foundation, Inc. (OSF). CDE is not a replacement for Motif; rather, it is another software layer on top of Motif, as shown in Figure 1-1. CDE provides additional programming utilities and a consistent, integrated user and development interface.

1.2 Why is Digital Offering CDE?

Digital adopted CDE for its Digital UNIX operating system and is providing a major subset of CDE for OpenVMS Alpha. As a successor to the DECwindows desktop, CDE is a state-of-the-art graphical user interface. This interface is visually appealing and offers many productivity features.

Standardizing the user interface enables general users and system managers to work more effectively on systems from all vendors that provide CDE. It also reduces training costs. Standardizing the development environment for heterogeneous systems facilitates the creation and maintenance of applications.

1.3 What is the New Desktop?

The implementation of CDE on OpenVMS Alpha is called the New Desktop. The user environment provided with previous releases of DECwindows Motif is the DECwindows desktop. DECwindows Motif forms the foundation of the New Desktop, as shown in Figure 1-1. Any application at the top level can directly call any of the lower levels.

Choosing the New Desktop does not prevent you from running DECwindows Motif applications. You can run any DECwindows application from the New Desktop using a DECterm window. Furthermore, all DECwindows applications can be configured to run within the New Desktop environment.

On OpenVMS Alpha, the New Desktop is the default desktop, although the traditional DECwindows desktop is also available. During installation or from the New Desktop login box, you can select your preferred desktop. After installation, a privileged user can switch between the two desktops by editing a system setup file and restarting DECwindows (see Section 3.2).

Figure 1-1 The New Desktop Architecture

1.4 Familiarizing Yourself With the New Desktop

You can become familiar with the New Desktop by using the documentation and applications in the following sequence:

  1. Read Chapters 1 and 2 of this manual and, optionally, Chapters 3, 4, and 5, as appropriate to your work.
  2. Use the online help, "Introducing the CDE Desktop," especially "A Quick Tour of the Desktop" (also known as "The CDE Desktop at a Glance"), available from the Front Panel.
    This online help is displayed when you first log in to the New Desktop and is also accessible from the Help icon on the Front Panel.
  3. Try one or more of the new CDE applications and refer to its help or online manual.

1.5 New Desktop Productivity Features

The New Desktop provides many features not available in DECwindows Motif that enable users to be more productive in their work. Some of the most important productivity features follow.

Figure 1-2 Front Panel

  • Front Panel
    The Front Panel, as shown in Figure 1-2, provides fast access to applications. From the Front Panel, you can select one of your customized workspaces or launch any application that is represented by an icon. You do this with a single click---on the workspace icon or the application icon. The same Front Panel appears in every workspace.
    Three of the icons on the Front Panel have subpanels. The existence of a subpanel is indicated by an arrow above the icon. A single click on the arrow produces a short menu from which you can make a selection. When a subpanel is displayed, the arrow points downward. When you are finished with the menu, you can remove it with a single click on the same arrow.
    You can customize many aspects of the Front Panel, such as the icons, the names of the workspaces, and the applications listed on the subpanels.
    The Front Panel provides many of the functions provided by the DECwindows Session Manager. You can select applications by clicking on their icons, pause your session by clicking on a lock icon, and exit by clicking on the Exit button. The Front Panel is part of the New Desktop's Window Manager.
  • Workspaces
    A workspace is a virtual screen. When a workspace is selected, only those applications included within the workspace are displayed. Multiple workspaces allow you to organize your work into groups of applications that you typically use together. For example, one workspace could be used for project management tasks, another for communicating on the Internet, and another for financial management.
    Workspaces can be added, deleted, and renamed dynamically. The default number of workspaces is 4 (see Figure 1-2), which can be increased to 64. The number of workspaces may be limited by your system resources.
  • Icon-based File Manager
    The icon-based File Manager, combined with the drag-and-drop feature, enables you to manage files quickly and conveniently. File Manager also supports additional features for two special types of top-level windows: application views (via Application Manager) and Trash Can.
    File Manager allows easy navigation of a directory hierarchy. It includes several viewing options, such as a tree format and a view with expanded information, including file sizes and revision dates. You can filter files by file type and sort them by several criteria.
  • Automatic save and restore of open applications in each workspace
    When you log out, the state of your session is saved. The next time you log in, every application that supports automatic save and restore that was open when you logged out will be open again. Alternatively, you can save a snapshot of your session at any time and restore to that point when you log in. All the applications included with the New Desktop provide this feature.


    The level of detail that is automatically saved and restored depends on the application. Some applications restore the entire visual state of the application at the point it was saved, while others restore only the main screen of the application.

1.6 User Applications

Table 1-1 lists all the CDE and DECwindows user applications that are integrated into the New Desktop and indicates the following information about each application:

  • Application name
  • Executable name
  • CDE application or DECwindows application
  • Whether it is accessible from the preconfigured Front Panel

In addition to the user applications that are integrated into the New Desktop, all DECwindows applications that were included in DECwindows Motif Version 1.2--3 are part of the New Desktop and are accessible from Application Manager. Note that two help viewers are provided with the New Desktop: Help Viewer for New Desktop help and Bookreader for DECwindows help.

Table 1-1 User Applications and Services
Application Name Executable Name CDE or DECwindows Accessible From Front Panel
Action database and execution management utility (Create Action) dtcreate CDE No
Action utility dtaction CDE No
Application Manager, File Manager dtfile CDE Yes
Bookreader DECW$BOOKREADER DECwindows Yes 1
Calculator dtcalc CDE No
Calendar DECW$CALENDAR DECwindows Yes
Clock DECW$CLOCK DECwindows No 2
Front Panel, Workspace Manager dtwm CDE ---
Help Print utility dthelpprint CDE No
Help Viewer dthelpview CDE Yes
Icon Editor dticon CDE Yes 3
Mail DECW$MAIL DECwindows Yes
Print Dialog PRINTDIALOG DECwindows Yes 4
Session Manager dtsession CDE No
Style Manager dtstyle CDE Yes
Text Editor dtpad CDE Yes 3
Trash Can dtfile CDE Yes
Watch Errors DECW$MESSAGEPANEL DECwindows No

1Accessible from the Help subpanel.
2The clock on the Front Panel is an animated icon. You cannot access the Clock application by clicking on this icon. Instead, you can access it from the DECwindows Apps group in Application Manager.
3Accessible from the Personal Applications subpanel.
4Based on the DECwindows print widget.

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