OpenWindows User's Guide


This manual provides new and experienced users with the basic information needed to get started with the SolarisTM user environment (using OpenWindowsTM and DeskSetTM applications). The Solaris user environment is based on the OPEN LOOK® Graphical User Interface. Additional topics covered here include how to modify the OpenWindows Workspace, how to access AnswerBookTM to view documents on-line, and troubleshooting.


This guide should help you become familiar with the basics of the OpenWindows environment and user interface concepts. The information in this guide should help you to perform basic OpenWindows tasks, such as:

If you are not familiar with these operations, read Chapter 1, Introduction to the Solaris User Environment for information on how to use the mouse, icons, windows, and menus. The on-line tutorial Introducing Your Desktop also provides information about these OpenWindows elements.

Note that context-sensitive help is available for each application. Position the pointer over the item you want help with, and press the Help or F1 key, depending upon your keyboard. A pop-up window is displayed giving detailed information.

Note -

Solaris supports SPARCTM and IA machines, whose keyboards differ. Consequently, some keyboard equivalents of commands found in OpenWindows menus differ, according to keyboard.

For most keyboard equivalents, SolarisTM software supports a Meta key combination that can be used on both platforms. See Chapter 1, Introduction to the Solaris User Environment for a list of command functions and their various keyboard equivalents.

How this Guide is Organized

This guide is divided into several major components:

Ordering Sun Documents, an Internet professional bookstore, stocks select product documentation from Sun Microsystems, Inc.

For a list of documents and how to order them, visit the Sun Documentation Center on at

Accessing Sun Documentation Online

The docs.sun.comSM Web site enables you to access Sun technical documentation online. You can browse the archive or search for a specific book title or subject. The URL is

What Typographic Conventions Mean

The following table describes the typographic changes used in this book.

Table P-1 Typographic Conventions

Typeface or Symbol 




 The names of commands, files, and directories; on-screen computer output

Edit your .login file.

Use ls -a to list all files.

machine_name% you have mail.


 What you type, contrasted with on-screen computer outputmachine_name% su Password:


 Command-line placeholder: replace with a real name or value

To delete a file, type rm filename.


Book titles, new words, or terms, or words to be emphasized. 

Read Chapter 6 in User's Guide.

These are called class options.

You must be root to do this.

Shell Prompts in Command Examples

The following table shows the default system prompt and superuser prompt for the C shell, Bourne shell, and Korn shell.

Table P-2 Shell Prompts



 C shell promptmachine_name%
 C shell superuser promptmachine_name#
 Bourne shell and Korn shell prompt$
 Bourne shell and Korn shell superuser prompt#

Other Books

For additional information, refer to the following Solaris books: