Installing the Allegro Runtime Act-Editor

This document describes how to retrieve the Act-Editor, and how to install it to run on a computer at your site. The Allegro 4.3 version of the Act-Editor has not been extensively tested, and is distributed in a runtime image without the compiler or debugger, and without source code. The distribution contains system code, an Allegro runtime image, documentation, and example Act graphs.

Sources can be obtain by signing a license with SRI. Instructions for obtaining the tar file will be given after a license is signed.

Hardware and Software Requirements for the Act-Editor

In its final configuration the Act-Editor system will require approximately 30 megabytes of disk space on the computer on which it is installed (on a UNIX system you can determine the amount of free disk space using the df command). The current version of the Act-Editor requires SPARCstation hardware (SPARC-2 or greater) with at least 32MB of physical memory.

Your Sun must be running SunOS version 4.1 or newer and the X-Window system. Note that Solaris users must retrieve a different image than SunOS users. The Act-Editor requires significant amounts of swap space (at least 50MB). Your Unix system swap file may require adjustment.

Version Control

If you are installing the Act-Editor for the first time, you can skip the rest of this section.

The Act-Editor directory tree is rooted in a directory called aic-export. Each version of the Act-Editor is in a subdirectory of aic-export/act-editor that is named after its version number (e.g., aic-export/act-editor/2.4 contains Act-Editor version 2.4). The version of the Act-Editor in current use is denoted by a symbolic link named released (e.g., aic-export/act-editor/released might link to aic-export/act-editor/2.4). You can install a new Act-Editor version into the same aic-export directory tree as a previous version. The new version of the Act-Editor will appear in new version subdirectories, leaving the old versions intact. All released links will be updated to the latest versions during unpacking. To revert to an earlier version of the Act-Editor, simply reset the link.

Old versions of systems can be retained as backups, or deleted. For example, version 1.0 of Act-Editor can be deleted as follows (all examples in this section assume you are connected to the parent of aic-export):

        rm -r -f aic-export/act-editor/1.0

Locating the Distribution

Decide where in your filesystem you wish to place the Act-Editor directory tree. Our examples assume that you are placing the directory in /usr/local/. You may wish to substitute a different location for the value of SRI below. First connect to the directory:

        setenv SRI /usr/local

cd $SRI

The above cd command is important, as the following ftp and tar commands will create an aic-export directory in your current directory, which will hold all Act-Editor-related directories.

Obtaining the Distribution

You will obtain the distribution by FTPing it via Internet. If you have signed a license, you will be given a different host, directory, and tar file.

Unpacking the Distribution

Unpack the distribution file on a Unix system by entering the following command exactly as shown. For a SunOS system:

        uncompress -c -v act-editor-runtime.tar.Z | tar xf -
For a Solaris system:

        uncompress -c -v act-editor-runtime-solaris.tar.Z | tar xf -
On Solaris machines, a shell script is used to run the image since some environment variables must be set. During installation, you must edit the script to include the pathname for your aic-export directoy. Edit the file

and change the first line of code (begining with "AIC =") to use you local pathname for aic-export. If aic-export is in /user/local, the line should be:

AIC = /usr/local/aic-export

The distribution tar file can be deleted after successful installation.

Please do NOT rearrange the Act-Editor directory tree after installation. Proper operation of the system depends on the placement of different files within the directory structure.

Configuring X Windows

The following task is optional but may improve the functionality of Act-Editor under the X-window system.

The behavior of graphics applications under the X-window system is dependent on the configuration of the window manager. For example, pop-up menus behave differently under different window manager resource settings. We find the configuration in file aic-export/clim.Xdefaults useful for the olwm window manager. Therefore, we suggest that the following line be added to the file .openwin-init (or its equivalent) in the home directory of every user of Act-Editor. The workings of these resource settings will also depend on what window manager you use.

        xrdb -merge $SRI/aic-export/clim.Xdefaults

Act-Editor Documentation

The Act-Editor documentation can be found on the WWW on the Act-Editor home page and is contained in your distribution as the poscript file CODE>$SRI/aic-export/act-editor/released/doc/manual/ Hardcopy can be obtained from SRI. Please read the Act-Editor User's Guide before your first session.

Running the Image

The Allegro runtime version has not been extensively tested, and hardly tested at all on Solaris. Please report any problems.

Run the following script to start the image (named act-editor-runtime-solaris):


On SunOS machines, the image can be run in an xterm by invoking:


When the image gives a prompt, in either SunOS or Solaris, start the system as follows:

(in-package :act)

The Act-Editor process can be killed through the Application menu of the Act-Editor, or by calling the function (excl:exit).

The :cont and :pop commands can be used to return from an error, :cont takes an integer as an argument. Beware, :pop at the top level will exit the image.

If you use ILISP and GnuEmacs, the image can be run through ILISP in Emacs if desired. (In Solaris, you will have to set the environment variables from the run-act-editor script in your environment.)

Reporting Problems

Please report problems by email to

The Act-Editor is a trademark of SRI International.
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David E. Wilkins
Last modified: Fri Jan 31 14:40:39 1997