Department of Engineering

IT Services

Known bugs/features on the DPO/EIETL Terminals


  • The output of a pdf file isn't as I expected - try another pdf viewer (right-click on the document to see what programs are listed under "open with"). There are a number of viewers on the linux system (evince being the current default). There is only one viewer available on the MS Windows system. If you don't have a choice of viewers on your system, or a second viewer hasn't helped, see the operators.
    Note also that the print output may not match the screen output.
  • Some users are finding that images within their documents are appearing with a black background (rather than a white or transparent background). If this happens please see the operators.
  • Printing color files using the command line - By default, files are printed in B/W when sent using lp from the command line. To print in color, add "-o ColorModel=Auto" to the command line options.
  • Printing color files from Matlab on Linux - Matlab uses the lp program to send files to Uniflow. By default, files sent by lp come out in B/W, so if you want color Uniflow output from matlab, you not only need to tell matlab to produce color output, but matlab has to tell lp to tell uniflow to print in color! The only way I can see to do this on a per-user basis is for the user to do
      cp /usr/local/apps/matlab/matlab-local/printopt.m .
    then edit the file, changing
    pcmd = 'lpr -r';
       pcmd = 'lpr -r -o ColorModel=Auto';
    removing this file when they've finished. It's easier to create a file from matlab and use another program (e.g. acroread or evince) to send the file to the printers.


  • Octave commands not found - user-defined functions can suddenly become undefined to Octave though typing "dir" shows the student m-file in the working directory. Solution - Try typing rehash in Octave. Failing that, try closing Octave terminal window, open a new terminal window and start Octave in it. [Apr 2011]
  • using PCB (from the gEDA suite) - can't save! message - Open the *.pcb file in your text editor of choice and on line 17 it reads
    Edit this line to read
    Save, close and open in PCB to find problem solved (ajf58). [May 2009]
  • Abaqus mesh problems - if run on the Linux Servers it loops when drawing the mesh. Try running it under Windows. Then try it on the DPO terminal.
  • Evolution - a mailer called Evolution is used by default in some situations that are beyond our control currently.
  • Konqueror doesn't work well as a WWW browser - access to BT webmail fails, etc - use Firefox; we haven't configured Konqueror fully
  • java incompatibility with javac - if you compile a Java program with javac it won't run with java - you'll get
       Exception in thread "main" java.lang.UnsupportedClassVersionError: Bad 
       version number in .class file at java.lang.ClassLoader.defineClass1(Native Method)
    The solution is to type /usr/java/default/bin/java rather than just java.

Linux File Browser and Desktop

  • File Browser blindness - a file with a name like "" doesn't show in the file browser, even with the View menu's hidden files option enabled. The Search button can't find it either. The fix is to enable the backup files option in Preferences, then do some refreshing of the file browser window
  • Search - if you search for *.mat it won't treat the asterisk as a wildcard character. To find all files with .mat in their name, just search for .mat. To search for a file whose name is exactly .mat, search for ".mat"


  • Firefox not starting - if Firefox isn't closed properly, it might refuse to start the next time (you can't even create a New Profile). Type unblockfirefox on a command line.


  • Grey rectangles - if you type "cd" at the matlab prompt then hit F1 you'll get a grey rectangle. This should contain documentation (and it does on Windows). If you click in another window, then in the grey window, the proper contents will appear. The problem's caused by a conflict between Java and the window manager - see Why does MATLAB start with a blank grey window when using a Compiz or Beryl window manager?
  • When displaying something on Matlab with the plot function, it seems that the mouse position is detected with a constant horizontal offset on Cent OS. This occurs e.g. when choosing the area where to zoom, or when using the data cursor to select a data point on a graph. (So e.g. after typing 'image;', click the 'zoom in' button.) Similar problems are reported on - No fix known, but the problen might go away if you use xfce as an alternative wm. If you then revert to the default window manager the problem might have disappeared.


  • Big ~/.xsession-errors file - if a program without a window tries to display text, the output's diverted into ~/.xsession-errors. Because of the way we've set things up, some text is added to this file each time users log in at a graphics terminal. That's harmless, but if users accidentally write a program that endlessly prints numbers out, and they start the program by clicking on its icon (rather than typing its name on the command line), the output will go into ~/.xsession-errors until there's no space left. [Added April 2011]