Remote Access to the Unix AAtDB database using X-windows
Remote access to the full Unix version of AAtDB is now available to
computers with a good Internet network connection and X-windows
software. This means that most Unix workstations using OpenWindows,
Motif, or any of a large number of other windowing environments based
on MIT's X-windows can access a remote server that will display the
graphic interface of AAtDB on the local computer's display. For
personal computers a variety of commercial X-windows emulation
software is available: Macintosh users can purchase eXodus (White Pine
Software) or MacX (Apple Computer), MS Windows users can use Vista
eXceed plus (Hummingbird Communications) or DESQview/X (Quarterdeck
The basic procedure is to login on the host weeds.mgh.harvard.edu
using the username 'aatdb'; no password is required. If you are on a
Unix X-windows workstation you will need to issue the following
command before connecting with the server:
% xhost weeds.mgh.harvard.edu
The above command is required to allow the AAtDB server to create and
display windows on your computer. After login you will be asked two
questions about your computer: (1) do you have a color monitor, and
(2) do you need to change the hostname. If you are using an
X-terminal, a special device that displays X-windows graphics, you
will need to change the hostname to the hostname of the X-terminal.
If your computer has a color monitor and is not an X-terminal you can
use the login name "c-aatdb". This login name is also useful for some
of the X-windows software on personal computers.
An example setup for a Macintosh computer running MacX follows. We are
assuming you have already installed the MacX software and the MacTCP
(a) Increase the memory partition for MacX using the "Get Info" option
to greater than 4000K, more is needed for systems with large color
(b) Start MacX. Double click on the MacX icon which looks like a
waiter's hand supporting a plater containing a large X.
(c) Under the Remote menu select "New Command". Only two things need
to be entered in the resulting window:
Command Name: AAtDB
(d) Click on the Execute at Startup box. Then click on the "Host..."
button. Enter the host name as: weeds.mgh.harvard.edu and then click
on the OK button.
(e) To test the connection click on the Execute button. When asked
for the password simply press the OK button.
On a very fast network connection to Boston about 15 seconds will pass
before AAtDB displays it's Main window. On a very slow connection it
will take several minutes for the Main window to be presented. The
startup is one of the slowest parts. After the Main Window and Main
KeySet are open you can begin using AAtDB. This remote access is known
to function, albeit slowly, via dialin network connections such as
SLIP and AppleTalk Remote Access with MacTCP is used. These remote
dialin services are available from many Universities as well as
commercial network providers.
Running AAtDB remotely in this manner requires a fair amount of
network resources. It is best to setup a local copy of AAtDB on your
campus or at least within your regional network. Providing remote
X-windows access to AAtDB is an experiment. This service will be
refined and changed as the demand for and our experience with this
AAtDB (An Arabidopsis thaliana Database) uses the ACEDB software
developed by Richard Durbin (MRC-LMB, U.K.) and Jean Thierry-Mieg
(CNRS, France). The AAtDB project is funded by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture Plant Genome Research Program through the National
Agricultural Library. The AAtDB project is staffed by members of the
Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital and
Harvard Medical School, Boston USA. Questions regarding any of the
services provided by the AAtDB Project should be sent to
curator at frodo.mgh.harvard.edu.