We currently use version 7.3 of the Red Hat distribution of the GNU/Linux operating system. Our kernel is Linux, version 2.4.18-5.

About a thousand packages are included in the Red Hat distribution, classified in the following ``package groups'':

and we support another 150 or so from other sources. Here are some of the programs that you're most likely to encounter and use:

The graphical user interface

The graphical user interface for most MathLAN users is GNOME (version 1.4). It is based on the GIMP Toolkit (GTK+), which in turn is built on top of the XFree86 implementation of the X Window System, and uses the Sawfish window manager.

The GNOME project also supplies a variety of application programs that also use the GIMP toolkit. Here are some of the commonly used applications:

Mathematical software

MathLAN supports several large systems of mathematical software:

Programming languages

MathLAN directly supports the development of software in the following programming languages:

MathLAN also provides a number of object-code and source-code libraries for programmers.

Document preparation

Most documents and programs created on MathLAN are generated and revised with the XEmacs text editor, version 21.4.6. We also support the GNOME editor, gedit, version 0.9.7; the vi (actually vim) editor, version 6.1; the AbiWord word processor, version 0.99.5; and the suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation manager, graphics, etc.), version 1.0.

Many of our documents, particularly those with mathematical content, are formatted and typeset by TeX (Donald E. Knuth), version 3.14159. MathLAN supports an extensive collection of TeX-related software, including the METAFONT font-construction program (Knuth), version 2.7182; the LaTeX formatting macros (Leslie Lamport), version 2epsilon; the dvips program (Tom Rokicki), version 5.86, for converting device-independent TeX output into PostScript document descriptions; the xdvi program (Paul Vojta), version 22.05d-k, for previewing documents typeset by TeX; and the latex2html program (Nikos Drakos), version 2002 (1.62), for converting LaTeX documents to HTML

For the development of Web documents, MathLAN supports the Amaya editor/browser, version 6.2.

The a2ps program (Akim Demaille), version 4.13b, translates source files in many different formats into PostScript document descriptions, so that they can be printed. It provides many formatting options.

PostScript document descriptions can be processed and displayed on MathLAN with the Ghostscript and Ghostview software (Aladdin Enterprises). We are currently running version 6.52 of Ghostscript and version 3.5.8 of Ghostview.

Our interactive spelling checker is International Ispell (Geoff Kuenning), version 3.1.20.

We use Antiword, version 0.32, to obtain plain text versions of Microsoft Word files.

For version control, MathLAN provides the GNU Project's Revision Control System, version 5.7, and the Concurrent Versions System, version 1.11.1p1.

For file compression, we recommend and support the GNU Project's gzip software, version 1.3.3.

Files compressed in the .zip format widely used on MS-DOS computers can be recovered with the UnZip utilities (Info-Zip), version 5.41.

For encryption, we recommend and support GNU Project's GNU Privacy Guard, version 1.0.6.

The Internet

Our primary browser for HTML documents is Mozilla, version 0.9.9, although we also support Netscape Communicator (Netscape Communications Corporation), version 4.79; Opera, version 6.03; and Lynx, version 2.8.4. MathLAN also provides the Adobe Acrobat Reader (Adobe Systems Incorporated), version 5.0.5, and the xpdf viewer (Derek B. Noonburg), version 1.00.

Our Usenet supplier is Supernews; point your newsreader at We read Usenet through the Gnus subsystem in XEmacs, version 1.58.

Hypertext documents published on MathLAN are distributed from by means of the Apache hypertext server, version 1.3.19. Server support is provided for documents using the Common Gateway Interface, the Secure Socket Layer, the PHP hypertext preprocessor, and Perl.

For remote login, command execution, and file transfer, we use the OpenBSD project's implementation of the SSH (``secure shell'') protocol, OpenSSH, version 3.1p1.

Alternatively, MathLAN supports a Kerberos authentication server ( and client software on each workstation (version 5, release 1.2.4). Like OpenSSH, Kerberos provides encrypted remote login and remote command execution services.


Our main tool for developing and processing images is the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP), version 1.2.3.

MathLAN also supports three simpler tools for developing diagrams and abstract graphics: XPaint (David Koblas and Torsten Martinsen), version 2.6.2; XCircuit (R. Timothy Edwards)), version 2.5.4; and Xfig (Brian V. Smith), version 3.2.3c. Xfig comes with a conversion program, fig2dev, which converts Xfig's output files to various other formats.

Graphic images in many formats can be displayed, edited, and converted from one format to another with the ImageMagick package, version 5.4.3. MathLAN also supports the special-purpose gif2png utility (Eric S. Raymond), version 2.4.5, which converts image files from the proprietary GIF format to the free PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format.


In addition to bash, two other shells (command interpreters) are supported:

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created June 14, 1995
last revised May 26, 2003

John David Stone (