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Augment/NLS Installation and Setup (Smalltalk client)

Nicholas Carroll; edited by Doug Engelbart
Created: 10/26/2000
Last Updated: 5/2/2001

What It Is:

These are setup instructions for the Smalltalk Windows-environment interface to Augment/NLS, running on top of MS Windows. Essentially no changes have been made to the Augment backend, where all the basic processing is done for any significant operation. (As a tech note, Augment originally ran on a DEC 20, and currently runs on a DEC 20 emulator on top of a Sun Ultra).

The major difference – from the user point of view – is that the Smalltalk client has a choice of two layouts: 1. The original layout ("VAT-0", also called Normal mode), where the windows are in the "pane" style; the panes can be resized, but it still all lives in one big window frame. This emulates the old client in almost every respect 2. "VAT-1" provides a GUI window style and a mixed interface having features of both GUI menus and Augment's command-recognition command-line mode.


Windows 98 (95, 2000?) machine
15 mb disk space on C: drive
Modem and Internet access


There is no Microsoft "installation" needed; you just copy the files to disk, configure, and it runs.

1. Create the directory C:\vat\ (see this page for the complete directory structure.

2. Copy the contents of the CD to vat\    (If downloading the files, version.im must be downloaded in binary. All others can be downloaded in binary or ASCII. )

3. Create a desktop shortcut to C:\vat\bin\VWNT.EXE

4. Right-click the shortcut icon, select Properties. Add " c:\vat\dev7\version.im", so the target line looks like this:
C:\vat\bin\VWNT.EXE c:\vat\dev7\version.im

The other properties are:
Start in: c:\vat\dev7
Shortcut key: None
Run: Normal window

Screen shot of Properties dialog box below.

Screen shot of shortcut path

5. Apply the new settings and close the dialog box.

Configuring the .ini file

Open vat\dev7\augment.ini in a text editor. Here are the first 5 lines:

name=Nicholas Carroll

Replace "Nicholas Carroll" with your name.
Replace "carroll" with whatever id the sys ad gave you.
Replace "nc" with whatever ident the sys ad gave you.
And replace "user:carroll," with "user:[your-id]"

Opening and Logging in to Augment

1. Double click the "Shortcut to VWNT" icon. You will be presented with a dialog box more or less like the one below (with another, blank, window behind it).

Screen shot of Augment login box

2. Open an Internet connection. (To my knowledge the Smalltalk Augment has no dialup capacity.) I have had no trouble with the program finding winsock; it just happens.

3. Change the settings to look like the image below.

  1. Name: [your name]
  2. User Name: [whatever the sys ad gave you.] This is not the same as an Augment "Ident," which identifies authorship of documents internally.
  3. Password: [type any letter or two.] Augment will ask for your password later, during the login process.
  4. Check the "Let me connect 'by hand'" box.
  5. Choose "Augment Ultra Server"

Click "Continue." That window will close, and login process will begin in the AugTerm window, showing login to the TOPS-20 operating system, and providing a @ prompt. You are now at the "executive" level, not yet logged in. Here is an image of the login screen:

login screen

4. Before logging in, you should choose VAT-0 or VAT-1. The VAT system usually fires up in the "VAT-0" (Normal) mode. To select VAT-1:
Hit "F4"
Click on Settings>VAT Mode Settings
Then click on "New"

Personal Note: I've been using VAT-0 for three reasons: 1) It's truer to the original Augment/NLS interface, and that's the system that has 100,000 man-hours of work in it, 2) the VAT-1 Windows seem a bit squirrely, the menu commands aren't as reliable as the true Augment command line, and 3) I always preferred panes to windows anyway.

(Hitting "F4" AFTER you've booted into AUGMENT does something very different – for advance usage (later discussions).

5. Enter your username at the @ prompt, and hit Enter. Augment should connect and log in, then asking you for your password, as seen in the above image. Type that, hit Enter, and you should be logged in. (In Augment you won't see the cursor move as you type the password, nor will you see a line of "******" appear. The line just stays blank.)

After a brief initialization process, you should see a screen like this (if you've chosen VAT-0):

home page

Exiting Augment/NLS

Typing "logout job" at the C: prompt generally does the trick.

Note: after exiting, you will find a Visualworks window is still open (check the taskbar at the bottom of your Windows screen). This is a stubborn little beast; it can only be closed by selecting File>Exit VisualWorks>Exit. (Double-clicking the X, the conventional Windows "Close" command, merely spawns another window.)


Does Augment/NLS have to be placed in the C:\ drive, or can I use another drive?
For the moment, it has to be in C:\. There are several path statements pointing to C:\ in the executive files. I tried tweaking them over to other drives, but it was squirrely.

It doesn't work. What now?
Many experienced people have had trouble with Augment/NLS setup. You may be over-intellectualising. Instead, I recommend pummeling it into submission through trial-and-error. Go over the configuration again, re-check your file structure, etc....