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Nyx List of Frequently Asked Questions

** If you have a question that's not on this list, use 'fb' (feedback) on the main menu to ask (which posts it to the nyx.help newsgroup). If that fails, send email to 'support'.


Why can't I seem to create an account?

Common problems include creating an account but not being able to log in because of a "time out" -- this means Nyx is rather busy -- try using that login/password later. Another common problem is when the 'new' program says it can't find a suitable login name; this usually means you or your communications program sent extra characters to one of the questions and it got your name messed up. Note, for instance, the yes/no questions require only 'y' or 'n' and no carriage return; under some (not fully understood) circumstances this can cause this error. Please do NOT use anything other than letters in the name.

How can I get validated or get a shell? And how long does it take?

See the "authorization" form in the val menu, 'a' option or 'ac' option. It requires EITHER that you visit someone in person, OR that you mail a *notarized* copy of the form with a photocopy of a picture id or a *personal* check written out to Nyx Net.

Validations received in the mail are processed once a week.

It's taking a long time to get (re)validated, have I been forgotten?

Probably not. Since we are all volunteers we get behind some times. If it has been more than 4 weeks, please send feedback (fb) to support.

I forgot my password, what do I do?

It is your responsibility to remember you password. You cannot get the "old" account back if you have forgotten your password. Resetting passwords is time consuming and a potential security problem. The Nyx administrators will not do it.

Follow these steps if you have forgotten your password:

1. First try all the old passwords you can think of. Try variations on those old passwords. Maybe you had a ! rather than a *. Remember that Nyx ignores all characters after the first 8 characters.

2. If you still cannot figure out the password, you can get a new account validated off the old one. To do this log in as 'new', create a new account, do a revalidation from that account. You can do the revalidation either on-line or by submitting new validation materials.

In late 1999, Nyx did a purge of accounts, and some validated accounts were accidentally purged.  If you believe your account was affected, contact Terry Knab, tknab for assistance.  He may be able to restore your account, and do not use the above procedure

Every time I change my password it reverts to the old one the next day

Always change your password (and user information) on nyx itself. nyx10 copies nyx's password file each night so if you only perform any changes on nyx10 they will be wiped out by the next morning.

Can I get a 2nd (anonymous/non-anonymous) account?

If you have a anonymous account, you may have a regular account or vice versa. However, you are only allow _one_ anonymous account and _one_ regular account based on your name. You are not allowed to have an account "for a friend". Have your friend get their own account.

To validate a second account by log in as 'new', create the second account, then do val/reval and tell it all the info, giving your existing account's revalidation password (and make sure you specify which account that it is for).

Do accounts expire?

If you keep using your account it will last as long as Nyx lasts. However, if you do not log into your account for over 90 days it will be considered abandoned and may be deleted.

Since popmail does not update the the last login file, users who mostly use Nyx for popmail should log in at least once every month or two so that their account won't seem abandoned and be deleted.

Do you have any documentation on Nyx?

Not really. See the info menu for starters. See also the comm/news/doc menu for information on NetNews, and the comm/internet menu. Some of the programs on Nyx have on-line manuals which are usually available by typing 'help' in any given menu. Beware, though, that some programs (like 'rn', 'nn') have manual pages in the neighborhood of 100 pages!

The best advice is just to try things. You can also ask question in nyx.help and the friendly folks there may help you out. (To try posting, post to the group named "nyx.test".)

Can I have a web page? What browsers does Nyx support?

Yes, you can have a page, but keep in mind the space limitations (currently 2 megabytes per account). We have a separate machine just for WWW service, your URL is: http://www.nyx.net/~yourlogin. Note in particular that if your page is TOO popular (gets a disproportionate amount of the hits, e.g., 2% or more of all Nyx web traffic) then you may have your pages limited in viewing hours to 1am-5am MST. You'll be notified if this is going to happen (it won't happen without your knowledge).

For instructions on how to create your webpage, see the WebFAQ on Nyx's homepage. Use Lynx to read it.

Nyx itself only supports the text browser, 'lynx'. Other people can see your web pages with Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer, etc., but you can only see it (and other pages) in text mode (unless you have an account somewhere *else* that you can run a graphical browser from). It is important not to confuse the browser itself with your own pages, which may contain graphics (but the browser you use may not be able to display them, even though they're there for others to see). That may sound confusing, just ask in nyx.help if you need assistance.

How do you pronounce 'nyx'?

It is officially pronounced like "nicks" or "nix", i.e., rhymes with Unix. Nyx is in reality the name of the Greek mythological "spirit of the night", and is the root word for "night". In Greek it's pronounced differently, but rhyming with Unix is more important in this case! (But no, it's not an acronym for anything; so it's not proper to call it "en why ex" or spell it N.Y.X. -- it's just "Nyx".)

I sometimes have problems logging in, why?

Well, Nyx is currently comprised of five machines, Nyx, Nox (nyx10), Arachne (web), and Noc (mail), plus Iris (news). One or more of the machines go down some times. Since Nyx runs without attendance, a machine will usually stay down till a volunteer can reboot the machine. We have some remote reboot capability which speeds things up quite a bit. We have dns1, which serves up the name stuff for Nyx now, too.

What are the usage limits on Nyx?

Nyx has very limited resources. Users are asked to adhere to the following limits:

Home directories: 100 k Web directories: 500 k

Time on-line: approximately 1 hour per day.

Can I use ssh?

No. Nyx cannot currently withstand the load of users using ssh. So ssh is currently restricted to administrators.

I get a 60 second timeout trying to give a password

Yes, this means Nyx is awfully busy (if it takes more than a minute to search through a 500k file, that's a slooooow system). Think of it as a built in limit to how busy Nyx gets -- it refuses to let other people on to make it even busier. Also, because of repeated vandalisms, we had to convert to a "shadow password file", the main drawback of which is to slow down logins. If you see "RPC timed out" during login, this is that. Just try later.

Another possibility is that you're not set to 8N1 communication parameters. Not using that currently hangs at the "Password:" prompt.

Why do I have so much disk usage?

If you don't think you use hardly any disk space, but get a note saying you do, run the 'du2' option on the status menu. If you have a file named 'core', it's ok to delete that (it's just the "corpse" of a program that crashed; they get deleted daily anyway). Also note that various games you can save (e.g., rogue) produce largish files when you save the game. You'll see a file called ".." that may be large -- that doesn't count, it isn't part of your total (that's the directory above your directory; it's large because it has lots of user directories listed in it!).

ALSO NOTE that the 'du' commands report in "blocks", not in K. A block may be anywhere from 512 bytes to 8192 bytes, depending on various things. You can use the 'f'ile menu, 'dir' command to see file sizes in bytes. (Currently, it reports in ***> 4K <*** units for home directories.)

Otherwise -- look at each file listed by du2, remove the big ones. (We'd say "big" is anything over 50k.)

If your .newsrc file is "big", then edit it and remove lines for newsgroups you don't read. If you don't read news, remove the file entirely. You can trim out unread groups by running the command "trimnewsrc", available as 'trim' in the news menu.

Where should I store large files? What's my "official temp dir"?

Please see the info menu, disk use policies document for extensive details. From a shell, that's /nyx/info/disk.usage.

How can I recover from file deletions because of disk space abuse?

If you get the infamous 'auto deletion' of files because you exceeded the limit... (a) read the mail you were sent more closely. (b) have a look at the .login and .cshrc files in /nyx/skel, as yours were probably deleted. (Only applies if you use csh or tcsh; you'll need to recreate your own if you use a different shell.) [Yes, .login & such files are deleted too, since some folks just don't get it, hide big files there, etc.]

As for restoring files from backups, see the faq question for why the answer is 'no'...

How can I access the binaries/pictures newsgroups?

They're now available on iris like any other group

How can I change my shell (or get 'menus' back)?

Assuming you're validated (if not, see above), run /nyx/bin/ChangeShell from the shell (or put '!' in front if in the menus) and it'll ask you which shell you want. Note that this applies if you want to get the menus back at login time -- the menus are the first "shell" on the list this command will show you ("..../menuloginsh").

Program XYZ doesn't seem to work right

Drop a note to admin@nyx.net and/or post a note about it in the "nyx.misc" newsgroup so others who might be able to get to it more quickly can hear about it. Post to nyx.help if you think it's something you're doing wrong; post to nyx.projects if you want to get involved in getting a new program up.

Can I run daemons/bots/backround/cron/at jobs?

Only with permission. Most such entities consume far more RAM than we can spare. If they are run without permission they will be killed upon notice and your account shut off. Permission can be obtained by sending mail to admin@nyx.net.

Please note that requests for IRC bots will be denied.

All cron/at jobs require permission. Send mail to admin@nyx.net.

Games with daemons will *only* be run on Nyx10 (and only with approval). MUDs are not currently allowed to be run on Nyx.

The problem is that these all consume resources even when you're not logged in, and are hard to regulate. The question is "what if all N-thousand Nyx users did the same thing?" In most cases the answer would be that Nyx would be so slow nobody could log in.

Is there any better editor than 'smile'? Can I make it my default?


See the 'unix file access' menu, 'change default editor' option. --More--(59%)[Press space to continue, 'q' to quit.] We have pico, vi, GNU emacs, a couple emacs clones, and "smile", a Simple MIni Line Editor. Also, 'ee', a simple to use screen editor.

If you want a simple full screen editor, use 'pico' or 'ee'. If you want emacs, PLEASE consider using one of the clones, as they don't slow down the system as much.

Using the 'change default editor' will make this the editor that programs will call for you -- if you're using the menus. If you're using a shell, set the $EDITOR variable: In csh/tcsh, put "setenv EDITOR pico" in your .login; for sh/bash, put "EDITOR=pico; export EDITOR" in .profile.

Can I get a login name besides 'jsmith'?

Yes, get a semi-anonymous account. Log in as 'new'. It creates account names like 'anon0001'.

Otherwise, no. Nyx doesn't support aliases and we do not create special user names.

How do I get a signature in mail?

Use elm ('elm' on mail menu). In your .elm/elmrc file put "signature = $HOME/.signature". (Use the 'u' menu to edit this file. After you've run elm the first time to get it created.)

What terminal type should I use?

Nyx supports many terminal types, but we recommend that you use vt100. If you want to change it your terminal to something else, see the status/terminal menu.

Is it ok to subscribe to mailing lists?

There are two issues with mailing lists: (1) it wastes resources if there are multiple recipients on Nyx and (2) if your account expires someone has to deal with cancelling your subscription.

To address primarily the first of these, the guidelines for subscribing to a mailing list are:

- First, make sure we don't already get it! Look for a newsgroup in the mail.* hierarchy that looks like the one you want. If not, next step is...

- Post a note to nyx.misc, say what mailing list you're thinking of getting, and ask if anyone else is either getting it or would be interested in it.

- If you get three or more (you plus two other) interested users, send mail to newsadmin@nyx.net, and request a mail.* local group for it. After the group is set, you can then subscribe, giving the list maintainer a mailing address supplied to you.

- If nobody else cares, subscribe for yourself.

- Then, watch nyx.misc for others who might at some point ask about that same list; maybe later it has enough interest to become a local mail.* group.

Some programs don't use the screen right, what's wrong? --More--(68%)[Press space to continue, 'q' to quit.]

Make sure your terminal type is set correctly (probably vt100), both on Nyx and at your end. See question above about terminal types.

Why doesn't my backspace key work?

It might be sending out "delete" (ascii 127) not "backspace" (ascii 8). Either fix your end to send out backspace, or see the status/terminal menu for a temporary fix.

If you can't set your end, type control-H. If you're a shell user, set your "erase" character with "stty" in your .login type file.

I have problems with downloading

The most common problems with downloads not working involve one of:

- XON/XOFF being turned on at your end -- turn it off. - MNP modems; turn off your MNP, especially if using Zmodem. - Parity problem; try using both 8N1 and 7E1. - Telnet; you can't reliably use kermit/x/y/zmodem over a telnet connection; instead, 'ftp' from your end into Nyx -- see below for the directory to go to. - Direct modem users now go through a terminal server, which bothers zmodem; using the zmodem "-w 1024" option should help (as in, sz -b -w 1024 filename from the shell; the menus do this automatically).

Note that the version of kermit on here is very slow; we suggest avoiding it.

How can I up/download using ftp?

For uploading, put files into /nyx/lib/download/new, then log in and label the files by using the "label uploads" option in the upload menu or run the program "/nyx/bin/upload label". Also make sure the file is readable to others!

On a related note, dial-in users might want to do in one step the two step proces of (1) ftp file to nyx; (2) download from Nyx via modem. You *can* do this, like this:

- Ftp to the place, get ready to say "get filename" but don't do it. - Instead, say, get filename "|ONAME=filename sz -b -" for a binary file; for an ascii file, say "-a" instead of "-b". This uses zmodem to send you the file right as it's ftp'd. To use ymodem, use "sb" instead of "sz", and "sx" for xmodem, like: get read.me "|ONAME=read.me sb -a -" would download an ascii file named "read.me" using ymodem (ymodem <b>atch, hence the 'b' in sb).

I have a shell, but what path should I have?

Make sure /nyx/bin and /usr/local/bin are on your list; user supplied programs are in /nyx/user/bin. Games are in /nyx/games (same as /usr/games).

Can I get a file back from the backups?

Sorry, no.

How can I find so&so at site such&such?

Try the World Wide Web. Many web search engines have parts that allow you search for users.

How can I get my XYZ terminal to work with Nyx?

Suppose you have an "xyz" type terminal. If Nyx has an XYZ terminal type in the /etc/termcap file, then do just the lines below that refer to "TERM" and ignore those about TERMCAP.

If not, grab the termcap from your system that works (edit out the ones for terminal types you don't use to save space); load it onto Nyx as a file named ".termcap" then edit the file ".termtype" so it says: xyz Then, at your next login, all should work if you use the menu system.

If you use a shell other than the menus, in the csh/tcsh you'd put this in your .login: setenv TERMCAP $HOME/.termcap setenv TERM XYZ In a Bourne type shell, in .profile: TERMCAP=$HOME/.termcap TERM=XYZ export TERMCAP TERM

If you're having a problem with just the size of the screen (e.g., you're using a nonstandard size, like an xterm), try (from .login or whatever): stty rows 35 or however many rows on the screen. (Also, 'cols'.) The default, you se, is to use whatever your termcap size for #lines/cols, which is where the confusion arises.

Can I forward my mail elsewhere?

Yes, put your preferred address (say, jsmith@foo.bar.edu) into a file named ".forward" (dot forward) in your home directory. Then TEST IT to verify it works (or you may lose your mail). It'll be your problem if you lose all your mail because your forward fails...!

Only validated users can do this. Preview users absolutely cannot have forward files -- get validated!

Why doesn't my .plan file work with finger?

You need to make it readable to the world (mode '644') *and* make your directory searchable to the world, such as mode 711. So, do chmod 711 $HOME chmod 644 $HOME/.plan or equivalent.

Are multiple logins ok? Can I use 'screen'?

No, restrict yourself to just one session and login. Use job control to get several activities going at once within that one session. Please do not use screen.

Can I set options for 'rn' (or trn)? And quit showing new groups?

Yes, put them into a file named .rninit in your home directory.

To have rn quit showing you all the new groups when it starts up, do "rn -q".

Note that rn is really trn (threaded rn). If you want "normal" rn behavior, start it as "rn +x".

Can you carry newsgroup xxx.yyy?

If there is a particular newsgroup you would like to see please post it to nyx.misc, or contact newsadmin@nyx.net for assistance.

How do I remove (or do other things with) files?

Use the 'unix file menu', 'u' from the main menu. It has delete, etc.

I created an extra account, what should I do?

Do nothing; it will expire 90 days or so after you last used it.

How can I find out what a particular menu command does?

Read the menu files -- /nyx/lib/menus/*.men. Commands are at the bottom.

Where can I get a copy of the menu program?

Contact Terry Knab, tknab for this request.

Is program 'XYZ' on here? If not, can it be installed?

Our (your admin team's) time is limited, but we fully encourage cooperation among the users to install new software. We created a newsgroup, nyx.projects, specifically for this purpose. There are lots of Unix hacker-types on here, or those who want to learn to be, so we let them deal with installing non-essential software. Just post a note and ask, or volunteer to help. There's a posting in there with "system rules" as far as directories to use, etc. We check it and post answers to hard questions. Think of it as a way of contributing your time to Nyx.

Can I install a MUD (or other M*)?

Please, no.

What is your position on pirated software?

Absolutely not tolerated. If you see any on here, send a note to admin@nyx.net immediately what file it is so it can be removed. Our policy is to remove all illegal software when it comes to our attention, so please don't upload any such. Nyx is genuinely not the place for that. Remember that Nyx is run by a non-profit corporation -- Nyx *really* *truly* is *not* a pirate board.

So, to summarize: If you see anything illegal, let admin@nyx.net know so we can remove it.

Can I get newsfeed/nntp/uucp/slip/MX service? Store huge files? Etc.
Can I set up Term/TIA/other fake ip-services?
What's the best way to download my news so I can read it off-line?

No, Nyx doesn't have the resources for anything like this. If you need something like this you should subscribe to a commercial service.

And please don't try to circumvent this by, e.g., saving up all your news & downloading it. It amounts to a newsfeed.

Why don't you charge for Nyx?

Nyx run by a non-profit, tax exempt (501(c)(3)) corporation. Our purpose is to provide Unix and Internet access to those who cannot afford a commercial service and/or want access for charitable, educational, scientific or other non-profit purposes.

On the other hand, we are most happy to take donations. See the 'fund' item on the main menu for how/what/where etc. (Donations are tax deductible.)

What can I do to help out?

How can I access my Nyx email without logging in?

If you prefer to use a local mail reader on your box, and are dialing into another ISP and accessing Nyx through the net, you can use the POP3 protocol to read your mail from nyx locally.

Configure your mail software to use the address 'pop.nyx.net' as the server from which to download messages. You need to leave the SMTP setting set to whatever your ISP provides you for outgoing e-mail access, if you want to be able to send email from your local computer.

Send mail to webmaster@nyx.net with questions or comments about this web site.

Copyright © 1999 - 2000 Nyx Net
Last modified: March 02, 2000