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An Update on ASIS and ASISUpdate

  Alain Peyrat and Philippe Defert CN/DCI

The complete documentation is available as ``ASIS, the User's and reference guide'' (formerly ``ASIS, the Installer's Guide'') from the User Consultancy Office or at the URLs

A brief description

ASIS contains ``ready-to-use'' software that can be freely distributed at CERN and in the High Energy Physics community. It contains no commercial licensed software. For convenience, the software is divided into families the main ones of which are CERNLIB, the CERN Program Library, CERN specific software, SHIFT, GNU, TeX, TCL, X11, etc...

Using ASISUpdate and EPIP

On the CERN site, the ASIS repository is available on both distributed file systems: AFS, the Andrew File System and NFS, the networked file system. It is replicated on some AFS Servers and on one NFS server. The situation may be different in other HEP centres. Outside users can access it also via anonymous ftp on

ASISUpdate is the follow-up of the script ``make_asis'' developed by R. Többicke. This script created links to every file in the /afs/ tree from /usr/local. The main improvement is that ASISUpdate is aware of the structure and the contents of every package. The creation of the links is decided by consulting the ASIS database which records all products and versions. ASISUpdate thus allows access to old or new versions or to copy packages selectively. Moreover it supports AFS as well as NFS. The script can easily be configured for other sites.

The primary goal of ASISUpdate is to build the directories /usr/local for the UNIX programs and, in the near future, /cern for the CERN Program Library utilities, on a workstation in such a way that all users of that workstation can run the UNIX and CERNLIB tools in a reliable mode. By default, ASISUpdate creates links from /usr/local towards the distributed file systems /afs/ or /nfs/ for all packages introduced in production in these categories. It optimizes the number of links, by linking to directories wherever possible instead of creating one link per file. ASISUpdate never overwrites files that do not belong to an ASIS product but will report the collisions to the system administrator using electronic mail.

As the ASIS repository evolves rapidly, links should be updated every night. System administrators should edit the ``crontab'' of their workstation to insert a line for ASISUpdate.

The behaviour of ASISUpdate can be altered by giving it a configuration file. The configuration options can be:

EPIP, the Easy Product Installation Procedure, is an X-windows application that allows a system manager to edit the configuration file of ASISUpdate for his station. It is in fact the only way to edit such a file. It can also execute ASISUpdate and edit the crontab of your host to execute the updates every night.

The full description of EPIP, including examples of its use, is contained in the ASIS documentation. In addition, EPIP is self documented. When the cursor is in any of the EPIP windows, if the F1 or Help key is pressed, a text window will display an explanation on what is pointed to by the cursor and the operations that can be performed with it. Thus, placing the cursor on the menu bar of the main window displayed below (Fig. 3.1) and hitting F1 pops up the list of all possible operations in EPIP.

The configuration edit window is also shown below (Fig. 3.2) and it gives a nice overview of all the possible options that can be changed in the behaviour of ASISUpdate. Asking for help in this window will give a description on these options.

ASISUpdate Primer

Installation of ASISUpdate for the first time is described in,

and also the end of the guide. It also tries to give some hints about what to do when problems arise.


next up previous
Next: ListBox Service for Up: Desktop Computing Previous: Why transition tools?

Janne Saarela
Fri May 19 16:03:15 METDST 1995