Caucus How-To: Access to Text Interface
Last revised 24 February 2000.

I. Introduction

Prior to the explosion of the World-Wide-Web, there was a "text-only" interface to Caucus that used menus and commands to navigate through conferences.  This "text" interface is still available, although quite dated and considerably less powerful than the web interface.  Nonetheless, you may occasionally find it useful for certain purposes.  (For example, some folks with visual disabilities may find it easier to use the text interface with an automatic "reader" program that speaks the text out-loud.)

This FAQ describes how to provide access to the text interface, so that it uses the same list of userids and passwords that control access to the web interface.  It assumes you know a moderate amount about Unix system administration (how to create userids) and Caucus administration.


II. Choose a Unix userid for access

Using the text interface requires 'telnet' or 'ssh' (secure shell) access to a Unix userid.  All of the users who want to access the text interface must be able to login to that userid. 

You should choose or create a Unix userid dedicated specifically to this purpose -- do not use the "caucus" id (the userid where Caucus was installed) for this purpose.  This new userid should be set up to automatically run the Caucus text interface on login.

For example, assume that the Caucus userid is "caucus", installed in /home/caucus.  Assume that the dedicated text interface is "tcaucus".  Set tcaucus to execute the following shell commands on login:

TERM=vt100; export TERM
stty erase "^h"
stty echoe
stty intr "^C"
exec /home/caucus/BIN2/caucus_x /home/caucus -y text.opt

(One way to do this is to insert these commands at the bottom of the appropriate shell profile file for tcaucus -- typically ".profile" or ".bash_profile" or something similar, depending on what shell tcaucus runs on login.)

If you've set this up properly, you won't even need a password for tcaucus -- anyone can login to tcaucus, but then are prompted for their individual Caucus id and password.


III. Create the Caucus options file

The last shell command in the previous section runs the text interface program "caucus_x" with the options file "text.opt".  This file must be created with the proper options.

Login to the Unix "Caucus" id (in this example assumed to be "caucus").  Create the file text.opt in the home directory (e.g. "/home/caucus"), containing the lines:

This assumes that you are using the default name and type of web password file "caucus_passwd".  If you are using a different password scheme, this may not work.  If you are using a different name for the standard Caucus password file, just change the name appropriately in text.opt.

For more information about the meaning of the options in text.opt, see the comments in the file master.opt in the same directory.


IV. Test It

At this point you should be able to telnet or ssh to your host, login as "tcaucus", and then enter the text Caucus interface with an existing web Caucus id and password.  Test it! 

If something goes wrong, use "echo" to confirm that the shell commands for tcaucus are being executed properly.  Additional debugging output can be displayed by adding a " -d" to the end of the "caucus_x" command line.