The l2h help pages   © Leon van Dommelen 
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Installing and using l2h without a GUI

A GUI (graphical User Interface) allows you to do things like double-click icons of files and folders and such. This web page is for people without a GUI. If you run l2h on your own computer, you probably have a GUI and do not need this web page. However, if you run l2h on a remote computer using a terminal program such as "Putty" or "ssh", you have no GUI. This web page explains how to use l2h under those conditions.

You should still be following the instructions for GUI users, but make some substitutions in them.

As example, I will use a FAMU-FSU College of Engineering member who wants to use the COE "wolf" computer to run l2h. (One advantage of using wolf is that you do not have to install LaTeX, ghostview, or perl; wolf already has them. If your remote computer does not have these, ask whoever is operating the computer whether they can install them. Non Microsoft remote computers also need tcsh, as /usr/bin/tcsh, and info-zip's unzip, see below. Either type of remote computer might also need wget below if you cannot do the same another way. All that software is free.) Wolf does not have XeLaTeX, but in the USA, or most of Western Europe, you are unlikely to need it.

(Note that it may seem that you do have a GUI when using one of the COE lab computers. After all, you have a "Z" disk in "My Computer", and you can click icons on that disk. The problem with that is that clicking an icon on the Z disk would process it on the lab computer. It needs to be processed on wolf.)

You would use "Putty" (or some equivalent software like telnet or ssh) on your local computer to connect to wolf, or whatever the remote computer is called. Typically, you must tell this software what machine you want to connect to; "wolf" in the example. You will also have to provide your user name on the remote machine, and you will be prompted for your password. Your Putty or whatever window should be at least 24 lines of 80 characters. (Or 25 lines if the remote machine is a Microsoft one.)

The location where you are when you have just logged in to the remote is called your "home" location. To see it spelled out, use the "pwd" command. (Or for a remote Microsoft computer, use "cd".) Now you want to download the correct version of l2h to this home location.

Use the general instructions, and your knowledge of the remote machine, to figure out the correct l2h version. For example, since wolf is a Debian 686-64 machine, the correct version to get there is "". (If needed, ask the system operators.) You can get a copy of using the command

Wait for it to download and then use the "ls" command to see that all of it is there. (For a Microsoft remote, get "l2h_MS.exe". To see whether it has arrived on the remote machine, use the "dir" command.) If the remote computer does not have "wget", you could ask the operators to install it. Alternatively, you might already know a way to get the l2h_... file to the remote machine if you download it to your local machine. For example, using a COE lab computer, you can simply save it to your Z drive when downloading it.

The "l2h_..." file that you have obtained is an archive. L2h is inside and you have to extract it. The command is

unzip l2h_....
(If the file name ends in .exe instead of .zip, like for Microsoft, leave away the "unzip". If not, if it says that "unzip" is not found, ask the operators to install info-zip's zip and unzip.) You should be seeing a long list of files being extracted and end up with a folder l2h.

"Go into" that folder, using the command

cd l2h
Then you need to install l2h by using the command
(For Microsoft use "call .\install", without the quotes.) Answer the queries, normally by simply hitting the Enter key. (Also called the Return key on some keyboards.)

Assuming everything went OK, l2h should try to show you the "how_to_get_started" web page. That however is quite likely to fail without a GUI. But it is no big deal. You can find it online at or using your local computer. In any case, to start your first document, copy the provided l2h example as

cp -pr example ../document_1
(For Microsoft use "xcopy example ..\document_1", as always without the quotes. The target is a directory.) (Feel free to change "document_1" into something more meaningful to you, like "My_thesis" or whatever.) Finally go back out of l2h with:
cd ..

It is time to check your installation and then to start changing the example into your own document. Do

source l2h/init.bat
cd document_1
call l2h_menu.desktop
(For Microsoft, use "call l2h\init.bat", "cd document_1", and "call l2h_menu.bat".) Note: you will need to repeat these 4 or 3 commands each time you log in to the remote computer.

The l2h menu will try to help you open up an editor to read, and later change, the document source. Unfortunately, these efforts are quite likely to be in vain. You will probably have to decline them by pressing "n" for "No". Instead, you may have some other way to edit file index.tex from your local computer. For example, FAMU-FSU users in a computer lab could load Notepad, then use "Open" from the "File" menu to open up their "Z" disk, then "document_1", and then the document source "index.tex". (Do not open up any LaTeX source with MS Word or anything like that.) Alternatively, you can open up a second Putty, telnet, ssh, or whatever window. In that window, do "cd document_1". Then try, say, "nano index.tex" or "pico index.tex", without the quotes. (For Microsoft remotes, try "notepad index.tex".)

(On wolf, l2h will in fact manage to open index.tex in nano. Or in emacs, for that matter. But it will run slow and have a font size and colors you may not like. Using Notepad or opening a second putty window and using "cd document_1" and "nano index.tex" in that window are much better options, in my opinion.)

The above modifications summarize pretty much all that is different when not using a GUI. In particular, where GUI users open folders, you "cd" into them. Where GUI users double click an icon in the folder, like l2h_menu, you type "call l2h_menu.desktop". (For Microsoft, you type "call l2h_menu.bat".) Pressing the Tab key is often a way of cutting down on the typing. Using "ls" ("dir/o/w" for Microsoft) allows you to see what is in the folder you are in. And "pwd" ("cd" for Microsoft) shows the folder name.

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