ESCLinux manual

ESCLinux manual

Eric Forgeot

version française

The updated version of this manual should be located at


This live-cd was made for easily having at hand a system able to deal with two great activities: Interactive Fiction, and Abc musical notation.
Both are not really conveniant to carry on a traditional media, you have to install and configure several pieces of software before using them, especially if the target computer has no operating system designed and optimised for programmation.

The new, current, version of esclinux is based on Archlinux.
(Esclinux was previously based on Linux Live scripts and the Linux Debian operating system.)

This is the documentation for the new live-cd, it's derived from the previous one and is in a process of rewriting, therefore some informations in it may not longer be accurate. Until it's done, you can still use the old documentation which is located at the KDE edition 2008 part.

This live-cd is still in "beta quality", while most things should work, some others may require additional work. I'm still open to requests and suggestions.

L'ancienne traduction française n'a pas encore été révisée.

Instruction for use

Burn the iso image with your favorite burner software. If you don't have one and you're using windows, get cdburnerxp, it's easy to use for burning an ISO image.

You can also create a live usb key from the iso file. It's the prefered way to run Esclinux because it's much faster than a cd.
Just get unetbootin for windows or linux, insert an usb key in your computer, and select the esclinux iso to convert it to a live usb system.

You can also partition your usb key so you'll be able to save your work on this partition while using the live system. It's not possible to save directly on the partition running the live system or to save the working session (at the moment).

Gnome edition 2010

When you start this livecd, you will boot the linux kernel, and after that it will initialise a full graphical desktop, called "gnome". Even though it's quite intuitive, you can get further information on how to use it at

At the login screen, you can select your prefered language in the left bottom corner "options". You can choose between English (default), French, German, Italian, Spanish. If you change the language, you must explicitly enter the user name and password (see below), otherwise it won't be take into account.

Then just log in with the user "esclinux" and the password "esclinux" (or wait and it will autologin), and you're ready to use the desktop!

You can change the keyboard layout in the top right corner of the screen. If your keyboard is not available, just right click on the "USA" icon and select the keyboard options.

Most of the other features should be self explainable.


Archlinux is a rolling release distribution, always up to date. Therefore this version is providing recent and updated unix technologies.

If you just want to add a new package, open the terminal, type for example:

  yaourt abiword

then "1" to select the first package listed (should say "1 extra/abiword /.../ A fully-featured word processor"), enter the password ("esclinux"), and a few seconds later you have a word precessor in your menu! (only available for the running session and not persistant at the moment)

To learn more about archlinux and discover advanced commands, you may browse the very detailled wiki:

Interactive Fiction

Inform 6

The Inform 6 compiler is able to create great games! Just open a terminal (the black screen icon with a blue prompt >_ close to the "system" menu), and type:

  cd esclinux/games/inform
inform Heidi
gargoyle Heidi.z5

You've just compiled a game, and played it.

You can edit the script with

  geany Heidi.inf &

And compile it again with the inform Heidi command.

You can also run and compile a game from a makefile:

  cd esclinux/games/inform/rats
make all
make play
make clean

(this game is in French only)

You're not forced to type the full path with cd ####. You can open a terminal, type cd, and drag and drop your target folder from the file browser. You can edit the inform source files (.inf) from the file browser, and double-click on the games (.z5 or .z8) to run them with a correct interpreter.


Run alan /usr/share/alan/samples/cloak.alan -include /usr/share/alan/lib to compile your first game.
Run arun cloak.a3c to play it


Not tested yet.
Tadsc should compile tads2 games, while t3make should handle tads3 games.





Abc Notation



mkxcfg : configure X display




svn co svn+ssh://

svn co svn+ssh://

svn co svn://

svn co svn://

KDE edition 2008 (old)

Starting and general instructions

Please refer to or general linux documentations if you want to know more, because this live-cd was made in a similar way.
But note that the system behind it (the linux distribution, Debian) is slightly different and some commands and features may differ.

The first thing to know is about the security : Linux / unix systems are rather secure because they separate normal users from the administrator (called root). For the ease of use of this livecd, the password for the normal user "esclinux" is also "esclinux". The root password is "esclinux" too. This system is not secured on this issue on purpose, and while it's not a problem at all in the context of a livecd, if you install it on your hard drive, it's better to change the default passwords later. So if the system ask for some password, answer "esclinux" (without quotes).

After the system boot, you should arrive on the login manager. If you don't touch anything, it will automatically start the KDE desktop. You can test alternative desktops (such as enlightenment, fluxbox or windowmaker) in the >menu>session type) if you wish, but they are not really supported at the moment (menus shortcuts and such). You can also try to autoconfigure your graphical card for optimal display, go on >menu>console login.and then type xconf (not tested yet). Start again the graphical display with sudo kdm.

Please note also that this version uses a generic vesa display, and they can flicker on some hardware (i.e. no flat LCD screen). If your display is not confortable to use, as said before you can try to exit to the shell login from the 1st login menu, then log with esclinux / esclinux, and type "xconf" and it will try to load a better driver (this option is still in testing and development). If it doesn't work as expected, strike ctrl + alt + backspace %and type for using a common graphic display (less nice for the eyes)

On the KDE desktop, you can change your keyboard settings by right clicking your country flag in the bottom right of the screen.

You can change your keyboard mapping in console with the command "sudo kbd-config".

The starting menu is on the compass in the left bottom corner.

You can open applications from there (explore yourself the menus, they are self-explanatory) and you can also change general settings (mouse options, colors, background images...) from the Control center. Everything should be rather intuitive, even if you don't have knowledge in Linux.

If you don't have a dhcp server, you can also type "sudo" and it will give you the local ip and a DNS, if it doesn't work well change the DNS with your internet provider own DNS : " echo "nameserver ###.###.##.##" >> /etc/resolv.conf "

You can start the dhcp client with the command " dhclient ". It means the system will try to configure automatically the internet settings if you're being a DSL box or a LAN.

You can access this desktop from an other computer by using vnc. Start the vnc server by typing in a console "vncserver", and get your ip by typping "ifconfig". Your ip will be something like "inet addr:192.168.0.###" (depends on the dhcp server).
You can access the cd with a vnc client from another computer, or from a browser at the adress : http://192.168.your-ip-address:5801

You can also access the files from a windows samba share (browse the "esclinux" computer in the "workgroup" network), or from an other unix computer with ssh (use ssh -X -C esclinux@192.168.your-ip-address for exporting display)


This cdrom is safe to use : unless you do it on purpose, it can't affect an already installed system or files on the hard drive. But we can't offer any garanty for the safety of your data, so be sure to edit at first some backups files in the case a problem occurs. Be aware also that nothing which is copied in the /home/esclinux folder (or elsewhere on this live-system) is saved for a later session if you don't copy yourself your work on a mounted floppy, a partition or an usb key before rebooting or turning your computer off.

How to use this cdrom for creating or playing interactive fiction games ?

Note : most options are accessible from the menu. Underlined and italic names in this tutorial are commands you can run from a console. In the case you need the password for the "esclinux" user, this one is esclinux too.

You can open your work-in-progress games from a floppy, an usb key or even the hard drive. The application konqueror or xfe can access those drives, they are under the /mnt/floppy , /mnt/sda1, or /mnt/hda(1) / (5) etc. folders. Edit your files with kate, nedit (ascii editor) or jif (Inform complete IDE). You can compile your files directly from jif (several inform libraries are already included), and it's possible to do it from nedit too. But the best is to open a console (menu xshells/aterm) and type all your commands from there (and start the softwares from here as well, if you can remember their names).

For example for compiling the sample game "adventure", type in a console :

cd (-> it will bring you to your home folder, called /home/esclinux)

  cp /opt/games/inform/advent.inf ./

  inform advent.inf

The game should be ready now !

frotz advent.z5 (play it in the console)


  gargoyle advent.z5


zoom advent.z5 (it will start the game in a special window)

Glulx player : zag (in java)

Multisystem player (Z-machine, TADS, HUGO, Alan, Glulx, AGT, AdvSys, Level 9, Magnetic Scrolls, Adrift, and Blorb) : ifpe (console version) et xifpe (graphical version).

And last but not least : gargoyle

In the case you get compilation errors with libraries, check the uppercase of the libraries you have and the ones in your source code. Generally it should work better with no capital letters in the libraries names (unix system are case sensitive)

If you need more libraries, or your own libraries, copy them in the /opt/games/inform/lib folder

Help about the inform langage : Inform designer's manual - Inform beginner's guide

You can start the Inform7 development IDE from the menu, or by typing gnome-inform7 in a term.

Help about ifpe

Help about zoom

Libraries for the inform language. After you run jif for the 1st time, they are copied in /home/esclinux/jif/lib

Help about Hugo : hugo_manual.pdf

For working with Hugo the commands hc he hd are available (compile, interprete et debug)

Some files for Tads3 are in this folder. I've included also the tads compiler, but this part is still in development. The libraries are here. And the help is here.

How to create map with ifm and ifmapper

export from ifmapper to ifm, edit the exported ifm file, the title by hand : ``` title "Your game title";

then type :

  ifm -m  -f ps -o

edit errors if needed : go u from Moulin -> from Moulin go u
remove style special

How to use this cdrom for creating or playing abc music files ?

Note : most options are accessible from the menu, in "apps". You can open this menu with a right-click on the desktop. Underlined and italic names in this tutorial are commands you can run from a console. In the case you need the password for the "esclinux" user, this one is esclinux too.

You can open your abc files from a floppy, an usb key or even the hard drive. The application konqueror (or xfe) can access those drives, they are under the /mnt/floppy , /mnt/sda1, or /mnt/hda(1) / (5) etc. folders. Edit your files with __nedit__ (text editor), jed or xjed (text editor with a good mode for abc). You can convert your files to abc directly from __jed__ / xjed, and it's possible to do it from nedit too, if you program yourself some macros. You can also use the program runabc or skink. And last but not least, you can open a console (menu xshells/aterm) and type all your commands from there (and start all the softwares from here as well, if you can remember their names).

For example for working with the sample file "", type in a console :

cd (-> will bring you to your home folder, called /home/esclinux)

cp /opt/abc/ ./ (it will copy some samples in your home folder)

cd abc

kate (edit one tunebook)

abcm2ps (convert the whole tunebook into postscript :

gv (visualise the tunebook)

ps2pdf fichier.pdf (convert postscript to pdf)

xpdf fichier.pdf (read pdf)

abc2midi (will convert all the tunes into midi. If you need to convert only one, ex the number 9, you can type : abc2midi 9)

timidity favoris9.mid (will play the midi file)

Alternatively you can type the shortcut "play favoris9.mid" to play it.

playmidi favoris9.mid" may work if the midi table of your soundcard is
supported but it's very unlikely (timidity uses in fact samples
for playing midi, so every soundcard that can play waves can play
midi this way).

If you prefer to use runabc, there is some
docs delivered with it, in the /opt/abc/runabc folder.

In the case you need to record some sounds, you have
bplay, sound-recorder audacity and soundtracker. Only the two
later are in graphic mode.

Help about abc format : abc guide (txt) - abc guide (pdf, for advances techniques)

Some general ideas and help about Linux

You can find many short introductions or complete manuals about Linux on internet, but here is a little intoduction to its concept : You can see it as several layers : one is the kernel, an other is the shell, a third one is the graphical system, a 4th one is the window manager, and after that comes the softwares running above them.

The kernel is dealing with the peripherals.

The shell is a basic interface to the operative system : the syntax is similar to unix system, an operative system older than ms windows. In command line / shell / console, it's already possible to do many things, like programming and dealing with files.

The graphical server gives windows and colors to the system. But this one can't be used alone :

The windows manager gives a desktop for the user. It's only cosmetic, but it's very useful. In comparison microsoft windows mixes all of this together, that is why there is no solution when it crashes and it is also less flexible.

It's possible to open several sessions on linux, and get back to console mode if one session crashes. In graphical mode it's possible to open several consoles and work from them, or start applications from this (it's quicker to type a command than finding an icon in the submenu of a menu in the start menu :) )

The most used window managers are KDE and Gnome. It's very close to microsoft windows because all configurations are through graphical menus. It's the easiest to use, but it needs a computer with fairly much memory.

Other window managers are WindowMaker, Xfce, Openbox and FluxBox. They are highly configurable.

On this cd the default window manager is KDE because it is quite user-friendly. I've included also fluxbox, openbox and eventually windowmaker.

FluxBox can group windows together, you just have to drag, with the middle mouse button, the title bar of a window to another title bar. It can do this automatically for some windows with a similar names. By default I've programmed this to aterm, dillo and nedit windows. You can ungroup windows with the same drag and drop (on an empty part of the desktop)

more informations are in this folder.

The general help files for the linux system are located in /usr/share/doc


This list is not finished yet, not in a particular order, and I'm still working on completing it. Please let me know if you should be on this list :)

Emily Short - Savoir-faire -
Magnus Olson - Uncle Zebulon's will -
Jean-Luc Pontico -
Alessandro Schillaci - Jif -
Michel Nizette - Tads 3 French -
Michael J. Roberts - Tads -
Graham Nelson - Inform -
P.F. Chimento - Gnome Inform - Gonzalo Garramuño - IFMapper - Yuri Robbers - Inform Dutch - Kent Tessman - Thomas Nilsson - Alan - Giovanni Riccardi and Ilario Nardinocchi - Inform Italian
InformatE! - Inform Spanish (v1) -
Depresiv and Sarganar - Inform in Spanish (v2) - Fredrik Ramsberg - Inform Swedish and previous hosting - Ethan Dicks - Zdungeon -
Roger Firth and Sonja Kesserich -
Gfa Mad - Livrant

Jean-François Moine - Abcm2ps -
Guido Gonzato - JedAbc -
Seymour Shlien - RunAbc -
Wil Macaulay - Skink -

Ben - Ohio, minimal webserver -

and everyone else who is missing here, but whose work could contribute to the opensource movement.


Malheureusement je n'ai pas eu le temps de mettre à jour le nouveau manuel en français, aussi il vous faudra vous contenter de la version anglaise. De toute façon pour pouvoir utiliser la plupart de ces outils de codage, il faut connaître un minimum d'anglais...

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