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UNCERT was designed for UNIX systems running X-windows (X11R4) and motif. There is also a MS-Windows port, but it requires a UNIX environment and some special software, most, but not all of which is free (see notes below).

Hardware and Software Requirements:

In general, your system must meet the following system requirements:

  • UNIX operating system (The software has been ported to IBM RS6000, SGI, SUN, Solaris, HP, SCO, and Linux OS's, and Windows 2000*)
  • X-Window X11/R4 or newer
  • Motif 1.1 or newer
  • 256 Color Display (more colors can cause problems)
  • 30 to 90 MB hard disk space depending on OS*
  • 32 MB RAM

    * The Windows 2000 port will probably work for Windows 95/98/NT and XP, but these ports require a UNIX emulation environment. My environment is about 1.4 GB's, but this can be reduced (I'm not sure how much). See instructions below.

Useful Software (Required if you need to compile UNCERT yourself):
  • X11 and Motif Development Toolkits (LessTif can be substitued for Motif)
  • ANSI C Compiler*
  • FORTRAN 77 Compiler*

    * GNU gcc and g77 work very well, and precompiled versions for most OS's can generally be found.

Software and User's Manual Availability:

All Users:

For version 1.30, the method to compile the source code has changed from prevoius versions. Make sure you read the README file in the UNCERT root directory.

Windows Users:

Installing UNCERT under Windows is a non-trivial process. It requires that you install an UNIX environment, X-Windows and motif libraries, and a X-Server on your system. The steps described below allow you to run UNIX utilities and programs while running Windows 2000 (and probably other versions); this is NOT a dual boot configuration. WARNING, this requires significant disk space (I'm using 1.4 GB's, but I have extra tools), some patience, and some UNIX experience.

Please try to fight through this installation yourself. It is complicated, and may vary somewhat from system to system. At best, I'll only be able to give general help. It would be better for you to find a friend familiar with UNIX system administration if you have trouble with this installation.

As a side benefit of going though this effort, you will also have a near UNIX OS on your Windows machine. It comes with C and FORTRAN compilers and other tools. Once installed you will be able to compile a long list of other UNIX software, and run them under Windows 2000!

Installing UNIX (cygwin) and X-Windows :

    • Cygwin and XFree86 have on-line installation instructions. I strongly recommend refering to these! These can be found at:


      These steps are briefly summarized, or commented below. Use the above instructions though and do not depend on my comments.

    • Download the setup program for cygwin. Cygwin is a UNIX environment for all modern versions of Windows. To get the install program, click on one of the "Install Cygwin now" icons at:


    • Run the setup program. You will be asked where you want to install cygwin from (internet, local directory, or save to local directory). I recommend running the setup twice; first save all the files to a local directory, and second, install from a local directory. There are quite a few files. Saving them to a local directory allows you to burn them to a CD if you need to reinstall. The download also takes a long time, even with a broadband connection, and saving the files to disk, then installing from disk, seems more reliable.

      You will be asked where you want to install the files. Keep it simple (c:\cygwin; d:\cygwin, ...); cygwin will be happiest this way.

      You will be asked which modules you what from a long list. I selected almost everything (when in doubt ...), but I use this as a development environment, and a alternate UNIX environment. It's not perfect, but it's not bad. This approach also used a gigabyte of diskspace. Many of the modules are not needed, but I haven't tried to determine which. I will leave this to you; sorry.

Installing X-Windows (XFree86):

    • Refer to the XFree86 on-line installation instructions. I strongly recommend reading these:


    • X-Windows XFree86 can be found at:


      After you download the X-windows files, you will need to unpack the many *.tar.gz files. This should be done from a cygwin shell window, and the command should be executed from the root directory (/). I temporarily stored the downloaded files in /usr/local/X11, and ran commands like:

      tar xzvf /usr/local/X11/XFree86-100dpi-fonts-4_0_3.tgz

      Once you've untarred all the files, X11R6 should be installed.

Installing Motif (LessTif):

    • In addition to the X-Windows libraries, you will also need motif libraries. While motif is a widely available package, it is propriatary. There is a freeware port though called LessTif which meets UNCERT's needs. You need to download the precompiled version for cygwin. You can get it at Source Forge:


      Follow the instructions from LessTif to install this software:


      To match my installation, the LessTif files should be in, and below, /usr/X11R6/LessTif/. If you put the files somewhere else, you will have to modify my cygwin Makefile.

Purchasing and Installing X-Server:

    • Here's the one step that will cost you some money. To run X-windows applications, you need a X-Server. Most of these packages do offer free trial periods, which should be long enough for you to try both UNCERT and the X-server software. While UNIX users also need a X-server, it is part of the standard window manager. Only Windows users need to worry about buying X-server software. There is a free X-Server that comes with the XFree86 software you loaded above, but it doesn't work with UNCERT. I have tried two X-Servers that do work. I use Winaxe:


      It is relatively inexpensive ($90), and works well (there are some problems on pop-up dialogs with the color palettes - my softwares fault). I have also played with Starnet's X-Win32:


      and prefer it (don't have above palette issue), but it is more expensive ($250, or $60 for student, or $160 for professors). To use X-Win32 though, you MUST run X-Util32, and under the Colors menu item, you must check "PseudoColor support in TrueColor Mode." This is because UNCERT only runs on system that use 256 colors. If this is not checked and your system is displaying more than 256 colors (> 8-bits), most of the UNCERT modules crash on startup; the PseudoColor support bypasses this issue (Winaxe manages this without any user intervention).

      Using either of these packages, or any X-Server, you will also need to define "Xhost" to the IP address of your computer (Winaxe selects this automatically at start up - you may have to select from a couple IP's depending how many network interfaces your computer has - mine has two. In X-win32, goto Options->Xhost ...).

      There are a number of other X-servers available. One list I found is:


      The prices are a little dated, but most of the links are good. I tried the two cheapest X-servers, and they didn't work (MI/X amd X-Deep/32). I haven't tried the others; Winaxe and X-Win32 (demo version) meet my needs.

Setting Environment Variables:

    • For X-windows and motif/LessTif to run correctly, you will also need to set several environment variables in your login ".profile" file (you can also put these in /etc/profile). These are:

      export XKeysymDB=/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/XKeysymD
      export XErrorDB=/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/XErrorDB
      export PATH=/usr/X11R6/bin:$PATH

      Using the IP you used to define the Xhost for the X-Server, you need to define the DISPLAY environment variable. For example:

      export DISPLAY=

      Note the ":0" after the IP address; it is required.

      The UNCERT software also requires that several environment variables be defined. These are defined in the UNCERT User's Manual, but as an example, I use:

      export PATH=.:~/uncert/bin:$PATH
      export UNCERT=~/uncert
      export UNCERT_HELP_DIR=$UNCERT/help/
      export UNCERT_TMPDIR=/tmp
      export WWWVIEWER=xhelp
      export XAPPLESRESDIR=$UNCERT/app-defaults

      The "~" refers to my cygwin login directory.

Installing UNCERT:

It is possible UNCERT will work with other Windows / UNIX emulators. I have not tried any others, but I suspect the user would have to track down and fix a few bugs.

This port, using cygwin and XFree86 is not perfect. I have found a few minor bugs I can't fix. For example:

  • If you drag you mouse over text in a text window, the text is not visually highlighted, even though the computer believes it is (hitting the delete key deletes all the "highlighted text").
  • In the file open and save dialogs, double clicking a file or directory usually does nothing. It should select the file, or switch you to the new directory. Now, I have to select the file and press "Open," or select the directory, and press "Filter" to get the desired action.
I hope these minor bugs are fixed in new releases of, cygwin, XFree86 and LessTif. I tried these tools about two years ago and gave up because of all the troubles I has having. Since then, these tools have come a long way, and come very close to matching the behaviour seem on true UNIX systems.

For more information: info@uncert.com Last Modified: December 18, 2014