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1. Overview

1.1 Acknowledgements

I thank Prof. W. Barth (University Erlangen) for (en)forcing me to start this project. Hans Hülf, Rüdiger Örtel and Kai Schneider have spent lots of time on coding parts of surf. Some of the code has been copied from other places:

We thank all these people who made their code free so that we could use it.

1.2 Copyright

surf is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

1.3 How to get surf

surf is available via http/ftp at the surf home page

1.4 System requirements

To compile surf, the following software is needed:

Warning: Be prepared, the memory consumption of surf is about

1.5 Starting surf

surf is started by typing surf on the command line. Optional arguments are --no-gui (or -n) for starting surf without graphical user interface, --exec (or -x) to immediately execute the first passed script file and - when using surf with GUI - the usual GTK+ options. --help prints out the usage information:

    surf -n|--no-gui file ...
    surf [Gtk options] [[-x|--exec] file ...]
    surf --help

1.6 Scripts versus graphical user interface

surf is designed to visualize algebraic curves and surfaces. This can be done either by writing scripts in surf's command language and executing them interactively or from another program (for example make), or by using surf's graphical user interface. By using scripts one can draw series of pictures where each picture consists of several surfaces/curves at a high resolution.

1.7 Scripts

Scripts in surf's command language are stored in files with the suffix .pic. These files consist of descriptions of curves and/or surfaces and some commands. They can be invoked in two ways:

1.8 Output

surf calculates both color and black & white images. Color images can currently be stored in the following formats:

Additionally one can choose a convenient colormap among Black & white images can be stored in the following formats:

1.9 Sample scripts

You will find some sample scripts together with surf's distribution. They are stored in the examples directory.

1.10 surf and make

surf can be invoked from make. This comes in quite handy when visualising a series of curves/surfaces. Suppose there are script files s1.pic, s2.pic, ... , sn.pic which create during execution images s1.xwd, s2.xwd, ... , sn.xwd. If for example gif is the desired image file format, an appropriate makefile might look like:

    SURF    = surf
    RM      = /bin/rm -f
    CONVERT = convert
    OBJS    = s1.gif s2.gif .... sn.gif
    .SUFFIXES: .pic .gif
        ${SURF}    -n $<
        ${CONVERT} $*.xwd $*.gif
        ${RM}      $*.xwd
        @echo ' '
        @echo 'usage:'
        @echo ' '
        @echo '    print this message:'
        @echo '        make'
        @echo ' '
        @echo '    build images:'
        @echo '        make all'
        @echo ' '
        @echo '    remove images:'
        @echo '        make clean'
        @echo ' '
    all: ${OBJS}
        ${RM} *.gif
    # end of makefile

Here convert is the Image Magick image format converter.

1.11 Oddities, bugs and bug reports

In case you find any bug, please use the excellent Bug Tracking System on surf's project page at Sourceforge.

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