Aten depends on several sets of files in order to function properly and, generally-speaking, knows where to look for them. Sometimes, however, you may need to tell Aten where these files are (e.g. if you have not installed Aten after compiling the source yourself). There are several ways of achieving this. When running Aten from the command-line, the --atendata switch can be used to specify the location of Aten’s data files. For instance:

aten --atendata=/usr/software/aten/data

Alternatively, the environment variable $ATENDATA can be set. For example, in a bash-style shell:

export ATENDATA=/usr/software/aten/data

In both cases, Aten should be directed to the data directory; either it’s installed location or the directory in the top level of the source distribution.

The structure of the data directory is as follows:

Directory Description
data/external Settings and configuration for external programs used by Aten
data/ff Forcefield files
data/fftesting Forcefields that are incomplete or have not been tested
data/filters Contains stock filters for import and exporting data
data/fragments Fragment models for drawing / modifying models
data/includes Function includes, accessible when scripting
data/partitions Partition data for the disorder builder
data/scripts Example scripts
data/test Various test files (models, grids etc.) (not installed)

User Files

Aten will search for additional filters, fragments, and forcefields in a specific location in the user’s home directory. On Linux and Mac OS X systems this directory is called .aten, while on Windows the directory should be called simply aten (i.e. without the preceding dot). Within this directory exists (optionally) further directories named similarly to those in the data directory, in which user files of the relevant type should be located.

Finally, the two main preferences files are located in the user’s .aten (or aten) directory. Both are optional. The first, prefs.dat (or, alternatively, prefs.txt) is written by Aten from the Prefs window. While this file may be modified by hand, changes will be lost if overwritten by Aten. The second file, user.dat (or, alternatively, user.txt) is maintained entirely by the user, and should be used to change or set up exotic situations and preferences. For instance, a specific forcefield could be loaded automatically on startup.