This documentation is a revised edition of the
MICE documentation of
National Support Centre London
Revision by Jens Elkner (

Other User documentation

User Guide to wb

wb is the shared whiteboard tool developed by Van Jacobson and Steven McCanne (both of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA.) to provide a shared display function for teleconferencing over the Internet. It is the current standard shared whiteboard tool for MICE conferencing.

What does it do for you?

While wb is used as an independent shared whiteboard, it is more frequently used in conjunction with video and audio tools in a full videoconference. For meetings, it provides a normal shared whiteboard on which participants may write, draw and type with all contributions visible to all participants. In a seminar it can be an OHP by using its capacity to import PostScript pages. In this mode there is a support tool from the same authors called wbimport. If you intend to use it as a conferencing tool, you are advised to review the Guide to Multi-media Conferencing.

The use of this tool for conferencing depends on the existence of a facility to multicast from each participant to all others without having to broadcast to every workstation on the network. This facility is known as the Multicast Backbone or Mbone

To use wb you will need to install the correct version of the multicasting software for your workstation.

You should use the LBL Session Directory to publish and monitor network multicasts.

How do you use wb?

Known Problems

The following are known problems with wb. If you know of any others please let us know.
Running IRIX 5.2 on an Indy wb crashes the 4Dwm window manager.

A workaround for this problem is to run xpsview before running wb. xpsview does something to initialize display postscript that is not done in wb. It should be in /usr/bin/X11

You will need to start xpsview only once after every reboot. Maybe starting the program somewhere in /etc/rc*.d or /etc/stdlogin
I put the following line in my $HOME/.login so that I will not forget to run xpsview before running wb.
	      xpsview& ; sleep 20 ; killall xpsview
Warning the killall command will kill all your xpsview processes. You may want to check first to see if there is a running xpsview by:
   if (`ps -u $USER | grep xpsview | wc -l` < 1) then
      xpsview& ; sleep 20 ; killall xpsview

We would also like to hear from you regarding your experiences in using this documentation. Comments of any kind and all technical enquiries should be addressed to:


The development of wb, vat, and sd was supported by the Director, Office of Energy Research, Scientific Computing Staff, of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC03-76SF00098.