Support & Advice
Mesquite is under construction
Mesquite is in beta-test form, meaning that we're seeking user
feedback to learn what areas need the most work. We expect there
may be quite a few bugs reported initially. Some bugs you may
encounter will be bugs not in Mesquite but in the operating system
or Java virtual machine (for example, see this list).
Mesquite calculations aren't quite ready for publishable results,
though some are very close. The beta-testing will help us determine
how close they are, but we hope to indicate what calculations
are ready over the next two or three months. In the meantime please
feel free to explore the system, and use it in teaching.
If you do wish to use results from Mesquite in publications,
please be in contact with us, and we can determine if those features
you wish to use are stable and bug-free enough.
Why doesn't Mesquite do <insert your favorite
Mesquite is extensible. What it can do now is a small part of
what we envisage. We welcome suggestions but we're aware of many
things that could be added. The biggest needs we feel at the moment
are for likelihood calculations and more tools for examining character
Of course, if you really want a new feature sooner than we can
add it, you are welcome to write your own module to implement
Things to think about before getting annoyed
Mesquite is a large project, about 1500 pages of source code
when printed single spaced at 7 point font (about 120,000 or more
lines of source; over 5MB of ASCII text). We don't have a big
team of people working on it; it was initially written by a single
person, and now two. We apologize for the bugs that remain, and
look forward to your polite bug reports and efforts to aid us
make Mesquite useful.
Mesquite is free. We don't have a separate support staff to answer
questions, fix bugs, and so on.
Mesquite is intended to become a community effort. Source code
is posted on the Mesquite
web site; we hope other programmers will help us improve the
We recognize that Mesquite is a complex system that offers many
choices to the user. We plan to build macros and other tools to
help build paradigmatic analyses for users who don't want to sort
their way through options every time. However, they're only beginning
to be built.
Check out the Help system first
Mesquite doesn't have conventional documentation, but it does
have various features to help you learn how to use it. Check out
the help page for instructions.
Reporting bugs and requesting
Partly to foster a community of users, and partly for efficiency,
we are encouraging users to sign up to a LISTSERV via which they
can report bugs and post queries about using Mesquite. Please
report bugs and ask for Mesquite advice via this LISTSERV. To
sign up for the listserv, send an email with the following message
in the body of the email:
subscribe MESQUITELIST YourFirstName YourSecondName
where you replace "YourFirstName" by your first name,
and "YourSecondName" by your second name. Once you've
signed up, you can send a message to the list.
If you're reporting a bug, it's important that you are able to
specify, as precisely as possible, exactly what you did that generated
the bug. Try to find a precisely repeatable series of actions
that generate the bug. In any bug report, please specify the version
of Mesquite and any important modules and your operating system.
Be prepared to send us your data file so we can test the problem.
(Of course, we recognize that some messages may be more appropriately
directed directly to us. You may contact us at info @ mesquiteproject.org).
Java bugs that affect Mesquite
Below are problems in Java on various operating systems that
affect Mesquite. If these problems annoy you, please write to
your local politician or to the people responsible for the Java
Mac OS 9
- The cursor will not change to reflect the current tool. This
is a limitation of the version of Java used on MacOS 9.
- There may be a rare, innocent exception thrown.
MacOS X 10.0 through 10.1.5
- If a pop-up menu appears, the colored
spinning cursor may appear and prevent you from choosing a menu
item for several seconds. You may loose control for 5-10 seconds.
If you move the mouse slightly, you will regain control more
- Text in dialog boxes is sometimes
only partially visible. This is a bug in MacOS Java 1.3.1 Update
- Windows near top of screen may be unresponsive (workaround:
move window down or resize). This is a bug in MacOS Java 1.3.1
- Various exceptions are thrown. (You will get a little window
noting various problems when this happens.) These are bugs in
MacOS Java 1.3.1 Update 1.
- Double clicking a file's icon in the Finder when Mesquite
is already running will open the file. However, if Mesquite
is not yet running, Mesquite will start but will fail to open
MacOS X 10.2 ("Jaguar") running Java 1.3.1
In general Mesquite works well under Jaguar with Java
1.3.1, except for being slow in screen display, the annoying
dialog box problems, and, on some machines, an problem with chart display.
- Dialog boxes occasionally fail to show items (sometimes they
are totally blank!). Dialog boxes might also appear in the incorrect
location, or with items drawn double. If you wait for a moment,
the dialog should reappear correctly.
- Various exceptions are thrown. (You may get a little window
noting various problems when this happens.) These seem mostly
- Occasionally when you try to drag a branch in the tree window
extra lines are left littering the screen.
- On some machines, a virtual machine bug causes the graphics view of the chart window
to stay visible even after switching to the text or other views. This blocks one's ability to
see the text or other information. We have a workaround for this problem; as this workaround
itself exposes other virtual machine bugs, we have not released it. However, if you work with charts
a lot, you may want a copy of this workaround; please contact us if you do.
MacOS X 10.2 ("Jaguar") running Java 1.4.1
Java 1.4.1 on MacOS X has many bugs, and we do not support Mesquite running on Java 1.4.1 on the Mac.
Windows, java up to and including 1.4.0
- Windows bounce up and down as menus change (a rapid shrink
& expansion). This is due to a design flaw either in Windows
or the Java VM; there is nothing we can do about it.
- After Mesquite is used for a while, about 5% of menu labels
are randomly scrambled with labels of other menu items. For
instance, the File menu might be labeled as the "Gray"
menu, or the "Histogram" menu, or have some other
label drawn "randomly" from among the menu items within
the menus. This is a bug in Sun's virtual machine (Sun has refused
to consider fixing this because we have been unable to reproduce
it in a smaller program.) Because of this problem and the confusion
it might cause, we have added a Reset Menus item in the File
menu. This will force Mesquite to rebuild the menus, which usually
corrects the mislabeling.
- Window sizes and placements sometimes are inappropriate under
some window managers. Some window managers refuse to let Mesquite
have control over window size and placement, and choose what
appear to be random sizes and placements of windows. This is
not in our control. Try changing your window manager. We have
found that the default installations for KDE and Gnome of Red
Hat 7 work well with Mesquite.
- Messages about Fonts not found on startup will be given commonly,
in fact we suspect on most installations on Linux and Solaris
of Sun's Java VM prior to 1.4. The problem is that you need
to install a supposedly optional package of fonts in order that
the default installation of Sun's Java VM work properly (see
We would have thought that if the default installation of a
product claims to support a program but doesn't, then that would
be considered a bug. Sun considered this to be not a bug, although
they seem to have fixed it...
- Dialog boxes sometimes appear very small, too small to be used. This may be due to a bug in the virtual machine of Java 1.3 or earlier.
Try running Mesquite with Java 1.4 or higher. If this does not fix the dialog box sizing problem, please report the bug to Wayne Maddison.