How to get the help you need
Our goal is to support Ferret to the best of our abilities, within the constraints of our budgets and other commitments. Since Ferret is made available free of cost, and we are not funded to provide support outside of our own Laboratory, we need to enlist your help to make the effort successful. If Ferret users will try to follow the recommendations below, community-wide support will continue to work well.
1. Consult the on-line documentation Ferret User's Guide and its extensive index. Try the SEARCH box found at the upper right of all these pages. This searches all of the Ferret web pages, including the Users Guide and the FAQ pages.
- Ferret Users Manual Chapter 6 shows how to call PPL commands from Ferret
- The PLOT+ Users Guide (Appendix B of the Ferret Users Guide)
- PLOT+ Enhancements Users Guide (Appendix C of the Ferret Users Guide)
- Consult Ferret demonstrations and tutorials
- Consult release notes and other documents
- For questions or suggestions about the documentation itself, email the Users Guide contact at email@example.com
2. Consult the Frequently Asked Questions
3. Consult the searchable Ferret_Users Email Archive to see if this question has been raised and answered before
4. Use the Ferret_Users Email List to post your question. This active community of highly skilled Ferret users is available to help answer your questions
- Consider in advance how to make your question intelligible to an audience unfamiliar with your work. Start with a subject line that describes the question or topic. Tell about the data you're working with, and perhaps add a few Ferret commands that you tried. What did you want to do, and what happened? If there were error messages, what were they? Say what version of Ferret you're running, particularly if you're running into something that's not working or that's different from what's in the documentation.
- It is also fine to ask a general question, for instance is there a way to do a particular kind of filter, or can I plot with two different color scales, or how do I set up a whole grid of plots in my plot window. Sometimes you just need to find out what command the Ferret language has for a particular function.
- If you post a question and receive an answer in private emails, please post a brief summary of the solution to ferret_users so that others can see the solution to the question you raised and so that the email archive contains the solution to your question
- When you find you know the answer to a question that's asked, don't be shy about answering. This is a conversation and a complete answer often comes out of discussion among several people.
5. If, while running Ferret, you encounter an outright crash (that is, a core dump -- not just an error message after which Ferret continues to be running), notify us at Ferret developers. We need to know of these problems in order to fix them.
6. If you need (as a last resort!) to direct a question to the ferret developers directly, please be prepared to:
Always tell us
- the operating system that you are running on (paste the output of the Unix command "uname -a" into your message); \
- and the version of Ferret that you are running (paste the lines Ferret emits as it starts up)
Reduce your question to its simplest form
- if your problem occurs in the midst of a long and complex script, try to reduce the script to its bare essence demonstrating the problem
- if your problem requires specific data files to be demonstrated
- try to demonstrate it using data files that are routinely distributed with Ferret
- (use "ls $FER_DSETS/data to see which these data sets are); if you cannot, then
- try to demonstrate it with data sets that are small. This may involve using Ferret to create reduced-sized data sets (typically using the SAVE command)
- if we need to reproduce the problem in order to debug it, please be prepared to upload your scripts and data files; contact the developers for how to send this to us.