I have never used Python before, and unfortunately, this makes me completely ignorant. For this I apologise.

I have a Dell Dell Latitude D430 laptop running Mint Katya

I am attempting to start up a python script which is used to program 4 servos. I have python 2.7.1-0 as supplied by the Ubuntu Synaptic package manager . I also installed tk 8.5.9-2 and python tkinter 2.7-2Ubuntu2 and python-serial 2.5-2 all via Synaptic.

I then downloaded 3 python scripts called servoset.py, colours.py and servo4config into my /home/alistair/JMRI/servoset directory and attempted to run it from a terminal in the Mint GUI.

The error report was:
./JMRI/servoset.py: line 6: $'\nmodule\documentation\nservoset.py\nthis is a small sample of text\n': command not found

At this point I found that the cursor changed to yellow crosshairs, so something worked.
I then tried running without the GUI and got:

import: Unable to open X server `' @ error/Import.c/ImportImageCommand/362.
This line repeated 11 more times.
Then the lines:
./JMRI/servoset.py: line 20: syntax error near unexpected token `'/home/alistair/JMRI/servoset/colours'
./JMRI/servoset.py: line 20: `syspath append ('/home/alistair/JMRI/servoset/colours')
I also get several postscript files appearing in my home directory, namely:
logging.ps,math.ps,codecs.ps gtk.ps and serial.ps

The first 30 odd lines of servoset is:

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
    module documentation
    this is a small sample of text

    import Tkinter as GTK
    import codecs
    import logging
    import math
    import os.path
    import serial
    import sys
    import time
    import tkFileDialog
    import tkFont
    import tkMessageBox
    import types
    import colours as Colour

    # sys.getfilesystemencoding() = UTF-8
    # sys.argv = ['servoset.py', '-q', 'that', 'this']

    # the current list of exceptions... for ease of spelling
    #   BaseException
    ##   +-- SystemExit
    ##   +-- KeyboardInterrupt
    ##   +-- GeneratorExit
    #    +-- Exception
    ##        +-- StopIteration

I take it python doesn't like "this is a small sample of text"
I'm told that everything else that is required in the import lines are already bundled with Python. Is this true?

The colours.py is as follows:

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
        AZURE = '#F0FFFF'
        GOLD = '#FFD700'
        GREEN = '#008000'
        LIGHTBLUE = '#ADD8E6'
        ORANGE = '#FFA500'
        TOMATO = '#FF6347'
        WHITESMOKE = '#F5F5F5'
        YELLOW = '#FFFF00'

Should this have an extension of .py or not?
The same question for servo4config.

# MERG Servo Board Programmer: Library data
    # (C) J F Hamilton 2010
    # Written by version: development, dated: 2010/12/10 10:08:10
    # Written at 10:11 on 2010/12/10
    # Contact john@hamilton.org.uk M3201
    servo|90|12|SG-90|TowerPro 9g miniature anticlockwise
    board|SRV4E|3201-ac|Second servo board
    # end of file

If I rem out lines 1 to 6 of servoset, then on the gui I get the crosshair and nothing else. Without the gui I get exectly the same errors except the first one, is that because it expects to be run in the gui? if so, then it's just the syntax of line 20 I have to sort out, and the fact that I get nothing but a yellow cursor...

Thanks in anticipation..

How are you launching the program? python <scriptname> should be OK, in order to treat the script as executable in Linux you need to add shebang line in beginning of script and probably also chmod it executable.

Also the script as you posted it is indented, which is not acceptable for Python, top level lines must start without indention.

Thank you!
It was just a simple case of putting the word "python" in the command line.
I told you I hadn't a clue!
Cheers for that!