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SEUL: Byte GUI summary and comments

Summary of Byte Magazine,  July '97 Article Good-Bye, GUI, Hello NUI
By Tom R Halfhill

  Byte magazine reviews interfaces on a host of NC and PC/Mac
platforms.  NUI stands for
Network User Interfaces.  The goal of this new wave of user interfaces
is to improve 
the network interface.  They also try to reduce support costs by taking
advantage of net
working features to allow remote maintenance and storage of local
machine state on a 
server.  This has the added benefit of allowing a user to have their
setup (and mail, 
etc) follow them to any computer they log in from.  Extensive use of
java allows many of
these interfaces to operate from many types of computing devices.
  The forces behind this new wave of front ends are mainstream
networking, larger local 
disks, and evolutionary improvements in GUI design itself.   Mainstream
includes "The Internet", remote access and tele-commuting, and modem and
Interface Card (NIC's) support. File Systems utilities need to
compensate for the greater 
quantity of local disk storage. Vendors are trying new representational
including integrating the graphical representation of local and remote
filesystems.  (I 
posted this as a suggestion to this list about a month ago SEUL:Re file
Formats (html iz
cool)).  Also common are full screen views of web documentiation (as
wall paper), and 
dockable web-pages (like a html task-bar).
  Sun's NC NUI has jettisoned menus altogether and distilled NUI
functionality down to a 
task bar/ button bar.  Java is heavily integrated, and applications
store their state on 
local server.  All apps run full screen (no overlapping windows possible
this way).
  Oracle's NC desktop also strives to simplify the desktop, but is based
on NetBSD and 
X11r6.  Graphics are highly dependent on html, not the X server. 
Graphics are rendered 
locally wherever possible to minimise network traffic.  HTML is closely
integrated into 
the os, and a streaming data window is included on the default desktop.
  IBM took a similar approach to Oracle and based their NC OS on Unix. 
Legacy access is 
a strong point.  The NUI supports ibm sna terminal emulation, Unix
character and motif 
applications, and any (sic)Windoze software.  

End of Summary, Editorial begins here: )
  Integration and common look and feel seem to be central here, with
most reviewed NUI's 
using Java in order to take advantage of diverse platforms and minimise
porting effort.  
Html also seems like a likely network aware documentation standard with
all of these 
packages.  I fear many of these packages amount to a tiny little sandbox
for little kids.
I think we can use some of the ideas, but need to modernize the Un*x
re-usable component
concept somehow, rather than preventing users from doing anything
creative if it is not 
built into software already

16 meg edo costs 75$ US.  That's not much.  I know no one who has 8 meg
on a computer 
bought within the last three years.  My ps/note 386/25 has 10 meg.  Had
to install Slackware, as it is only distribution that can be transferred
to floppy for install.  
RAM will just get cheaper.  It is not a valid argument against X
install.  PS: I send a curse on curses.  
X gets my vote as the main installation medium, assuming the decision
has been made to 
compete with the likes of Red Hat and Debian with our own distribution. 
PPS CD-R can 
be used to write you own cd-rom that is readable in a standard player. 
Media cost about
7$ a blank.  Not an insurmountable obstacle to distibuting on cd. 

I am willing to accept the "Authority" of the "Steering commitee" for a
short while, 
until some suitable way is found to hold some sort of election. 
However, Volume of 
posting will be my criteria for who not to vote for.  Content is just a
bit more 
important than the size of someone's mouth or ego.

There is no reason not to have more than one web site.  Insistence on
the "official" 
site is typical of heirarchical, authoritarian corporate thinking.  The
Web links thing 
together. Take advantage of it.  We could have one site for each person
(silly), one site 
for each project grouping (my recommendation), or just one central
massive site with the 
resulting maintenance headache for Juhana and/or Eric.  Better to
decentralize.  The site 
will be more responsive, manageable, and accesible to the project teams
that will use it.

John Munoz:  jmunoz at mho.net. Remove nospam from Reply address, or
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