[Pipet Devel] Piper's Importance and Resources

J.W. Bizzaro bizzaro at geoserve.net
Fri Jun 16 16:21:04 EDT 2000

Nile Geisinger wrote:
> I just sent out an answer to Brad and Gary's questions. My mail client
> died in the middle of transfer so if you didn't get it, let me know.

Do you mean the one I forwarded to the list a couple hours ago?

> I'm about to go down the rabbit hole for the next two weeks to get out
> the early adopter release of BlueBox. In the meantime, if you need high
> quality graphics work
> send an email describing what you need done to developer at dloo.com and
> we'll put Alex on it.
> Alex is really talented and can produce pretty amazing results if you
> give him a description of what you need. He might be working on clip art
> graphics for GNOME and KDE (sorely needed).

Well, Brad has been grumbling about the lack of icons for the Pied/Piper user
interface.  Has Alex worked with alpha transparencies and PNG's before? 
Actually, I was a graphic artist before becoming a scientist (I know, covering
the spectrum).  But I try to avoid it as much as I can now :-), especially
when I need to do a lot more programming on Pied.

> We redid the Piper stuff so that it would integrate more into your site
> if you're interested. Again, feel free to do anything you like with it.
> Graphics and HTML are at http://dloo.com/piper/revised.tgz.

I'm surprised and thrilled by how well you've been able to grasp the concepts
and put them in writing.  I most certainly will consider using what you have
for our web page.

> I answered in the last email part of the reason dLoo is excited about
> Piper in answer to a question. We're really surprised, to be honest,
> that the rest of the open source movement isn't excited about it.

Well, we haven't had an all-out campaign yet, and the main reason is that Open
Source developers HATE "vaporware".  I guess I thought we should have
something people can actually use so that they don't get too excited over

> Right now, programs in KDE and GNOME are both static and opaque. Their
> internals cannot be changed or seen by users.
> Piper offers a new way to program. Rather than statically binding
> components together, it offers a simple linking language that binds
> program components together at run time. In this way, uses can instantly
> get a graphical display of the internals of programs in pretty graphics
> that they can manipulate. This has the potential to completely
> revolutionize the KDE/GNOME development model in a very profound way.

When Piper started coming together, I became a bit bewildered by other UNIX
GUI's, old and new.  I realized that Piper actually brought the UNIX paradigm
(the USER can do complex tasks by connecting simple tools) to the GUI (and
desktop) and that NO OTHER SYSTEM (that I know of) has ever really attempted
this.  GNOME, KDE, Enlightenment, NeXT, CDE, and so on, ARE ALL DERIVATIVES OF
WINDOWS AND THE MAC, meaning no-one has rethought the concept of the GUI since
the Lisa and Xerox Star!  I just don't understand it.  The concepts behind
Piper seem rather obvious.

> Of these, I could easily see a dozen KDE/GNOME people wanting to
> contribute if they just understood the potential of your work.

In addition to not wanting to announce vaporware, I thought we needed to
define Piper's function and implementation before a lot of REAL heavy-weights
in the community came in and faught over it.....potentially splitting the
project and/or taking it out of my hands (think bulls in a china shop).  So,
this has been an incubation period for Piper.

Even during the incubation, source and development have been open.  Piper just
hasn't been well known.  But, now that it is maturing, I think it can stand
for some publicity.....and even some fighting over.

> Have you considered publishing a press release to GNOTICES or linuxtoday
> or even slashdot regarding, in particular, how Piper can make programs
> transparent and modifiable? There are a lot of people who would find
> this fascinating and I bet they would be interested in contributing.

I thought about writing an article titled something like, "The UNIX Way
Finally Comes to the GUI".  But I still want to wait until there is something
useful for people to play with, which may be around the time you release a
full version of BlueBox (August?)

                      |           J.W. Bizzaro           |
                      |                                  |
                      | http://bioinformatics.org/~jeff/ |
                      |                                  |
                      |        BIOINFORMATICS.ORG        |
                      |           The Open Lab           |
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                      |    http://bioinformatics.org/    |

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