INT: Project Alive!

Chris Harris
Mon, 18 Dec 1995 17:09:24 -0800 (PST)

Hello TUNESfolk --

	A good many of you out there are sounding rather dead.  I hope 
it's because you're out skiing, or in some other way celebrating winter.  
If some more terrible fate has befallen you, I'm sorry... =)

	I've decided, at least for the moment, to take up initiative of 
the Interfaces project again.  In celebration, I've updated the 
Interfaces page (now found at to contain a bit 
more summarizing, removed some outdated stuff, and added a page of 
UI-related links across the net.  Nothing terribly new, really, but a 
positive change....

	As far as making some progress here, I'll bring up something Fare 
(or someone) said a while back: that Tunes should be for all kinds of 
computation, from report writing to games to scientific simulations to 
www serving, and that Tunes objects are the basis of everything.  This 
sounds good in theory, but it poses a slight problem for any interface 
	How can the same API support well both a beautiful 
report-writing module, or, for that matter, most modules pertaining to 
manipulating 2D surfaces for printing, and a rapid-fire, 3D action game with
full-screen graphics?  What if a deaf person didn't have a 
full-screen, to see this game's graphics or the report-writing 
module?  We've agreed, in the past, that (s)he shouldn't be locked 
out of Tunes.
	Perhaps it would be helpful to look at the difference in the nature of
these game-like, scientific, and text-oriented modules, and see under what
sort of UI they could best be represented.  What, if anything, is common
between these things from which we could derive some basic Interface semantics?
Surely these different sorts of things must not be totally dissimilar....

	Maybe we should also look at what sorts of software might 
be written for Tunes.  Though we agree that most anything should be possible 
under Tunes, a program such as MS Word would probably be a bad candidate 
for such a fine-graned, persistant system.  A better choice would 
probably be something like the small text/graphics components of an OO 
system like opendoc (relavant links on the new pages), only perhaps with 
still smaller modules.
	Are games such as doom, that are essentially their own OS, have a 
place in Tunes?  Certainly some games would help out the system's 
popularity.  But is consuming the whole machine encouraged?  Should we 
provide some sort of fast, semi-portable gaming primitives?  Should these 
have nothing in common with the graphics primitives that a simple 
picture-drawing module might use?

	Answers, comments and more questions are welcome....