ports and morphs (was: Solaris 2.5 x86?)

Jecel Assumpcao Jr jecel at lsi.usp.br
Tue Jun 4 19:46:57 UTC 1996

Thierry Goubier wrote:
> My opinion is that morphs lack the extensibility of UI architectures like
> Garnet and Amulet (interactors, etc...) and don't provide a way of linking
> the functionnal core of an application to the morphs.

That's true, though no morphic applications so far have
had a "functional core" so this hasn't been a problem.
You can make a new morph that also inherits from the
"core", actually entending the application into the
graphical domain rather than just interfacing to it, but
using inheritance this way has some problems that I
explained in another message.

> Well, I disagree with this. A glyph-based system (a system with light,
> singleton objects on the interface) has nothing to do with classes, but
> with a runtime organisation (the accent is on dynamic, instance based,
> specialisation, a thing Self do extremely well). I'm not sure morphs are
> more object-based; they're certainly heavier, however.

I meant that you have to set up relationships in advance so
you limit what can happen at runtime. Sure, you can also
change these relationships at runtime too, but so can you
change anything in Smalltalk (a class based system). These
preset object graphs are like traits, which are not a
very object-based style (compare with Kevo, for example).
Like traits, they may turn out the be the best solution.

> > [ "slices" posting comming soon]
> I'll wait for it...

There is a short description of the idea on the web page
There are actually about five ideas I would like to post
here when I get around to writing them down.

> I believe the PAD++ interface is a nice idea to be tried... Or a 3D
> interface. As soon as I may be able to run a Self implementation on a PC,
> I'll try thoses new, fast 3D libraries available (3DR, BRender, etc...).

Look at http://www.cs.tu-berlin.de/~ki/engines.html for a list
of other engines. I have looked at many, and Intel's was the
closest to what I need. But I still ended up having to develop
my own :-( in order to get results on slow 386 machines.

> I've already studied a few virtual reality metaphors like the one used in
> EuroParc. Theses technologies are the right idea, in my opinion (I have no
> ergonomic data for this, even if my attempt at hypermedia cartography
> seems correct on this). But to find a metaphor usable in 3D may be hard.

The Self group actually did build a 3D UI, though it was
never released (see the list of benchmarks on some recent
papers). I don't think we need to start with full 3D - just
placing 2D objects in a 3D space would be a good alternative
to Kansas.

> My problem is that we use Solaris on Sparc 10/20/5 workstations. 32MB
> under solaris means 26MB usable; add Openwin on top of that... And the
> minimum Self process is around 40 MB. What's more is that the stability of
> Solaris (and memory leaks) oblige us to reboot frequently under heavy
> usage. The only usable computer was the Sparc 20 with 64 MB, but I can't
> use it any more now. All others workstations have 32 MB.

How strange! The machines at the local university run for weeks
at a time without needing to reboot. When they say you need 32MB
to run Self, that includes the Solaris and Openwindows overheads.
There are four versions of the distribution (at least the last
time I checked): for 32MB SunOS machines, more than 32MB
SunOS machines, 32MB Solaris machines and for more than 32MB
Solaris machines. Are you sure you got the right version?

> My expectations were more along the lines of VisualWorks 2.5 / Envy that
> I'm using now to programm for my PhD. I'll downgrade my Self code to
> Smalltalk within a few weeks, sadly.

It seems you got lucky with VisualWorks and unlucky with
Self, for my experience of these system is not the same.

-- Jecel

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