UniOS Run Time Example #2 - High-end workstation user

Posted by: Andrew Coles, March 23, 1999

(This assumes you have read example 1)

Tim is a television company employee working on the design side of things. Amongst other things, he designs sets for television programmes and splash screens for programs.

Recently his company has started a telecommuting trial in which Tim is taking part. Each employee gets a workstation to take home with an ISDN line. The employees in the scheme work at home for a third of the time, traveling to work for the other two thirds. The computer he has been supplied with is a high-spec machine: two processors, nice spec 3D card, that sort of thing, and is supplied with Windows NT Workstation, and several relevant applications.

Tim recently read a magazine article praising UniOS and hilighting the advantages it has over other operating systems. As a special promotion the magazine was offering a copy of 'UniOS Workstation' on a CD (without the usual technical support but with an online manual) if an SAE was sent to a certain address. Tim thought 'What the heck, it costs less than a cup of coffee' and send off for the CD. He was also pleased to note that next months issue of the magazine was doing the first part of a tutorial on installing UniOS on your machine.

15 days later the CD arrived and Tim decided to have a go at installing without the help of the magazine. He booted his computer and put the CD into his drive and printed out the quick-start installation guide to refer to. He followed the instructions.

The CD was bootable so he rebooted his machine, went into the BIOS and told it to boot of CD first. Upon exiting he was presented with a splash screen with lots of nice graphics basically saying:

Welcome to UniOS, courtesy of nice-PC magazine. Would you like to boot off the CD to try it out (Y/N)

He selects Y, in case he isn't keen. At which point, the kernel proceeds and goes through a hardware detection phase. It only takes a few minutes and manages to detect his hardware: the fancy graphics card, multi processors, dual monitors. He is surprised that system doesn't have to reboot to use the newly detected hardware, a problem he frequently faces with NT when he wants to change screen settings.

Since Tim has a fancy 3D graphics card (Say, FireGL 4000, 48Mb) the system defaults to a 3D GUI at a nice resolution (e.g.. 1600x1200) (see note 1). He likes this, and is pleased that the OS is taking advantage of his machine's functions. He is presented with a desktop with icons and a toolbar along the bottom right edge containing what appears to be an empty cube, and several numbered buttons. At the top left there is an icon labeled 'Workstation'. He clicks on it, which opens what appears to be a window in the center of the screen. The cube (bottom right) now contains a small rectangle in the center of it. The window contains five icons:

Applications Documents Configure System
Help Find Close down the system

He also notices that there is an extra handle in the top left of the window, it appears to be a small sphere. Out of curiosity he clicks on this and moves his mouse around. It turns out that this Window is really a thin cuboid, and can be rotated in 3D space using this handle (see note 2). He is impressed by this, even though it isn't very productive (or so he thinks) he does agree with the designer that it is rather cool :-).

He moves the window back to where it was and clicks on the applications icon, at which point the window contents morph into a new one containing several new icons:

Word processing Spreadsheet Database Presentation software
3D object designer Image manipulation

He clicks '3D object designer'. The window then disappears (via some fancy animation) and a 3D modeling package boots up, using a 3D window. He notices that instead of a rectangle in the cube there is now a cuboid, on the front of which there appears to be his current view of the window.

A 'welcome' box pops up saying 'Welcome to kickass-3D limited edition. To go through a tutorial click on the Tutorial button, otherwise click 'OK'.

He chooses tutorial at which point he is shown around the software. It turns out that the modeling software uses a cuboid window as the 3d objects are modeled in 3D space. There are also several 2D panes in the window as you'd expect for any good modeling package. He is impressed. He also realizes that he can load some 3D designs out of the fat32(1) folder which he read in the quick start that this is his hard disk. All together, he is impressed.

All together Tim is impressed by UniOS. He plays with some more applications, and like Bob (home user) he realizes how easily customizable his system is. He especially likes the 3D GUI, but likes that he can switch to a traditional 2D GUI without rebooting. Also, he has an optional toy installed: a ball that bounces around the 3d desktop, rebounding off windows and so on. Pointless but fun :-)

After playing with UniOS for a week Tim decides to install it on his hard drive. This also requires no rebooting, which he is pleased with. A week later he invites one of his coworkers around to see his latest toy. Unsurprisingly, they are impressed and ask Tim to come around to their house to install it on their machine, which he does. Word eventually gets to one of the SysAdmins who switch all the telecommuters to UniOS and start investigating it for widespread internal use and use on the server.


"UniOS on a CD, enclose SAE": blatantly copied from a british computer magazines Linux promotion: RH Linux 5.1 for an SAE. Quite a good way to distribute the software to magazine readers, often options to upgrade to the supported UniOS for a charge.

"Bootable CD": e.g.. The beOS 4 demo CD. Easily do-able on today's hardware. Also, it allows Tim to try out the software without changing anything on his hard drive.

"A few minutes to detect the hardware": as expected

"Dual processors": UniOS will fully support SMP.

Note 1:3D Gui: an idea of mine, windows are thin cuboids rotatable in 3D space, with total immersion (via a 3D helmet or whatever, gloves etc.) it could be very viable: tilt windows out of the way, virtual 3d keyboard, 3d file manager etc.  Also allows 3D modeling software to use 3D windows. All together a good use of high-end 3D hardware ;-)

Note 2:3D rotatable windows, from note 1, for example, to see the window behind the current one rotate it about the y axis (y coords say the same). The cube ( a mini render of the current desktop) can also be grabbed to adjust the viewing angle on the whole desktop.

"Several numbered buttons": multiple desktop support.

"Icon labeled Workstation": actually a 3d model of a computer, with workstation written underneath. Similar to the start idea, instead of opening a menu it brings open a window.

"kickass-3D limited edition": professional 3d modeling package with some features removed, more of a taster. Can be upgraded to full package for a certain price.

The customization options will be much the same as UniOS home: removable applications, change backdrop, and so on.

The desktop toy had to be done IMHO :-)


This document took 50 minutes to write, inspired by example 1. 3D GUI is optional, could be good if 3D hardware really takes off as predicted, possibly nabbing some drivers from Linux.