UDE - environment Alpha.

Neil Graham Lerc at screamingduck.com
Thu Jan 7 00:24:27 EST 2010

I've been working on this a while. I've got something for people to look
at.  It's Alpha with many broken parts, but there's enough to get the
idea and, cross fingers, encourage others to contribute.


It's an environment aiming to provide an alternative to Sugar or Gnome,

It installs into the user's home directory so an XO user can install it
without changing anything at the system level.   You can however do a
few system level changes in order to have most of the environment based
on SD-card.

To install to a permanently mounted SD card see

I have worked hard to keep things lightweight enough to run on an XO-1.
I have a nice four workspace environment, with desklets, ROX-Filer, and
a number of other goodies running while being comparatively lightweight.
Here's a ScreenShot showing the just booted memory state.
(If you run this, Click on the doodle icon centre-bottom it's cool :-)
 also note the launch time,  That's what the XO can do )

While the system is a windowed environment, pressing the frame key
toggles the current window to full-screen undecorated.  

The workareas are related to modes of thought rather than Sugar's zoom
levels.  An explanation and pretty pictures can be seen at

[extra bits to look at, not all currently working in this release]

Much of this is based upon things collected from the Free software
cornucopia.  Some parts I had to make myself, I failed to find a desktop
widget system light enough for the XO, so wrote my own.  
Here's a clip showing some of the Unix philosophy behind the widgets

Because the XO screen has such a high resolution, moving fullscreen
graphics around can be quite slow.  To mitigate this for programs
needing animation more than resolution I have utilised an rgb565 video
overlay.  The Doodle program uses this technique.
Here is a clip showing an animation demo on the XO using this method

In addition to this I have created a simple little graphics library
(called Whio) to enable full-screen animated applications to be put
together with very little effort.  This was inspired by the LÖVE
project, I might have just used LÖVE, but for it's requirement of
OpenGL. Instead this uses the Overlay technique mentioned above, this
allows the programmer to ask for whatever resolution they want (up to
1024x768) and it will run fullscreen or scaled to a window of any size.

Working in conjunction with the library is a easy project creation
system so that users can create project bundles easily and consider them
to be a single working unit until they are ready to look inside the
bundle to deal with the finer details.   This is a core principle, of
UDE, easy to get started, but the finer control is there for those who
go looking for it.
This clip shows several components mentioned above.  In it, I create two
new projects by drag and drop.  One is a Standard GUI style app, the
other is a fullscreen animated app.

The IDE is a bit too complex for a beginner programmer, mostly because
it looks intimidating.  I hope to make something simpler for people to
begin with, and give them the choice to switch to MSEIDE (the one shown
in the video) later.

(Actually, now that I've had to type it all up, it seems like quite a
bit, maybe don't spend all my time playing QuakeLive)

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