Bertin Matrices: On a Voyage to Oberon
Program development needs a time perspective. In 1996, we knew that MacOs was to be superseeded
by OS X. For Windows, we expected NT to be there some time (sorry - others assumed that NT means "never there").
Our preference was on UNIX,
but Linux was not ripe then. So we decided to use N. Wirths
Oberon operating system to bridge the gap until better times.
The Oberon operating system uses not more than most printer drivers on other systems. It is best used as a stand alone operating system, but it can be conveniently used as a client on most common operating systems as well. In 1996, our preferred environment was Oberon used as a client under Mac OS.
Our time scope was to plan for 7 years, hoping that an efficient stable operating system would be available after then. (sorry, our error)
Our system, Voyager, is based on Oberon. Our 1996 version still works.
Voyager comes in several variants. Some are experimental. As for the main stream, there are two Voyager missions.
Bertin is implemented as part of all Voyager variants. Voyager I is our prime environment.
It allows variable user interfaces - most important it can be used as an imbedded system.
Voyager II is a variant using mimicry to appear familiar under the respective host operating systems. Some seem to need this.
Voyager I Implementation
Voyager I is using the original ETH implementation. Again, it comes in several variants. The original version demonstrates N. Wirth's economy. This is the variant we prefer, and the variant we used in the last century.
If you prefer it, you can use the gadget implementation Oberon S3. There is no difference in the results - it is the same system running with a different interface.
If you want to be up to date, use the recent variant from ETHZ. There is no difference in the results - it is the same system running with a different interface.The "classical" Oberon interface comes with a screen with two tracks. It may be helpful to think of traditional UNIX output. There is a user track which is the target of user defined output. And there is a system track, used for system in/output.
All areas are live. You can submit information from all areas - any text can be submitted as a command. If you want it, yo can hide it in a button or a shortcut, but you do not need to. You can have a command anywhere in a text, and execute It there.
On the output side, characters can be output, but any glyphs can be an output item as well. That means as far as output is concerned, a complete Bertin matrix can be an output element, interaction included. This will be used in the following sections.
Voyager II Implementation
Using BlackBox with Mac OS, Voyager appears as a Mac application.
Under Windows it looks like a Windows program.