From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Does the gild go on first, with the gouache applied afterward?

I get questions like this from time to time, so I figured I'd respond here...

Someone wrote:
> Hey Dustin,
> I'm a student trying to do some experiments with Byobu Japanese Screens. It's almost
> impossible to find anything on the web that tells me what the atavistic process is. Eg, does
> the Gild go on first, is the gouache applied after , if so what kind? etc.
> I don't know if I've completely mis-understood the essence of what I've read on the pages
> below, but does this link take me to a program that helps design BYOBU, or is it just the
> name you are using?
> Totally confused!...Look forward to hearing from you.


Thanks for the note. I am afraid that the Byobu program does not help design the beautiful Japanese folding screens, or anything like that. I chose the name because:
  • the old name was boring
  • there were not many search hits for the word "byobu" (as you found out!)
  • it rhymes with GNU, and Ubuntu
  • it is a thought-provoking analogy for what the program is
To understand that analogy, you need a bit of computer history.

GNU Screen is a revered UNIX/Linux program that's been around for ~25 years. It actually predates Microsoft Windows as many of us first knew it. GNU Screen is a text-based program that enables you to run multiple computer programs at the same time.

Today, with modern operating systems, such as Windows, Ubuntu, or Mac OS, you just open up each program in a new "window" (which is another analogy!). But before computers were graphical, GNU Screen provided an innovative way of running multiple programs at the same time.

Many UNIX/Linux users have continued to use the GNU Screen program over the years, but the very plain interface to it, and configuration of it hasn't changed much in that time, and the complexity blocks some new users from utilizing it.

In December of 2008, I wrote a new interface that uses the old GNU Screen program under the covers, but has a more useful interface and easier configuration, making it accessible to more users. The first name of the project was pretty boring -- Screen-profiles. But in May of 2009, it got its current name, Byobu.

And so the analogy...

In the same way that Japanese byobu are detailed, elegant, beautiful enhancements of ordinary folding screens, the Byobu program is a detailed refinement of the plain old GNU Screen program!



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