Valentine's Day Call to Action

by Miguel de Icaza

Everyone knows that in this day an age a software product is not complete until it offers a Desktop UI, a Web UI, and a front-end on the Appstore.

We access beautiful web sites, we purchase 0.99 apps on our phones and install gorgeous native software on our desktops.

The sysadmin community, once the backbone of Linux adoption, keeps asking "but what about me?". Indeed. What about them?

What are we doing about these heroes? The heroes that ssh in the middle of the night to a remote server to fix a database; The heroes that remove a chubby log file clogging the web server arteries; The very same heroes that restore a backup after we drag and dropped the /bin directory into the trashcan?

They are a rare breed in danger of extinction, unable to transition into a GUI/web world. Trapped in a vt100 where they are forced to by conditions to a small 80x24 window (or 474 by 188 with 6 pixel fonts on a 21 inch flat screen display).

These fragile creatures need our attention.

Today I am doing my part, my 25 cents to help improve their lives.

I am releasing Mono Curses 0.4 a toolkit to create text-based applications using C# or your favorite CLR language.

The combination of C#'s high-level features, Mono's libraries, Mono/.NET third party library ecosystem and the beautifully designed gui.cs, we can bring both hope and change to this community. Hope and change in the form of innovative text-based applications that run comfortably in 80x24 columns.

What is gui.cs

We know that hardcore sysadmins will want full control over what gets placed on the screen, so at the core of mono-curses we expose a C# curses binding.

On top of this, we provide a widget set called "gui.cs". gui.cs was introduced in 2007 enjoying unprecedented public acclaim among a circle of five friends of mine. Eight months after its introduction, it experienced an outstanding 100% growth when a second application was written using it.

Today, gui.cs is the cornerstone of great work-in-progress applications that any decade now will see the light of day. Including a new and riveting version of the Midnight Commander:

With only 3% of features implemented progress is clearly unstoppable!

I believe in dogfooding my own software before I unleash it to the world:

On a typical 21" sysadmin setup: 474x188 with the "Sysadmin Choice" award winning 6 pixel font.

Valentine's Day

So in this Valentine's Day, after you are tired of spending quality time with your grandmother, making out with your significant other or a stranger you just met at the checkout line in Costco, consider donating. Donate some of your time towards building some nice applications for your favorite sysadmin. God knows that he spent the whole day monitoring the dmesg output, looking for a SATA controller failure and keeping an eye on /var/log/secure, waiting for your ex to deface your wordpress installation.

And you have a choice, you can use Boo, IronRuby, IronPython, F# for building your app. VB.NET is also available if you want to teach your sysadmin a lesson in humility.

Get inspired today with some of the old screenshots.

Posted on 14 Feb 2010