About OnyX

I have been with Linux since the 1.wayback.something releases. I have also been with Microsoft's Windows95 since it was in beta and it liked to create two F: drive partitions. Thus, I have had a lot of time to compare the two systems.

One of the more exciting moments I had in Windows95 was when I discovered Microsoft's Visual Basic. Wow. Up to this point all of my programs had been text only across a variety of platforms. But now, all of a sudden, I could create windows programs also. It was just way to easy. Click on a button and you get a new window. Click on the toolbar, select a control, and place it on the form. Presto, it works. You can compile it and send it to your friends to show how advanced (or how ridiculous) you are. To change the tools you just modified their properties. To make something happen you just went to the appropriate event for that tool and coded it in. My, how sweet. Naturally I started coded my heart out and even went so far as to make my own usenet news server with a windows explorer interface.

About that time I got a new hard drive. Hmm, lets see. What should I use it for? Linux or Windows95? Heh, that was a no brainer. Linux here you go! Now I suddenly had room to be able to run XWindows. Well, ok. But I didn't like the interface. I thought fvwm looked silly and Afterstep was only so so. I didn't do much until I stumbled upon Fvwm95. Oh, now there was something that looked familiar. (No I am NOT a Microshaft weenie. I just like the interface.) I set up Fvwm95 and found out I had to occasionally reboot to my Microsoft side just to see if it still worked. I almost completely ceased to use it.

While on the Fvwm95 page I spotted the Xclass widget set. "Hmm, this looks interesting..." I said to no one in particular. "Its still being worked on so let's see how far they are.". I setup the Xclass and said Wow! again. (This time I said it to someone in particular. But, since it was the plant in the window, it had a low intelligence and refuses to understand anything not made by Microsoft. We have since parted ways.)

Now once I had the Xclass up and running I decided I would like to make something with it. I severely doubted that anything would come of it. The reason was that I had tried XWindows programming with other tool kits, Athena in particular, and found it to be quite a tangled mess. Remembering what Visual Basic was like I searched the web and tried to find something similar for X. Everything I found was sadly not anywhere near my hopes and expectations. The two best I found were xvisual and a motif toolkit designer. I didn't have the money for motif (yes I do have lesst-tiff but the designer wasn't ready to handle that) and as for xvisual well... I liked it because I could actually make stuff but only kludgeingly so. Also, I couldn't make things look professionally enough for my tastes.

Where was I, oh yes, I was attempting to make something new with the Xclass set and was quite pessimistic about it. I started by trying to make a simple window. It took me a bit of searching through the other examples (very few at the time) but I succeeded. Hmm, interesting, I even understood how I did it. Ok, well then, I will add a button to my window and make it do something. With a little more searching (not near as much this time) I succeeded. WOW! I can really build stuff with this! (I was quite excited and stuck my tongue out at the aforementioned plant.)

I decided to tackle something bigger. Fvwm95 had a spot for the "Run..." program in its menu but did not have anything for execute for it. I decided to build it. It took a few days but I did it. (It is now included in the standard Xclass distribution.) This Xclass programming was "almost" easy. I realized there was a potential that other users, who were like me and had trouble working with other widget sets, might be able to start making their own programs and contribute to the flood of Linux software. Furthermore, it looked professional.

It was considering this that I began to remember xvisual and Visual Basic. I realized that the Xclass was well suited for just that sort of development. I decided then and there that I wanted to create something similar for Xclass that would allow a huge number of people to point and click their way to making lots of and hopefully quality software. Having something like that would remove the tedium of doing some things over and over again. Just point and click. Development of large apps would be MUCH faster.

Thus the idea of OnyX was born. Rapid Application Development software. I suppose the whole above story could be summed up by the following:

Question: Why did you start building OnyX?
Answer(s): Because I want to. I enjoy it. 'cause I feel like it. Because I hope it will help somebody else. 'cause Microshaft wont get a single red cent. Because its Linux. And last but not least,  Hey why not?

My ultimate goal with OnyX is to have something useful, worthwhile, powerful, and FREE (via GPL). How far will I go? As far as I can bloody well get! I hope I succeed. The only way I will, however, is if you can occasionally test OnyX to its fullest and let me know where the problems are. Feel free to grab the most recent release from the alpha testers page. Thanks for showing your interest by reading this. I hope it is and will be well worth it.

Frank Hall