At Grafikon we have been running an Unix based XPP system for around 20 years. Over the years we have been using the following Unix flavors:
- System 5 based Xyvision proprietary OS
- Dec Ultrix
- Sun Solaris
For many years our operator were used seeing a rather bland Solaris CDE desktop environment (following many years of the Ultrix CDE desktop).
More recently we changed our Solaris XPP servers to Linux based servers. Not for the fun of it, but mainly because of the price/performance advantage the intel based platform was offering.
But when you move to a Linux platform, you have an important choice to make: what desktop environment will you run? The main contenders are:
(lucky for us CDE was a no-go, although it does exist)
Alvin, our local Linux expert, is an avid KDE user. So the choice was made to use the KDE desktop environment and by the time we were ready to make the switch to the new environment KDE 4.1 was released.
Here is how a KDE4.1 desktop might look like:
(as with all desktops, you can spend the rest of your life adapting it to your liking)
As you can see, one of the new big features in KDE4.1 is support for transparency. A feature you can also find in the lastest Mac OSX and Windows OS versions.
Up and till now, I tend to think of those ‘features’ as toys and eye candy, invented and imposed by marketing departments in lack of ‘real’ new features or in order to slow down our machines.
But ho, wait. Roger Pecceu actually found an application for it that involves the XPP software.
You might not know Roger, but Roger has been working on our XPP system for some 20 years now and never ceases to surprise me with novel uses of the system/keyboard shortcuts/X-menu buttons.
The task at hand was to verify that the newly installed V8.2 system did produce exactly the same results as the old V7.3 system.
Nothing could be easier for Roger…
Roger has known the days of film and in those days it was quite common to superpose 2 pieces of film in order to see where the differences were.
So Roger came up with an electronic version of this ‘old’ process.
From his Ubuntu/KDE4.1 workstation he logs in into the XPP 7 system and the XPP 8 system. He then simply opens the 7.3 version of the job and the 8.2 version of the same converted job. And then…he simply overlays both windows.
What could be simpler!
|Here is the work in progress|
|And here the process is completed|
Can you see where the 2 versions do not match?
(hint: formula near the bottom of the boxed text)
Well there you have it, what was a toy and eye candy turned into a real production tool.
Or how to teach our new dog (KDE4.1) old tricks…