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Unix Operating Systems Software

MUD Shell 142

TGandalf writes "MUD Shell is a shell for end users- as easy to use as a MUD or a text adventure game. View an example session and download the source (16KB). It translates your filing system into a map, so cd.. becomes gonorth or simply n. File copying via the shell involves moving to one location, taking objects, then moving to another location to drop them. We got the idea from reading a thread on SlashDot." Allright I can't imagine actually using this, but I gotta give props. Very clever.
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MUD Shell

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  • by Erich ( 151 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @01:27PM (#397168) Homepage Journal
    Isn't this just like the Adventure Shell, which has been around for a long time? Seems pretty MSInnovative to me.
  • by TheNecromancer ( 179644 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @01:28PM (#397169)
    Reminds me of an older MUD I used to play, called "OverLord". I can foresee sysadmins lording over their 'domains', and 'killing' any user foolish enough to trespass into their realm.

    User: I need to access this directory share on the network.

    sysadmin: You must first defeat my evil minions! Muhahaha!!!!

  • Not only is there ash, but also an Adventure Shell buncha scripts for bash. You can also, according to .html [] "Infocom-ise your Windows DOS prompt".

    Might be worth a look-into -- the bash version claims to be "ca 1984".

  • I thought "up" would be better for "cd .." instead of north. Each subdirectory could be a dungeon that goes down deeper...
  • Not to kill the humour, but for those newbies out there, init.d should contain you actual physical files, while rc?.d contains symlinks to them, with the appropriate prepending for load instruction and order.
  • you've completely missed the point. the appeal of computers is that we can create streamlined environments for doing what we want to do. the real world is horrible for doing work. you have to move around to get at stuff (even if you're not wasting energy walking around in a VR world, your wasting time..), you have to manage all that paper by yourself, your desk gets messy, and hardcopy doesn't even let you copy/paste! why would you want to recreate all the flaws of the offline world?
    as for those who can't learn how to use the superior interface; they will soon be superseded by a generation which has already learnt the technology, so are they really an issue?

    where did this silly notion that the intuitive interface is the best interface come from?

  • Yes, except for where /etc/init.d/ is itself a symlink to /etc/rc.d/init.d/, of course.

  • No. We will never have a 3D filesystem browser [] that represents your filesystem in a visually palatable format.

    Nope. Never.

    kickin' science like no one else can,
    my dick is twice as long as my attention span.
  • by krmt ( 91422 )
    Who says open source doesn't innovate? ;-)

    (* it's just a joke!)

    "I may not have morals, but I have standards."
  • You have been eaten by an ugly ogre.
    That was painful!
    You lose points.

  • by YU Nicks NE Way ( 129084 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @01:29PM (#397179)
    Gives a new meaning to drag'n drop...or perhaps, dragon drop.
  • IIRC, there was a "doom shell": your processes were represented as monsters and it was possible to kill them. I remember the story here on Slashdot.

    You could walk through the file system and everything was if you were walking through a doom game. Very clever.

  • It would seem only logical to have it have a Tron feel to it. Or even a Reboot one.
    And BTW, what happens when you get killed? Is your account blocked until you are resurrected, or something?
    There is new mail here

  • Reminds me of the cross between the User Friendly "Movie OS" and the GUI filesystem navigation used in the original Jurassic Park; you know where the girl sees the 3D file manager and claims "Oh it's a UNIX system!"

    Pretty soon anyone will be able to use a computer. What are these people thinking? How am I going to keep demanding a high salary for possessing "cryptic OS knowledge"?

  • I never saw the movie, but in the book there is a virtual-reality filing system that you walk through, open drawers, etc. Sounds like this shell is the first step. - JoeShmoe
  • Now I have to stop thinking about that thing, and help implement the real adventure-shell!

    RASH, sounds like a cool shell. :-)

  • I had a similar experience... in Windows, I had to create batch files for ls, rm, mv, cp...

    Then I discovered some sort of "power toys" package from Microsoft that included ported versions of ls, rm, mv, and so on (much better than the Win9x equivalents.) Microsoft probably ported them from BSD like they did with the ftp command. Unfortunately, since I got a new computer, I haven't been able to find them again.

    Does anyone know of a shell that's been ported to Windows 2000? Or if not an entire shell, just the command-line tools would make me happy.
  • This has been tried. And the result was


    <drum roll>


    Microsoft BOB!


  • goto /
    You enter /. There are exits in the usr, etc, root and home directions. Vmlinuz and core are in the room.

    look You see vmlinuz and core.
    look at core
    Core is a large fellow and looks to be very old.
    > kill core The gods prevent you from acting.
    > cast 'sudo' kill core
    You *massacre* the core.
    > look at core
    The core looks pretty hurt.
    You *obliviate* the core.
    You kill the core dead! RIP!!!
    > cons vmlinuz
    Are you mad!?!?
  • Ridiculous. Easy-of-use and streamlined are at opposite ends of the usage spectrum. There have been forces pulling in both directions at every stage of development.

    Why aren't we manually settings registers by flipping switches? Wasn't the punchcard horrible real world stuff? You had to design your program, punch it out, then feed it into the computer to compile it. So why would anyone do that? Because it sure beat having to feed your program in flawlessly character by character flipping switches.

    The "desktop" analogy that modern GUIs use is an extension of this same "hard work". You have to click the file. You have to drag the file. You have to drop the file. So why would anyone do that? Because it sure beats having to learn the command syntax for copy.

    I think you couldn't be further off base when you clame the appeal of computers is that you can create streamline environments. The appeal of computers is that they abstract large amounts of menial tasks so all we need to be concerned about is higher-level thinking skills.

    The real world is hardly a "horrible" place to get work done. Which is more efficient?

    A) Having ten people watching indicators so they can push a button when the state changes or
    B) Having a computer watching indicators and pushing buttons when the state changes

    Well the answer would seem to be B, but it begs the questions, who tells the computer what to do? It's rather simple to tell ten people (even high-school dropouts) to watch this light and push that button if it goes red. It's rather difficult to have one of them built a proper indicator/computer interface and the software with logic to do the same task.

    Now of course you can hire someone with the expertise to do it, but then we've just proven my point.

    If a person can understand a command line interface, it makes sense that they would and should use that since it is the most efficient.

    If a person can't understand a command line interface but can understand a graphical user interface, it makes sense for them to use that.

    If a person can't understand even a graphical user interface (and there are plenty of people who have still no idea how to work a mouse) then I say it makes perfect sense for them to use a virtualize world interface because that's the lowest common denominator.

    You seem to think people should rise to the challenge of the most efficient system. That's an ideal. Have you ever been in a real company? How many geeks are there? The majority of the people hired by companies are hired for business/legal/etc skills. So should a company exclude them because they don't have the ability to learn/use a "superior" interface? Please tell me where to find a CFO that's also a UNIX guru.

    At a company I worked at, once of the VPs didn't even have a computer. Why did they hire him? Because he was a financial wizard and made a lot of money. So if he needed information from a computer system, he used a "horrible real world" interface called the administrative assistance. He would tell her what information he wanted and she would get it and print it out for him. It was more efficient for the company to hire a secretary to do the work than to have him spend his time learning how to do it himself.

    Oh, and once last thing..."hardcopy doesn't even let you copy/paste!" Absurd! Where do you think we got the terms from? From people cutting sections of documents up, pasting them together and then photocopying to form the final document. Is it efficient? Probably not, but it's something even my grandmother knows how to do.

    - JoeShmoe
  • by SheldonYoung ( 25077 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @01:16PM (#397189)
    When the computer is infected by a virus does that mean I got bit by chiggers and have to go find the mud?

    Life is an Adventure.

  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @02:24PM (#397191)
    Already been done, to some extent: Doom source hacked such that processes were represented by baddied (the more resource hungry the process, the worse the monster was), and you kill -9'ed them with your boomstick, as already reported by Slashdot [] in late 99.

  • Just hope another player doesn't cast an rm -fR * spell your way...


  • that seems like a pretty nifty way to navigate around...but isn't the idea of computers to make it possible to do things more quickly? Maybe not, but that's what I usually look for. Amusing anyhow.
  • This has been done before, a long time ago. See ad vsh
  • What would happen if someone were to base 3d filemanagement and other tools on something like this?

    "just connect this to..."

  • He is giving it propellors. I dunno whether it is aircraft props or boat props though...

    At least he isn't giving props to dead homiez
  • Or maybe it could be that people just want to do things in new and unusual ways, just to say they can.

    Stop reading so much into these articles, you're quite on the virge of trolling.

  • Cool, DIE netscape, DIE X, Die DIE DIE!!!!!!!!
    it would also be cool, but it would be not funny to get lost in /etc or /usr or something "God danget, I know that /usr/local hallways around here somewhere!!"
  • It is pretty much Adventure Shell with a fancier parser.

    Here's a copy of Adventure Shell [] for those who have never found it as their default shell on the first day at a job....

  • sysadmin: You must first defeat my evil minions! Muhahaha!!!!

    You Sysadmin sounds just like Bill Gates ;-)
  • Er, if its like any modern mud, you can use n,s,e,w,u,d for directions. Not that I can try it, since my linux computer is sitting far away now and I'm limited to my windows computer. *Sniff*

    Dammit! And it looked interesting too!
  • Just be careful. The original Adventure Shell needed a few small hacks. "Throwing something at the daemon" (printing) also rm'd the file...

    Of course, the description was that it was eaten... *grin*

  • Yep. They're in the W2K resource kit.

  • buildings and rooms in a VR environment, killing off rogue processes with your trusty sword of SIGTERM.
    I walk through my process space with a shotgun. After a week as the new sysadmin, I'm finally getting used to the environment. Barrels of toxic waste are scattered throughout, providing temporary recourse against the onslaught of processes. Of course, if the fighting gets too bad, the processes fight among themselves, but only if there are too many processes. Most of the time I must go out on my own. With each shot, a nice command, with each frag, a kill -9. I keep the process space safe for users and processes alike. Within the month, I plan to aquire the rocket launcher, so that I can finally clean out the daemons of X11 sessions gone bad. Right now though, I have but a shotgun, and I cannot go head to head with the monsterous processes that haunt the upper stack. But soon I will.. soon I will succeed...
    Your post reminds me of a nice little program that I found a while back... Sysadmin Doom [].
  • by ideut ( 240078 )
    Cygwin [] It's a POSIX layer for win32. Bash, ksh, and so on have been ported to it, as have many many unix tools..
  • That 3D file manager was an actual shipping demo tool that came on all SGI IRIX systems. I don't remember the precise name of it... Nobody I knew really used it of course, but it made for a funny 'in' joke in the movie...


  • by joshv ( 13017 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @02:32PM (#397207)
    > enter /etc

    [listing deleted for brevity]

    >look at smb.conf
    smb.conf looks interesting. You might be able to write to it and delete it. You definitely cannot execute it

    > wield SwordOfDeletion

    > attack smb.conf
    You hit smb.conf hard.
    smb.conf savages you with a death spell.
    You feel weak.
    You run away to /

    > say "shit, forgot to su"

  • MUDs may be easy to use after you've learned one (because the interface is very similar). However, one still has that initial learning curve. Granted, a MUD has a bit more intuitiveness than your average bash shell, but still. Bash is far more efficient for most tasks, after that initial curve is overcome. I think it's more useful to show a newbie how to do things in a windowed-manager, and when they get comfortable with the concept of a file system with directories (folders), subdirectories, filetypes, extensions, etc. then introduce them to the shell. Learning to get around in a window manager greatly increases overall knowledge of how the filesystem is set up (regardless of OS), which is a prerequisite for using a shell prompt effectively.

  • "Verge of trolling"?!?
    s/he *is* a troll. Go read her/his back posts. A rather good troll at that.
  • by joshv ( 13017 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @02:36PM (#397210)
    > enter /etc

    [listing deleted for brevity]

    >look at smb.conf
    smb.conf looks interesting. You might be able to write to it. You definitely cannot execute it.

    > wield SwordOfDeletion

    > attack smb.conf
    You hit smb.conf hard.
    smb.conf savages you with a death spell.
    You feel weak. You are near death.
    You run away to /

    > say "shit!"
    You say "shit".
    /boot looks are you strangely.

    > cast SuperUser

    > password: *******

    > drink healing potion

    > enter /etc

    > attack smb.conf
    You kill smb.conf with a single blow.

    > Say "Thats more like it"
    You say "Thats more like it"

    /init.d applauds loudly.

  • This is UNIX! I know this!

    Guidelines for identifying a UNIX system in any movie:

    • System has extremely large monitor and/or chassis.
    • System has lots of important looking kit attached or adjacent to it.
    • A ridiculously contrived interface you wouldn't be caught dead using.
    • Failing all else, look for the big ass Silicon Graphics logo.


  • The adventure shell was written in 1984 by Doug Gwyn,, (now Doug is a well-respected old-school UNIX hacker. Yes, this is not nearly hot off the presses.
  • Does anyone know of a shell that's been ported to Windows 2000? Or if not an entire shell, just the command-line tools would make me happy.

    Why not look here [], for a whole range of GNU software running on Windows..

  • Welcome to the Adventure shell!
    You are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike> fight shell
    The shell hits! -more- you lose a file


  • I suppose the opposite of this MUD-Shell thing is a quest at NannyMUD ( In the course of the quest you sort of fell out of the MUD and was stuck in a "real" shell for a while.

  • You are absolutely right, .. is west. Now that we've settled that we can move onto the more important subject:

    When visualising a year, what does it look like?

    (Correct answer: The year is a circle. Time flows counterclockwise. The year begins/ends about 11 o'clock.)

  • I remember writing such a shell in a moment of boredom around 10 years ago with some equally sad, mud-obsessed mates.

    We had is set up so you could 'unlock' the door to your 'house' and let others inside. Each directory had a both a long and a short description which you could view. Files were objects (or objects were files!) and you could move them around...... you also had an object that moved with you so that you could see someone if their current working directory was the same as yours. 'Talking' to them sent them a screen message etc etc.

    Was great fun - I guess I should pull out the source from somewhere :)

  • I'm sure the idea is older than this. I remember something called `ash', the adventure shell, that ran either on Vaxes (4.3BSD) or on an HLH Orion which ran a souped-up 4.2BSD. This was along the same lines, but it wasn't done in bash because bash didn't exist then -- I guess this was 1986-87 timeframe. If it was on the Orion it may have been local to them I think, I think at least one of the HLH people was an adventure-game type person.
  • Your reply is bogus. Gekko didn't describe valuable information as a commodity, but information as a valuable commodity.

    Main Entry: commodity
    Pronunciation: k&-'mä-d&-tE
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
    Etymology: Middle English commoditee, from Middle French commodité, from Latin commoditat-, commoditas, from commodus
    Date: 15th century
    1 : an economic good: as a : a product of agriculture or mining b : an article of commerce especially when delivered for shipment c : a mass-produced unspecialized product
    2 a : something useful or valued b : CONVENIENCE, ADVANTAGE
    3 obsolete : QUANTITY, LOT
    4 : one that is subject to ready exchange or exploitation within a market

    I think the last definition is what the character most likely intended.
  • My implementation philosophy is slightly different however. I had as an original demand that it shouldn't change your prefered working environment except by adding things, i.e., it shouldn't break any of the things in your shell that work now. It's written in perl and primarily uses bash shell functions. It currently has:
    go [north/n/dir]
    take/drop [object/regexp]
    examine [file/dir/person]
    use [object]
    It supports local and global "skins" for your filesystem (that is, room description files) as well as .room_description files in the actual directories. "Use" uses the file command to deduce file type from header and mdsh has its own simple-to-modify magic file that associates file types with application (can have several console and X alternatives for each file type).
    When you enter a directory it diplays a room description if there is one, the number of files in the directory and the "exits" (directories)avilable, and also any other users in this directory. "Examine" works for all displayed objects (using the passwd file for users in your dir).
    Problems with my current version is that it is bash specific and mutli-user functionality is limited to seeing who else is in you cwd. I'm working on a new version that will take care of these issues and make command line chat etc possible.
    This application must be classified as a Bad Idea(tm) along the lines of Doom for sysadmins. It also has several predecessors, like ash and one adventure shell written originally for the VAX in the early 80's. If there is any interest I could probably put my code up somewhere. Email me at
  • If I could work and hunt the wump at the same time I would never leave my keyboard.

  • by SquadBoy ( 167263 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @02:38PM (#397222) Homepage Journal
    Here it is. u/~dlchao/flake/doom/+doom+shell&hl=en
  • You are in the evil MS forest. There is a trail which goes east and west. You hear noises coming from the north.

    system.dat is standing here

    H 400(400) V 82(82) > hit system.dat

    You knock the @#$$ out of system.dat which causes a BSOD
    system.dat is dead!
    You receive 2 experience points for participation.
    The battle so far has lasted 1 round.
    You laugh at the sound of the pc speaker's scream

    H 400(400) V 82(82) > yay!

  • > enter /etc/init.d

    > look
    You are trapped in a twisty maze of symlinks, all alike. You are likely to be eaten by init.

  • You are in the home directory of the MUD Shell demo account. You are feeling curious and want to explore. You are particularly curious about the shimmering portal to the South. If you get lost, type "go home" (without the quotes) to return here.


    Exits: North East South West.

    Funny how with every turn everything seems to be going south.


  • For example, the Super Nintendo classic, Metroid [].
  • >cast top
    You see a mail daemon here
    You see a http daemon here
    You see a ftp daemon here
    >yell Help, demons!
    You yell, "Help, demons!"
    >attack http daemon
    You easily slay the http daemon
    |<00|_/-\|)/\/\1|/| yells, "Some lamer just crashed our Web server, d00dz!"
  • check out the header of this shell:

    #MUD Shell
    #(C)2001 Dean "Gandalf" Swift and Xirium
    #20010209 Gandalf: idea taken from comments on SlashDot.Org
    #20010210 Gandalf: start

    Hmmm... ok... but which comment was he inspired by?

    My guess is comment #46 from this archived story []

    any other guesses?
  • ... how much bandwidth can a mudder POSSIBLY clog on your LAN??!?!?!?!

    "Damn these kids and their fancy-pants text streams!!! GRRR!!!! Back in my day we leeched bandwidth by CARRIER PIGEON YA LAZY GOOD FER NUTHINS!!!"

  • I'm working on something similar: I've hacked into the tcsh source so it will, before saying "command not found", send your command over a TCP connection. On the other end I've got a PennMush server. So far I just use it to chat at my terminal with my friends, but ultimately I'd like to add cute interactions with the filesystem.

    I call it mutcsh.

    So far it's in no shape to share, but if anyone is very interested, let me know.
  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @02:43PM (#397231) Homepage Journal

    Back in the 80s, I'd use DOS and play Infocom games constantly. Whenever I lost my train of thought, I'd do either L or DIR absentmindedly, just to get me restarted.

    Of course, half the time, I'd get I don't know the word 'dir.' and the other half I'd get Bad command or filename: L.

    Got so bad I made an L.BAT which did a DIR, which helped a little. :)

  • I often type "ll" into an irc channel. It's worse when there are pople watching :-)
  • by micromoog ( 206608 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @03:26PM (#397233)
    Or the Microsoft version:

    You find yourself surrounded by a mysterious blue cloud. You are unable to move.

  • What you want is OOP VR. That way you could step into your room and shout "Anyone here pertaining to (myfavoritesubject)?" Ideally, the data objects would be well enough defined to display their "best side" to entice you to "open" them.

    This has nothing to do with AI, of course. This would simply be applying VR to databases intelligently.

    Please don't flame me about overhead. I just think that VR can be useful provided it's used appropriately.
  • you use this product.
    Isnt there a top ten mud
    addict list? this should
    be added to it.
  • so cd .. becomes go north or simply n

    That would take a bit of adjustment for me. I've always thought of .. as west!

  • by fizban ( 58094 )
    The term "virtual filesystem" takes on a whole other meaning with this thing...


  • doesnt do anything, just let you look, but its real pretty... []

    the server was down last i looked, hopefully its back up now.

  • That would take all the fun out of mudding.
    I loved playing the old muds for months at a time only to advance my charachter a little bit and always have new challenges. But in a OS I'm not sure I want that fun challenge all the time.

    Go North index.htm

    You are standing in front of Inetpub
    There are three 31137 h4x0rz in front of you
    Exits are to the North and South

    Use firewall

    Firewall bounces off of 31137 h4x0rz -10

    Run Away

    Your have run away

    You are standing in front of \\root
    there is nothing here.
    There are no Exits...
  • It would certainly be interesting to turn this into some sort of educational introduction to UNIX. And could be quite fun for younger kids. At least after "playing" they would be familiar with some of the concepts.

    On the other hand, there were some interesting concepts in the MUDs which could migrate back into the command-line. The idea of levels was kind of cool. A particular user could be deemed an http "wizard" (i.e., full access to all things http) but a newbie WRT init, users, /etc, mail, etc. Essentially, designing multiple disciplines at various levels. "root" could become a much less necessary account (I have always felt root is a bad idea; hard to see who did what (and yes I know about sudo and its like), and it is too much of a target -- get root and you have the keys to the kingdom).
  • The question is why do Geeks like computers more than non-geeks?

    Yeah, and why is the Left so goddamn liberal?


  • I am a strong advocate of VR - don't get me wrong. But database searching and retrieval doesn't seem to be an ideal app for virtual environments

    The obvious flaw in a VR approach like this is that it is unnecessarily limited to the capabilities of an actual paper filing system. We'd need to start with a new metaphor that emphasizes the connectness of the information, not just the physical stability of its location (which is an important property for some people). Any useful VR record keeping system would have to have some magical violations of physical possibility to exceed the capabilities of the physical systems they are modelled upon. For example, if the same document could be found in multiple filing cabinets, it would add value to the file cabinet metaphor.

    What exactly is it about an interface that makes it VR? Is it moving through a virtual world? I think that any system for organizing lots of data works better if the user stays put and the data comes to him. That's why people used to like Rolodexes -- the data came to them based on a single control that could be manipulated in two directions -- up or down -- and if you chose the wrong one you'd still get to your data eventually.

    why couldn't they just ask the avatar - "angel" in the book - to find what they are looking for?

    Relational databases are already pretty close to this. Information lives in an abstract landscape with no fixed relationship to any physical locations such as sector, partition, drive, host or set of hosts. You create an abstract specification for what you want and the database management system fetches the data you need. Put a pretty face and a natural language parser on it and you have the angel in the book. The problem is that it isn't necessarily any easier. The really tricky thing, even after you've got over the peculiarities of SQL syntax, is knowing exactly what you want to ask for. This involves semantic insight into data that cannot always be gleaned from its formal structure. Often there are subtle questions like the difference between evidence of absence and absence of evidence. Since these are issues which cannot always be resolved formally, then you cannot create an interface which distinguishes them.

  • > It would be nice to carry files around with you

    This is something I rather like about windows explorer: you can cut and paste files, which is rather like the "get" and "drop" commands I wrote a long way back when i was learning unix. never went so far as to make it a whole shell though.

    zope manages resources the same way, though it's mostly because that's just about the only way to move files around in most web interfaces.
  • by cr0sh ( 43134 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @02:44PM (#397247) Homepage
    I saw the movie a while back, and read the book not to long ago.

    The thing I thought most stupid about both is how inefficient it would be to browse a database in this VR system! I mean, you have to actually walk over to a cabinet, open it, find the file, then open it and read it? Not the database you want? So now you walk down the corridor to a branch to find the portal to the next DB?

    I am a strong advocate of VR - don't get me wrong. But database searching and retrieval doesn't seem to be an ideal app for virtual environments (one thing I found funny about the book - I can't remember it in the movie - was when they were looking at the 3D factory "spec" - what I couldn't understand is why the factory spec couldn't simply be "rendered" around them, instead of as a smaller model, allowing them to see many different details).

    Virtual chatrooms - yes. Collaboration - yes. Surgery - yes. Training - yes. Architecture - yes. Trending/Statistics/Number modeling - yes.

    All of these could benifit from a DB backend - but searching that DB shouldn't be a human process in the virtual world (ie, why couldn't they just ask the avatar - "angel" in the book - to find what they are looking for?)...

    Worldcom [] - Generation Duh!
  • by jelson ( 144412 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @02:45PM (#397248) Homepage
    You do know that the filesystem navigation in Jurassic Park was a real application, right? No special effect. It was a program called fsn (the FileSystem Navigator), which ran on SGIs at the time. In fact, I'm amazed to find (after 5 seconds at google) that you can still download it from SGI! []

    FSN is not fake, it actually looks just like what you saw in the movie. I think the Jurassic Park people added the sound effects, but the real FSN actually let you fly around a graphical representation of your filesystem, fly into subdirs by clicking on them, launch apps, etc.

  • Geeks seem to have an obsession with representing filesystems, memory maps, harddrive partitions and so forth as everyday objects. For eample, I recently saw someone navigating their filesystem as though it was a space system, which was extremely odd to view.

    Aren't you the one who was salivating over the prospect of a 3-d interface the other day?

    (I was too, but I'm not dissing it today)

    One can see this motivation in Virtual Reality and simulcra, artificial life and the like. A fascination with nonreal complex system can enegender loneliness. What better way to escape this loneliness by bringing the external world, the world longed for but feared, into the internal world?

    Yes, I think that most geek social maladaptivia can be directly traced to an encompassing fear of the grues and evil wizards that lie outside the safety of the computer room.

    How about this: Geeks couldn't care less. Geeks are happy with the command line. It's for the benefit of everyone else that we have cute little folder icons and trash-cans and clickable buttons that look like old-tyme radios.

  • I agree with your point. The added level of mapping directories to directions is not that interesting. However, I think some MUD features would really work on a unix shell.

    The one I would like most is being able to interact with other users on the system. For example, movement: someone cd's to your home directory; you see something like "jdoe enters from /home/jdoe." If you cd to jdoe's home directory, you see "You see jdoe here." Chat: "jdoe says: what's up." Emotes: "jdoe smiles happily," and so on.

    It would take extending an existing shell a bit and add some way to keep global state. Not too bad.

  • by ca1v1n ( 135902 ) <snook@guanotroni[ ]om ['c.c' in gap]> on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @04:12PM (#397254)
    I think that efforts like this could help the indoctrinated user become more comfortable with a command line interface. It gives a very easily visualized representation of the file system which is actually more logical than the folder analogy commonly used. Once the user realizes that the folders they are used to using are simply an abstraction, they are ready to start learning a full-fledged command line interface, at least for file management. Of course there will always be a use for the GUI, but as anyone who has worked tech support can tell you, the GUI lets people be stupid, and then they don't know how to solve even the most rudimentary problems, because they don't understand that it is only an abstraction. If stuff like this makes the users a bit more aware of HOW the computer works, I'm all for it. Then we can get to work on juicier stuff, like not leaving the Administrator password blank.
  • The last MUD shell I downloaded from a 1337 warez site had "xyzzy" linked to "rm -rf".
  • look

    There is a / here.

    get /

    put / in /

  • SQL syntax is what I was thinking about, with a speech-to-text interface, and probably some kind of semantics and/or thesarus capabilty to resolve certain issues. It wouldn't be completely SQL syntax, but it would be close (ie, "Show me all employee records displaying name and address who have been employed since last November" would translate to "SELECT name, address FROM employees WHERE emp_since >= '11/01/2000'").

    You are right about certain issues, but with the proper syntax defined for the language being spoken, to make it more compatible with SQL, it would probably work for most cases.

    Worldcom [] - Generation Duh!
  • I doubt an 80-year old secretary will want to walk the "distance" a real DB would entail - especially in the VRE imagined in Disclosure. Even a normal healthy individual wouldn't do it (else we would see more people riding a bike 20 miles to work).

    You can't say, "Well, just make the world move faster around them" - because if you have never been in a real VR system, you can't imagine the nausea this would cause, as your brain is saying "you took two steps", but your eyes are saying "you moved 50 feet!" - most people would puke at that point, esp an 80 year old secretary.

    It would be much better for you to stay in one spot, and have the data come to you based on a structured query, in a similar manner to SQL, but based off of more normal language. Not typed in language either, but spoken word.

    Worldcom [] - Generation Duh!
  • Correct - essentially a more natural language based form of spoken SQL, coupled with either a relational or OO-based DB.

    Worldcom [] - Generation Duh!
  • I used "ash []", the Adventure Shell, six years ago or so. This is just a retread. (Although given ash's lack of maintenance, possibly a needed one.)
  • If you read the original slashdot thread the idea came from, you'll see that the idea for this type of shell was to help newbies.

    MUDShell doesn't really do that, unless the newbies happen to have experience with Adventure style games. Otherwise, a lot of the humor and some of the "logic" of the shell would be lost on the newbie.

    MUDShell is probably more entertaining for oldtimers than useful to new users. Nothing wrong with that.

  • And a prophet [], no less.

  • Might it not be because computers are complex systems and we therefore need to impose a level of abstraction? You will note that we already have many levels of abstraction between us and the computer, or we'd all be programing using hex editors today.

    Metaphors existed long before we came along as a way for people to clutch at the intangable and shape it to a concrete shape that is familar to them.

    You might as well say that poets are driven by an obession with emotion and thoughts that they wish to merge external reality with them.

    Now most geeks have no problems envisioning abstract concepts (at least as regards the inside of their computer). However, increasingly concrete layers of obstraction in the user interface does make it easier for users. To me this seems like the text based version of the graphics user interface.

    Personal, I'll probably always perfer bash to ethier of them, all things being equal, but given some development time I can see this more concrete text based user interface might be very useful to less experienced users in situations where bandwidth counterindicates the use of a GUI.
    Remove the rocks to send email
  • The story is not about filesystems. It's about user interface.

    The question is why do Geeks like computers more than non-geeks?

    Perhaps it's because they see something in computers that the non-geeks missed. If you're a programmer then you can show the rest of the world what you see by building different interfaces.

  • This is an excellent start, as most starts are. Obvious improvements would be to code it in a less interpretive language, and to add local directory features to provide the room description. For all I know, this might be an option already, I only scanned the source briefly.

    some of the issues mentioned in the original thread, such as concepts such as "file I edited yesterday" would be useful and interesting, or maybe just interesting, or maybe just cool.

    Anyways, cool idea, and cool project, good luck.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    maybe this too will grow into a graphical version of this. 'What?' Thats what GUI's are. Well, thats what GUI's were meant to be... and actually started out as that. Now, they are just the icons and multiple windows, with some limited funtions for each widget and icon (file). What ever happened to treating programs as objects, individual files being transparent to the user (until you wanted to actually get into them) and a true graphical method for manipulating your ENVIRONMENT. Well, maybe later this will grow into and merge with the 3D GUI under dev right now
  • Give it a graphical front end and blam! Instant VR filesystem. With actual usability, no less.


  • by Chmarr ( 18662 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @01:25PM (#397296)
    Wonderful! Cool! Amazing! I think, anyway :)

    So, the next thing we'll have is a tinyfugue plug in so it'll draw maps for you, then a graphical front end so you're wandering around filesystems as if they were buildings and rooms in a VR environment, killing off rogue processes with your trusty sword of SIGTERM.

    "Hey! You can't kill me, I'm nice -20!"

    Or... we just get the interactive, multi-player plug in for SGI's VR filesystem viewer :)
  • Well, something from someone who posted the initial idea. I don't know where to begin, but this is great. I just submitted me to the project (without even trying the sourcecode).

    It would be nice to carry files around with you (with maximum weight of course).

    Really, I never expected this, it was just a "general" idea. I played with it after I posted it and got so many positive replies, but I was already planning another new program (something around Icecast and voting). Now I have to stop thinking about that thing, and help implement the real adventure-shell!

    People, this project needs some hard work!
  • Well, something from someone who posted the initial idea. I don't know where to begin, but this is great. I just submitted me to the project (without even trying the sourcecode).

    It would be nice to carry files around with you (with maximum weight of course).

    Really, I never expected this, it was just a "general" idea. I played with it after I posted it and got so many positive replies, but I was already planning another new program (something around Icecast and voting). Now I have to stop thinking about that thing, and help implement the real adventure-shell!

    People, this project needs some hard work!
  • by Heidi Wull ( 318504 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @05:09PM (#397303) Homepage
    Geeks seem to have an obsession with masturbating filesystems, memory lapse, hard"drive" palpitations and so forth as everyday blow jobs. For example, I recently saw someone fucking their filesystem as though it was a loose whore, which was extremely odd to view, as I am a loose whore.

    Why do geeks do this? I would hazard that it is because they are so incredibally obsessed with the innards of their penises, that they desire to merge my vagina with it, to create a symbiosis of the external tangible world and the internal world of "software".

    One can see this motivation in Virtual Porn and oral sex, artificial life and inflatable dolls. A fascination with nonreal copulations can enegender loneliness. What better way to escape this loneliness by fucking everything and everyone! Especially me, since I'm such a huge whore!

    Through this sexual experience, geeks can become better adapted to the whores.

  • "Insightful"??? Did you even read the article? You've missed the whole point of the MUD shell. Is it for CmdrTaco? No, and he doubted he would ever use it. Is it for someone that doesn't know UNIX syntax? Yes.

    Your criticism of the VR database is being inefficient? That's the same argument made against GUIs (in fact the article even mentions that). The CLI uses far fewer resources.

    My favorite is "you have to actually walk over to a cabinet, open it, find the file, then open it and read it"...reality check but this is how a lot of companies still handle records. And the point of the VR version is that instead of re-training 80-year-old secretaries to use a database(or even a computer) they can just slip on a pair of glasses/gloves and make database searches the same way they've been getting information their whole life.

    I'm sorry but I think you completely missed the point.

    - JoeShmoe

    The object is not to develope something efficient and practical, but something that an 80-year old receptionist can use to wander through a database without having to touch a keyboard.

    Not to criticize the moderators, but this seems "Mistaken" more than "Insightful".

  • by pixel_bc ( 265009 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2001 @01:25PM (#397307)

    "You might get eaten by a core ^h^h^h^h grue."


%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears