The Loci/Piper Project












The Pied Piper Desktop

The Pied Piper Desktop project aims to make a desktop that utilizes a peer-to-peer distributed dataflow system and the resulting network, as specified by the PiperNet standards.

And the Pied Piper Desktop will be different from any desktop created before. Unlike nearly all other desktops (Windows, Macintosh, GNOME, KDE), The Pied Piper will not be a circa 1980 Apple Lisa work-alike. The Pied Piper will be a genuine UNIX-like desktop in that it will permit the user to follow the UNIX paradigm: perform complex tasks by linking small tools.

For your enjoyment, below are some prototype and actual screenshots.

In the Pied Piper Desktop, networks are formed by interconnecting nodes. The connections can represent data flow, procedural steps, relationships, and so on. Each node has its own GUI component(s).

Network lines and icons (see Loci screenshot below for icons) can be independently shown/hidden. With the network lines hidden and icons shown (the opposite of the screenshot above), the look and feel is very much like that of a standard Mac- or Windows-style desktop. This resemblence to the more common desktops is not seen in applications similar to the PiperNet's Piper reference (e.g., Khoros Cantata and OpenDX -- click on links for screenshots).

GUI components are kept in a "windowlet", which is a small window that actually remains attached to its node. The effect is like combining node (or icon, when shown) with window titlebar (on standard desktops, both can be clicked, dragged and dropped, and both can have a title). Windowlets can also be shown/hidden via mouse double-click (just like "window shades"!).


Here is a different view of a network is that of the GUI components sans workspace, network lines and icons. The components are compiled (merged) according to the relationship between nodes. Components hidden (windowlets hidden) in the previous view are not visible in the compiled view.


This is an older screen shot of The Pied Piper when it was "The Loci Project". Both network lines and icons are in the "shown" mode.