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A fullscreen desktop application resembling a sci-fi computer interface (github.com)
400 points by nailer 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 86 comments

Blessed contrib has a pretty cool "retro future" look. I wonder if it's made it's way into any movies:


There's also "Hollywood Terminal" https://www.tecmint.com/fake-hollywood-hacker-terminal/

But... Can it take input from two people hacking on one keyboard? [0]

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8qgehH3kEQ

Painful, but I watched it to the end. Urgh. "DOD Level 9 Encryption" and pretty sure their "fix" was unplugging the monitor.

I wonder if the actors realize just how dumb these sorts of scenes are when they're filming them.

I suppose they don't realize it.

To be fair, I can only tell when it's computer-related nonsense, but I absolutely cannot tell if (for example) medical dramas such as Grey's Anatomy are at all realistic, barring reasonable artistic licenses to make a scene more dramatic. The surgeons could be doing something as silly as "hacking the same keyboard" and I wouldn't know. The computer-related scenes in medical dramas are dumb enough that I suspect the medical stuff probably also is, but I can't tell.

My aunt, who was a forensic doctor, would be driven up the walls by the absurdity of the CSI screenplays. I'm an engineer and they manage to trigger me into laughter.

A bit is suspension of disbelief when some inaccuracy is needed by the story (like the sandstorm in The Martian) is tolerable, but completely messing up innocuous stuff you should have hired a field specialist to help you (physics, astronomy, police, medical, anything) with is inexcusable with the kind of budget even a lowly Sharknado has.

Seriously: I love movies. I was torn between engineering and cinema in college. Let's join together to never again have a cringe worthy moment on TV (unless it's there for the comedy value).

My mother, a nurse, likes House. She says there's plenty wrong, but enough right that it's not too distracting.

Wasn't there this trivia that comedy hospital series Scrubs was actually the most technically correct medical show?

Yes, but it was mostly accurate in its coverage of life working in a hospital if anything.


In my limited acquaintance with actors which participated in dumb TV series, yes, they often do.

On that note, I have no idea if this is true, but wouldn't be surprised: https://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/f2i7t/ive_written_f...

Yes they do.

I’ll leave these two links for everyone to play with.

http://geektyper.com http://www.hackertyper.com

They removed that part of scene from the episode on the DVD. I was watching for it and laughed when I realized it had been excised. Too embarrassing, eh?

Yes- IIRC NCIS self-consciously tried to see how ridiculous they could make it.

The interesting thing is that in the first few seasons NCIS got a lot of the computer tech mostly right (modulo some dramatic license regarding easy access to every possible data source the government might have) but as they relied more on Tim the IT guy as a convenient oracle for moving the plot along it quickly dove into "enhance, enhance, enhance..." mode.

I'm fairly sure NCIS is doing stuff like this on purpose. Like the caf-pows that are always empty to the point of making slurping sounds fresh from the store or that time gibbs didn't know how to use an usb drive so he tried putting it in his mouth.

The Fifth Estate tried to make things look realistic, so a fair number of CLIs have actually made their way into at least a movie


A bunch of xterm active icons on a purist fvwm look just that impressive

+ai This option enables active icon support if that feature was compiled into xterm. This is equivalent to setting the vt100 resource activeIcon to "true".

If anyone is interested, here's a post about the original graphics and interface design from the movie by jt nimoy:


> I take representing digital culture in film very seriously in lieu of having grown up in a world of very badly researched user interface greeble. I cringed during the part in Hackers (1995) when a screen saver with extruded "equations" is used to signify that the hacker has reached some sort of neural flow or ambiguous destination. I cringed for Swordfish and Jurassic Park as well.

Jurassic Park's infamous scene was actually UNIX though: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fsn_(file_manager)

There was a Linux port too - but not used that in something like 10 years so no idea if it still compiles.

I know this.

I feel that the 'Tron: Legacy' and 'The Martian' interfaces ar the high water marks in this category ...

Here is a full treatment of the Martian screens/interfaces:


Someone once made a HAL 9000 screensaver for the Mac.

The author spent an incredible amount of time matching the fonts and animations to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Unfortunately, he was too good at it, and got a nastygram from the people who own the rights to the film, so it's no longer available.

But I still have my download that I run on my machine, and it's very impressive in a very retro-cool way.

Oh man ... I remember the time that I was thinking seriously about doing Plymouth theme of HAL9000. The idea was having a little window showing dmesg at boot, and random HAL900 stuff on the other fake screens.

That’s my worry about this shell too. Disney aren’t exactly known for being passive about intellectual property (even though half of their iconic movies are based on stories in the public domain).

The Martian in book-form is very impressive, it describes patching, in binary form, a bug in wxworks regarding priority inversion.

I worked with people a few years ago who had done the exact same thing, which felt a bit weird. Not on martian rovers or anything but on production systems for electrical networks.

Did you mean VxWorks? I still have my certifications for that somewhere.

'... Choose emacs eshell to make the terminal more l33t.'

Pah! Thank you for the link. :)

Let me just mention https://www.rainmeter.net/ for desktop customization.

while i'm just using some of the system metric widges, some people go all in and reskin their complete desktop. unfortunatly windows only.

iStatMenus is great on macOS for any types of system stats.

And Conky for Linux (and others?).

These type of desktop modifications were very popular in Linux in late 90's early 2000's.

My Linux KDE desktop featuring Tron Legacy theme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKFR6fnxlKg

You can also totally overdo the cool effects. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QokOwvPxrE



oh hey, thanks! I'm excited this is something people still remember. I hope people get behind this, it's a lot more accessible and there seem to be a lot of people trying it out.

Studios keep pushing the UIs visually but we need to keep up with the ridiculousness

I compiled it (takes a while there's a lot of native modules) and ran it on a Surface Go. Here's a video:


Short version:

- Task manager, CPU cores etc works.

- Touchscreen keyboard works

- Yeah the globe is the location of your public IP plus socket connections (ie Get-NetTCPConnection / netstat)

- It's slow, and Ctrl C doesn't work. It's not going to replace Terminus (or ConEmu, if you haven't heard about Terminus) as your main terminal anytime soon. But it is fun.

>> Ctrl C doesn't work

Also confirming it works on MacOS, High Sierra.

Ctrl+C works for me on a Mac.

Man, I would just love to see this in action on a MS Surface Studio. I anyone here has one of those, please, please install this and take a photo

I have a surface book 2, will test it tonight!

I've got one at work, will try it out later today.

It looks pretty good on my surface book 2. I cant manage to take a pic without an insane reflection of myself showing from the surface though =P

Looks nice, but sad to see "electron" in top processes on screenshots.

Oh man, I love this.

It's so cheesy! I'm glad you didn't cut corners with the UI elements, all of it is accurate and functional.

Super cool. I will have to use it the next time a manager comes to my desk.

Just an FYI that the antivirus on my work machine blocked it due to ping sweeping, which I'm guessing is related to the globe. So it's probably harmless but if you don't want to get a call from your IT dept I'd save it for your home machine.

Is the "network endpoint" displaying the location of the remote servers there is/was an open connection to? That could be an interesting feature!

One could even imagine opening a website from the globe view.

It does does exactly that. Visit Hawaii.edu in a browser and watch a pin pop up in the middle of the Pacific!

>> If you have a physical keyboard wired to your computer, pressing keys IRL will illuminate the virtual keyboard: please remember to not type any passwords if you are recording your screen!

Maybe just disable that on password fields? :3

I feel like this is appropriate here: https://xkcd.com/1425/

Or do you have an idea how you would programmatically determine whether input was not echoed due to password, game, or just so that the app can do some pre-processing before displaying the glyph?

Oh, I at least simply mean on text fields that are formatted, e.g. in CSS, to be password-type fields.

It may even be possible to write a hook into the Terminal client, so, e.g. when the user is asked for sudo permissions, it temporarily disables the glow on the keyboard.

I'm talking about basic solutions that may not cover all the angles, but can cover the most common points. But heck, it's open-sourced, so I know I could implement something like that myself if I wanted to, so I'll shut up. :P

It’s funny that regarding this comics content, checking if you have a bird on the photo is like one repository away, nowhere that 5 years and a research team mentioned.

It looks nice, but does it have that super important "hacking" sound effects every Hollywood blockbuster incorporates into their computer UI scenes?

Anytime I hear those sounds the movie is ruined for me.

Sorry, I just had to let it out.

I love it, 3 features I'll like to see, and I might hack on when I'm done with my current side projects.

toggle keyboard so it doesn't flash. toggle to hide the keyboard. toggle to retain original shell colors

I'm so happy something like this exists. I absolutely love TRON and anything that relates to it. I was really sad that Disney didn't push for a third movie.

Has that been canned? The cartoon TV series[1] was amazingly deep considering it was a kids show but that was cancelled after the 1st season because Disney wanted to focus on a 3rd movie. From what I read, those involved with the cartoon weren't happy (and neither was I, for that matter).

[1] https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1812523/

I just want to second that TRON: Uprising was really good. Definitely the high water mark of the franchise.

It's cool but struggled on my laptop (i7-8550U clocked at 3.0GHz).

Glad you finally wrapped up your project! Hope it was fun and informative.

Take a look at http://tracesof.net/uebersicht/

Übersicht lets you run system commands and display their output on your desktop in little containers, called widgets. Widgets are written in JavaScript + React's JSX.

Is actually, not bad as a UI.

More fleshed and could be a good alternative to the regular shells.

Great work! Reminds me of some things I have seen in this subreddit: https://old.reddit.com/r/FUI/

Interesting! Reminds me of Enigma. I wonder what ever happened to Enigma after the 2.0 release. Those were the days! I think around 2010 was the peak of Linux desktop customization craze.

This would be pretty awesome as a background window now that I think about it! Love this.

Aww, why was the title changed? Copyright concerns? That's a real shame if so.

The previous title was also inaccurate as I believe it actually labelled it as something like 'TRON OS' - the issue with that, of course, being, this isn't an OS, but an application.

No, I wrote the title, it uses 'interface' or 'UI'.

It's inspired by edex as well as Tron:Legacy but I wanted to keep it short.

New title is less relevant and needless meddling.

A small part of me has been waiting for this for seven years now. Thank you!

How about just installing Linux and i3 window manager?

interesting - I'm seeing more and more Linux software packaged as AppImage.

Works brilliantly on a single click install.

Its funny how to make something look 'advanced' or 'sci-fi' designers tend to spam pointless crap all over the UI.

those nested setTimeout fn calls are hard to read. I would extract their bodies.

not unlike my current setting of several tiled xterms with black background :}

love this. super cool design

Off topic, but I think it's the first time I see emojis in commit messages. Nice to see that it works, but I don't know how to feel about it.

Some projects that use emojis, actually use them with meaning. https://gitmoji.carloscuesta.me

after scrolling through these, i'm left wondering why a checkered flag to represent a windows fix?

With recent(-ish) support for color emoji in Gnome terminal, where I work has fully embraced emoji driven development.

Kidding aside, it's fine but on older terminals (read: default terminal in ubuntu 16.04) they cause display issues, so they fit a bit better in the README.

> emoji ... cause display issues

Well, that gave me a stupid idea.



It's not nice to seem it work and I know exactly how I feel about them.

I really don't understand why people seem to hate emojis so much. They're the same as utf8 pictograms, except they're more styled. They can be really useful in my opinion.

Maybe it's because young people use them a lot in messaging apps and older people are like "gah! young people and their picture messages! grmbl"?

I'm relatively young. I use emojis daily - they are part of the way we use slack in our company. I still don't really like them. It just feels like they are necessary because we have no standard for embedding actual pictures - and so we are cramming more and more of them into Unicode, using weird hacks like zero-width-joiner sequences, and so on. The rate at which they are added, means any given implementation is likely to be out of date, and display nonsense. They are also often a confusing way to communicate.

And yet, I don't quite hate them - they can be useful. I just wish we had something better.

This isn't ancient Egypt, or MessoAmerica, or any of the other places on the planet that invented/used symbology/ pictogram/hieroglyphs to communicate.

It makes communication MORE difficult and LESS clear. Text communication is a direct conversion(translation) of speech. You don't say:

"left arrow-jump-levitate-smiley face"

You do however say:

"I'm jumping for joy"

But consider the other possible meanings:

"Gravity is lower over there. Wee. This is fun"

"Did you see jump back there? WooHoo!"

"In the past I would practice yoga and meditation. I liked it."

... and i could go on. Because say it with me:

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Which of those thousand words depends on the individual decoding/defining/interpreting the message.

If you find you are unable to convey a clear, concise, unambiguous message using text; you need to read more and perhaps go back to school.

Or perhaps it's because sometime the meaning of emoji can be hard to understand, rather than "gah! young people"

Exactly. They are ambiguous, increase visual clutter and not backwards compatible with older systems.

Even if they manage to convey a meaning, like the other poster said, that meaning is emotional instead of factual.

Why would anyone ever wish to express emotions in a commit message, or even in a business communications tool like Slack, is beyond my comprehension.

For personal communication they can serve a purpose, but that's not the topic here.

I argue emojois make it easier to understand. Whether conveying sarcasm, frustration, joy or anger. It's much easier to infer the tone of a message using emojis.

I'd agree that for emotional context, it can be useful. But I don't think the way they are used there is easy to understand. I mean what's the meaning of the heart regarding CI or the pen for bugs? Is that indicative of a categorie of commit (CI, bug-fix...) or just to decorate the message?

Also another issue is that emojis are not as easily indexable/searchable.

Well, in this comment thread we have "it's not nice to see them work [in this case]" and "I'm not sure how I feel about emojis working [in this case]."

So, no, I don't think the issue is that they don't work in this case.

HN definitely does have a knee-jerk hate for them, and if you spend enough time here you'll see that a lot of it really is just "gah, young people." It's the new hate on txt-speak.

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