Fornaxis is a portable, distributed programming system.

It lets you write network-transparent, graphically-enabled software in any programming language that provides access to POSIX — including Unix shells.

In Fornaxis, separate components of the system (called agents) communicate through an API. The API has two layers: The lower layer is a remote filing protocol (or the native file system, with proper kernel support). The upper layer is the application semantics, defined in terms of interactions with files in a virtual filesystem. Fornaxis provides a remote filing protocol called Freemount for the lower layer; applications will generally invent their own upper layers.

One API included in Fornaxis is FORGE, the File-Oriented, Reflective Graphical Environment. FORGE is an API for a desktop-oriented windowing system. A control agent performs operations on files in the FORGE virtual filesystem corresponding to the windowing actions it wishes to take. A display agent runs on the user’s machine and handles these filing requests, converting them back into windowing operations.

cd $GUI/port/hello
exec 9> lock
ln new/caption view
echo Hello world > v/text
touch window

Network-transparent operation is possible by exporting the display agent’s GUI filesystem and mounting it from the host on which the control agent runs.