Will cheese overpower coffee as French-developed FROMAGE seeks to become the next Java?
The French are a nation long known for their obsession with the fine points of fragrance. Now they are applying that obsession to a new generation of technology that supports transmission of fragrances and odors over the World Wide Web. And if they have their way, "point and click" and "drag and drop" will soon be replaced by "scratch and sniff", as the ubiquitous GUI (graphical user interface) is replaced by their newly developed OUI (olfactory user interface).
"Flavored coffee smells for Java applets is not enough!" declares Jacques Merde, leader of this ongoing project at the Aromatique Scientifique Institute Francais (ASIF).
The question arises, according to Merde: "What constitutes a 'scratch' in the current desktop environment? Is it depressing the mouse button and moving it back and forth a specific number of times over a specific distance? Or will only those who have those rubber touch-pad interfaces be able to use this technology?" Still unanswered is the most important question of all: "Where exactly do you put your nose?"
- Jesus, Sermon on the Mount
(as misheard during the filming
of Monty Python's Life of Brian)
The OUI system was developed using a new environment that may replace Java as the de facto programming language of the web. FROMAGE (which stands for "French Realtime Odor Management and Generation Environment", or "Francais Realisement Odeur Managerie ... something") is expected to revolutionize the way software is written and distributed over the Internet.
The lingering presence of FROMAGE permeates the web community. A number of major players in web technology have bought into the FROMAGE model.
- Symantec's Visual Cheese product is already available.
- Borland's Limburger. will be out this spring
- PowerSoft's CheeseBuilder is currently in feta test.
- Lotus's BRIE (Basic RealOdor Implementation Environment) will be packaged with the latest version of their Domino Pizza Server, which now supports "extra cheese" and guarantees OTP packet delivery in 30 minutes.
Not to be outdone by the French, the Mexicans have developed QUESO, which stands for "Quite Useful Environment for Sending Odors" (or "¿Quíen usa esta sistema obsurda?"). QUESO complements the FROMAGE model rather than attempting to replace it or other popular programming paradigms. "We will not lose sight of other technologies," says Alex E. Gente, of El Guapo Technologies, one of the leading proponents of QUESO. "For instance, when it comes to Java, QUESO will provide extensive support within the new odor transmission protocols for the notion of 'beans'."