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Welcome to Photon

Welcome to the Photon microGUI! This chapter covers the following topics:

What is Photon?

Photon is a graphical user interface (GUI) environment for the QNX realtime operating system and QNX-based applications. As a GUI, Photon provides a flexible, easy-to-use environment for you to interact with your computer.

If you've used windowing systems before, Photon's "look and feel" will seem quite natural to you. And even if you've never used another windowing system, you'll find Photon's simple, intuitive interface easy to learn and use.

Why is it called "Photon"?

Whenever you use your mouse or press a key, you're giving input to a Photon application. And whenever the application displays data in a window, it's providing output. All these interactions are processed as tiny packets of data called "events." You can think of all these input and output events traveling between you and Photon applications as particles of light or photons.

Why is it called a "microGUI"?

We call Photon a "microGUI" because of its size and architecture. Photon is a very small GUI. It's designed to fit in embedded systems.

But it's also designed to be scaled up. Photon is perfectly at home in high-end, high-performance distributed systems.

Like QNX itself, Photon is built around a small microkernel. This modular architecture makes Photon fast, flexible, and inherently capable of network-distributed computing.

What should I do first?

Assuming Photon has already been installed on your system, the first thing you should do is read through the Getting Started chapter-you'll learn all the basics about using the mouse and working with windows. You'll even pick up some handy keyboard shortcuts.

After you've read the Getting Started chapter, you should familiarize yourself with the Photon workspace. Try loading one of the games or demos, if they're available on your system. Better yet, check out the Helpviewer (if you're reading this online, you've obviously already done that!).

Depending on how your system is set up, you can change the default settings of your workspace to suit your needs. See the Customizing Photon chapter.

Once you've become comfortable using Photon on one machine, you may then want to branch out and explore Photon connectivity with the Message Pad or Jump Gate facilities. See the Using Photon on a Network chapter.

The following table may help you find your way around this guide:

If you want to: Go to:
Learn the basics Getting Started
Use the Desktop Manager to navigate the Photon desktop and launch applications Photon Desktop Manager
Learn the various ways to use online help Getting Help
Sort, copy, move, delete, rename, or edit files File Manager
Select a printer and modify its print properties Using the Print Dialogs
Schedule appointments, reminders, and tasks DayMinder
Work with QNX commands directly Terminal Window (pterm)
Generate ASCII characters that your keyboard doesn't have International Character Support
Explore Photon connectivity Using Photon on a Network
Customize the Photon workspace Customizing Photon
Look up Photon terms Glossary

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