Glossary:Main Page

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Explanation of jargon used on this blog. Please ask if there's something you don't understand!

Terms are linked here with anchors (I guess this is the best way???)

3-D Modelling[edit]


The typical way to render a polygon is with a single side. The 'normal' is the side that is able to be seen.


Primitives are basic, building-block shapes. For example spheres, cubes, planes, toruses, pyraminds... I guess they're usually generated procedurally.



DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation; a program for recording and manipulation audio.

General Computing[edit]



A Command Line Interface, as opposed to a graphical user interface (GUI), is a way of interacting with software through text imput. Think of MS-DOS, for example. It's often used to quickly do tasks where a variety of options can be included in one command.


Linux Distribution[edit]

A Linux distribution or distro is the term for what you can think of as a particular flavour of Linux. Each shares the core linux kernal and GNU software, but attaches other things, such as window managers, desktop environments, package managers, packaged software, etc.


Open-source is a term used to describe software who's source code has been made availible. Open this is done to encourage others to contribute to the software's development, and to assist in the development of new software. A common system used for contributing to open-source software is Git, and the most common website for sharing Git projects is GitHub.

You will probably also encouter the acronym FOSS.

Procedural Generation[edit]

Procedural generation describes content that it generated by a program (algorithmically) rather than being made specifically. A common use it to provide random and effectively infinte level layouts, but it can also be used for sound, textures, terrain, and much more.


SaaS or SAAS stands for Software As A Service, and is a horrible trend in software pricing that doesn't sell you a copy of the program, but a licence to use it for a certain time. Think Adobe's Creative Cloud, which requires an ongoing, yearly fee. Boooooooo.


Version Control[edit]

A means of managing changes to files in a project. Mostly associated with programming stuffs?

The most common system currently is Git (previously Subversion was most popular), particularly using Github (though there are alternatives, including self-hosted ones like Gitlab—which will all potentially federate in the future!).

Virtual Machine[edit]

A virtual machine (or VM) is an emulation of one computer system within another. For example a person may run Windows XP as a virtual machine from within their main Linux operating system to give them access to older Windows programs. Some people do it for security reasons too.
VirtualBox is a common and free tool, and allows you to save configurations for multiple systems, which you can quickly launch. An open-source alternative is QEMU.



Pronounced whizzy-wig, stands for What You See Is What You Get. Used to describe software that lets you edit in a form that looks like what the end user will receive. Think MSWord over writing your document in markup or LaTex.