[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Author Index][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [xanadu] Proposed naming of addresses solution

Jack Seay wrote:
I have been thinking for years about the problem of named addresses in Xanadu (rather than only being able to follow a link or type in a number). If named addresses are used, it would introduce all the problems the web has with them: competition for the "good" names, trademark infringements, etc. But many people will want named addresses anyway to put in non-hypertext advertising and to give to friends and personal contacts. Why not just use a naming system already in place instead of duplicating the process in Xanadu: use the Web? If someone wants a name for their Xanalogical document(s), they will just give out the address to a web page that will contain the appropriate links into Xanadu. Of course, links inside Xanadu hypermedia can have any name they want and the real address will be hidden inside the link.

That really doesn't match how hyperdocuments in Xanadu exist, as I've always understood them; a link doesn't point to a document, it *defines* a document as a series of links to sections of data from one or more sources. The 'document' doesn't exist in the viewed form on some server somewhere (unless you were viewing it *exactly* as it was originally create, perhaps, and probably not even then). While the data is going to be stored somewhere. Addresses in Xanadu (at least in the designs as I've understood them particularly th Udanax.Green and Udanax.Gold systems - aren't visible to the user at all (and wouldn't be intelligible even if they were). As for names, that's a front end matter - all a 'named link' would be is a link that's been associated with a piece of text by the user through the user interface.

It is a mistake, IMAO, to think of Xanadu in WWW terms. The Web is a means of sending files from a server to several clients, which are then rendered in a fixed fashion by a browser. Xanadu *replaces* the concept of files - locally as well as over the network - with a cloud of data fragments that could be on any accessible machine in the network (provided the particular data has been made accessible to you), and shuffles that information dynamically as the user needs it, through whatever program they happen to be using, allowing them to add to or manipulate it in any desired fashion as a virtual document. All this is done without actually ever removing or altering the original data, I should add. Only links and locally cached copies get changed, *not* the underlying data.

It can be a tough thing to wrap your head around, especially if you are already immersed in the web first, because it is fundamentally different from the web, not just in structure and capacity but in purpose. To be honest, Windows OLE (yecch) is closer than HTTP is to what Xanadu is really meant to be: a means of allowing several different programs to use the same data in different ways, without the user having to waste time, effort and disk space copying or re-entering it. Viewing a 'page' is just one possible use of this, and really only the simplest and in some ways least interesting one.

First Speaker, Last Eristic Church of Finagle and Holy Bisexuality
Episkopos of the Dr Benway Lives for Your Sins Cabal
"The Opposition is the keystone of the Establishment."