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

Re: [xanadu] Greetings

Hi Casey,

I'm a professional software developer who dabbled in Xanadu several years ago. In particular, I spent quite some time using Xanadu Green and exploring it's source code.  I'd hardly call my self an expert; Others on this list are far more qualified than I.  That said, have you read Ted Nelson's book "Literary Machines" yet?  IMO, that's clearly the best place to start.


Aaron Bingham

On Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 11:49 AM, Casey Ransberger <casey.obrien.r@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Hello list subscribers,

My name is Casey. I've been interested in Xanadu for a year or five -- not long in the grand scheme of things -- but regardless, tonight I decided to engage, to see what I could learn, and to find out what (if anything) I might be potentially able to contribute.

A bit about me:

I'm a self-taught programmer. I started with BASIC when I was nine, and I am now thirty-four. My experience is mostly around testing largish commercial systems, both manually and automatically, and both from an ignorant (read: black box) as well as an informed (read: white box) perspective. I have a passion for computing history, and always have. The human element of the equation is more important than anything else to me. This led in recent years to a fascination with what one might call "modern anthro." I also have a bit of a head for security, but I don't generally brag about that. If I did, I guess I'd call myself "white-hat" even if the distinction is on a lot of levels pretty vague and silly to me. What little I've found time to do in the open source arena has mostly related to Smalltalk's children. My favorite word is "Excelsior!" but only when you say it like Stan Lee, with a big fat BANG! and a capital E. My first computer was a TI-99/4A that I pulled out of a dumpster, which had a broken RF-adapter; it was easily fixed by twisting wires and borrowing some of dad's electrical tape. I have a Mac and a Raspberry Pi, but no access to anything made of Windows.

Why I'm here: a few times I'd overheard on various mailing lists about this idea of two-way hyperlinks. This was purported to solve the problem of broken links, which have always struck me as a deep weakness in the design of today's web.

This message (from another mailing list, out of context, without the original poster's words) in particular led me here:

"Someone else said that about links.

Browsing about either knowing where you are (and going) and/or about dealing with a rough max of 100 items. After that search is necessary.

However, Ted Nelson said a lot in each of the last 5 decades about what kinds of linking do the most good. (Chase down what he has to say about why one-way links are not what should be done.) He advocated from the beginning that the "provenance" of links must be preserved (which also means that you cannot copy what is being pointed to without also copying its provenance). This allows a much better way to deal with all manner of usage, embeddings, etc. -- including both fair use and also various forms of micropayments and subscriptions.

One way to handle this requirement is via protection mechanisms that "real objects" can supply.



And now, I'm going to start out on what may be a very bad foot by asking for help. What should I read in order to begin to ask smart questions and possibly actually contribute? I'm hoping you folks can give me a good list of things to dig into. I must admit, I can't say that I understand the Xanadu idea deeply. I have a surface understanding, but that's no help to anyone. I need to absorb the material to be able to do anything of value. Help?

And in advance: thanks.


Casey Ransberger