tyrrell at canis.uiuc.edu
Thu Feb 24 21:42:07 UTC 2000
"Ken G. Brown" wrote:
> I have also wondered how close Xanadu <http://www.xanadu.net/> is to
> being a usable system. It sounds like a lot of good thought has gone
> into it. It has gone Open Source <http://udanax.com/>, the source is
> in Smalltalk and Squeak is mentioned as a likely candidate for
> porting <http://udanax.com/gold/index.html>. A Smalltalk to C++
> converter is mentioned.
> Has anyone looked at Xanadu in any depth? What are it's drawbacks?
> Why isn't it going places in a hurry? Or is it?
I would focus only on Xanadu's virtuality. Nelson makes very compelling
arguments about what the virtuality should be. Understand that first.
The existing implementation is very tough going, and the released code
is missing a very large chunk of Xanadu, not to mention instructions
for starting it up.
A new ground-up implementation seems to me to be the only viable
approach, once one understands the issues that Nelson raises.
That would take a fair bit of time- but I don't think that this
is anywhere near the technical challenge it was when Xanadu began,
or even when the 92.1 version was built.
Xanadu itself is not going places in a hurry- but I am seeing more
and more people trying to solve the sorts of problems that Xanadu
was meant to avoid a long time ago. In that sense, I would say
that much of Xanadu's spirit is slowly being "discovered" by lots
of folks who keep asking the one simple question: why are things
the way they are, and why is it that the current state of affairs
sucks so badly? Given enough time, and enough people getting fed up,
eventually piece by piece it slowly starts to emerge in the mainstream,
one bit here, another there.
Odd parrallels there to My Favorite Language...
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