The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, March 25, 2019

“Woe unto all who reveal the Secrets contained herein for they shall be Hunted unto the Ends of the Universe”

This is a document I wrote in early 1984 at the behest of the System Development Foundation as part of Xanadu’s quest for funding. It is a detailed explanation of the Xanadu architecture, its core data structures, and the theory that underlies those data structures, along with a (really quite laughable) project plan for completing the system.

At the time, we regarded all the internal details of how Xanadu worked as deep and dark trade secrets, mostly because in that pre- open source era we were stupid about intellectual property. As a consequence of this foolish secretive stance, it was never widely circulated and subsequently disappeared into the archives, apparently lost for all time. Until today!

Via Lobsters, Habitat Chronicles: A Lost Treasure of Xanadu

It is the Xanadu concept of tumblers that is core to how mod_blog works, although more in idea than in actual implementation detail. And the web in general has a limited form of transclusion which is pretty much just images (still and moving) and sound. A general version of transclusion would probably be very difficult (if not outright impossible) to implement. But there are still concepts that Xanadu has that are still hard to understand, and I'm hoping the document mentioned above is enough to shed some light on some of the more esoteric concepts of Xanadu. I don't think we'll ever see a fully blown Xanadu system ever, but there are still ideas lurking in it that deserve some investigation.

Obligatory Picture

[It's the most wonderful time of the year!]

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

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