@enkiv2 He's right about the 0.1%. Although tapping into the next 0.1% is a lot harder than people seem to realise.

I mean, permanent addresses, transclusion, and transpointing windows are a good start & relatively low-hanging fruit.

@enkiv2 That's true. Although I've come to perceive some of that approach more of a roadblock than an enabling framework.

For example, sure you can have trainspointing windows, but TW are only one possible kind of parallel visualisation. And the fact that there some of the difficulties of wrapping one's head around trainspointing windows implementations sometimes becomes a show stopper for a number of other possible parallel visualisation innovations.

@enkiv2 I think the concept of parallel visualisation is more enabling and has a lot more potential than reducing that functionality to green implementations of a concept that perhaps doesn't work as great in practice as it was first envisioned. After a few implementations maybe the message we can take home is that a complex mesh of graphically linked texts is not the greatest possible implementation, although I'm a firm believer that parallel visualisation is a super powerful genius idea.

@enkiv2 So, I've come to view with skepticism honest to god approaches that are too literally close to Ted's state of mind and knowledge as he viewed the world in 1968 or even earlier.

Not because they aren't genius idea, but because most people begin from the beginning, finding the same roadblocks Ted found and implementing them all over again.
So perhaps a better path forward is to talk more about parallel visualisation, and types of parallel visualisation other than transpointing windows.

@enkiv2 And of course, that's just one of the things you correctly described as low hanging fruit. The same is true for other aspects of xanalogy.

@enkiv2 (sorry for saying "trainspointing" sometimes, it comes across as Trainspotting, as in the film and book)

@enkiv2 Some background: Sometime around 2003 during the blogging craze I tried to fix some of that creating a project that handled cross references between blogs. I called it blogversation.
Visualisation wasn't the main concern in that case, but having transpointing text (regardless of the visualisation technique) was already an interesting path forward. Even if it was limited to the then-small, relatively manageable subset of the blogosphere.

@enkiv2 Of course everybody kept realising that the www was a platform inapt for that kind of development. And many people keep trying again on top of the wrong foundations.

That's maybe something like a learnt lesson to me personally, or at least something that gave me some insight into the problems of implementing new ideas on top of paradigms that don't lend themselves naturally to the kind of idea you want to bring to the world.

@haitch @enkiv2 everything in computers is built on a platform inapt for the kind of development that it is, on top of the wrong foundations. everything we have built we have built by overcoming that adversity

That's true. But it's also true that a very different attitude is required from the engineer/designer/programmer who wants to harness that adversity and turn it to their advantage.


For example, in my view, it's a lot different to use HTTP byte serving to implement a kind of transclusion that can co-exist or interoperate with the www, than using HTTP to transport SGML-like markup.

I'm not a xanalogical fundamentalist, but I think an extra effort must be put into assessing which of the available technologies help more than they detract from the core ideas.


There is a very important difference between harnessing existing technology to advance the long term strategical goal, and sacrificing strategical goals for the sake of the tactical gain of an incomplete and detrimental implementation.


The same tension occurs in politics all the time.

To draw political parallels:
I don't want to be a xanalogical Stalinist, and I don't want to be a reformist xanalogist within www capitalism.

I'd much rather be a xanalogical revisionist, I believe that's a better path forward.


@kragen @enkiv2

Hahahah, Would that be a Fifth International Xanadu?

@haitch @kragen

Xanatrotskyism, with its emphasis on establishing newspapers

Xanaposadism, with its belief that only once the WWW is nuked will the UFOnauts come and bring us the true hypertext


Hahahaha, somehow neither of those sound too appealing to me...

Perhaps I'd like to be more of a gramscian organic xanalogist 🙂


@enkiv2 Although the idea of a trotskyist-like Permanent Xanalogy isn't without merit.

@enkiv2 Thinking about this again tonight.

I'm more strongly Nelsonian in the sense that I've always recognised that there's a political fight to be fought. The marxian/trotskyist metaphor is more of a simile to me, or somewhere halfway.

Doug saw bureaucracy as something to be navigated, with hierarchy as a fact of life, as it can be argued that he started work on his lifelong vision around the time he was in the military, and his breakthrough developments happened within that same structure.

@enkiv2 Of course it can also be argued that life as a military engineer, or subcontracor isn't without politics. But it's a kind of environmental politics where everyone plays more or less by the same book. Mainly the same bureucratic organ and its politics is both an enabler and an opposing force.


Ted, by contrast, is conscious of different opposing forces playing out of distinct interests each, with some determined to get between him and his vision. So he wrote a manifesto with an upright fist on the cover and all. Revolution or bust.

I lean more Nelsonian on the latter.

@haitch @enkiv2 I suspect that if the Nelsonian Xanadu vision had occurred, XOC would have faced many of the same problems as Facebook. His vision was revolutionary, but not decentralized.

@mathew I don't see Xanadu as something on the same category as Facebook. Facebook is a symptom of the WWW gone wrong, and the WWW was decentralised by design. Facebook is a subversion of the WWW as a decentralised system. It makes no sense to extrapolate what could have happened to a system taking as reference something that wasn't even in the same category. It makes no sense at all to me.


@haitch @enkiv2 My point is just that both Englebart and Nelson expected there to be centralized control, and hence some form of bureaucracy would be found in both systems. To me, it seems like they had more in common than they had differences. The web was the really revolutionary thing in political terms, it just failed, as many revolutions do.

@mathew @haitch
XOC was just in charge of dev, not actually running the service.

The service was intended to be federated from day one. (Though Ted would have called it having independent franchise owners...)

Ted wanted to run the flagship instance, take a cut of subscriptions. XOC would license out software for instances, & sublicense the trademarks for standards-compliant independent implementations.

@mathew @haitch

NLS, on the other hand... Some of the first arpanet nodes ran NLS, but as far as I can tell from scant documentation, it doesn't seem like there was ever an intention to scale NLS features beyond a single workgroup.

Presumably later, during the Augment era, there must have been at least inter-node mail...

@mathew @haitch
Engelbart was trying to optimize the kind of collaboration that already existed in institutions: small teams with big budgets, inventing things together. Not, like, wikipedia.

@enkiv2 It doesn't make any sense to try to extrapolate what it would have been like had they scaled, when they were still soldering and assembling their own CRTs to make them work as display monitors

The Xerox Alto was introduced in 1973 but they only got command line Internet tools much later, and its GUI never really adapted to the Internet. When the Xerox Star was released in 1981 networking was rudimentary, it only had a local Mail inbox, and local network access to file servers.


So it took the desktop GUI computer many years between Doug's NLS in 1968 to 1981 to become a relatively usable commercial product.
And it still cost $100k in today's dollars to talk about a minimal office setup.

Of course everything changed with the development of UNIX, the Mac, the NexT, and the PC.

But you can't really extrapolate anything about the global cyberspace without accounting for the parallel evolution of personal computing, and of the internet's basic blocks.


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