The discussion on this page contained much vitriolic name-calling and mouthing off, but very little signal. I've attempted to clarify the definition and refactor the discussion.
Xanadu is an overall paradigm, invented by TedNelson
- a general model for computer use, based on sideways connections among documents and files. This paradigm is especially concerned with electronic publishing, but covers all aspects of storing, presenting and working with information. It is a unifying, non-hierarchical ordering system for information, including electronic publishing, personal work, organization of files, corporate work and groupware.
It started around 1960 and has been characterized by some as holding the record for "vaporware" or "almostware". (wikpeida says 63 the birthdate of Sheridan)
Xanadu has been released as OpenSource
. For more information, see Udanax (http://www.udanax.com/
), and the Xanatalk Wiki (http://www.timecastle.net/v/xanatalk/FrontPage
A new implementation of the UdanaxGold?
design, called Abora, is currently underway: http://www.abora.org/
There is also now a comprehensive attempt to document the history, processes and design of the earlier Xanadu work, the Sunless-Sea CyberArchaeology? Project - http://www.sunless-sea.net/
If the success/failure of software projects intrigues you at all, you might want to spend the time to read the Wired article about Xanadu and TedNelson
's response to it: TheCurseOfXanadu
Computers do not go "sideways". They just get another document. ALL the computers did that. References are nice. But a button is different from "Hypertext" (as punctuation) which did not precede the mouse or the Mac. All the F keys (or N for next) were a different era. The era of "buttons". Even though labyrinths had existed, a big document; It was not uncountable Text or "prose".
Hypertext changed human language. People recently claimed a lot of projects that never existed or were later updated.
Hypertext was my proposed standard. Blue Links and Search engines. Together. It was one invention and a specific standard. The lingua franca of the network age. Including indeterminate page length (which mysteriously got into the design) They missed the back button though and I requested that in 92 by email from a friend's account At U.T. Austin.
Now people try to claim the word 'hyper' and the concept separately, The invention was putting them all together into the world wide web. Google Ngram shows hypertext, hyper text, hyper document and hyperdocument to be nonexistent or flat until 88 and "hypermail" was erased from 88 to 93 (I saw it.)
If Hypertext was ever reported or in the language I would have used another term to avoid confusion. Then everyone would be arguing over "Supratext" (which is flat 0 on Google Ngram) So I invented that too.
Xanadu was one of the fish that didn't make it.
Can you provide any evidence that you invented hypertext?
Yes. Look above. ALL computers get stuff with button. They are trying to blur Hypertext with "wowy zowie computer document stuff". Hypertext is blue links. I chose blue because it was similar to black but readable. They did it my way.
Facts: I asked for it to be built in Geneva... . Why? Because It was symbolic. They were neutral in the war. I wanted it to be international so the world would be a part of it. (I didn't go to apple because it was too big for a corporation -I later found out they were already trying to get rid of Steve Jobs after the Macintosh. "thanks for the ideas man, don't let the door hit you on the way out.") There is no "evidence of Hypertext87 other than someone typed up a web document in 2012. And in that document they call HyperCard
(which had no hypertext) "IT". That was "It". But not what I invented. You do not really need more evidence. I waited a long time because I knew people would claim this and that. They will. There was nothing "87" until I revealed that I invented it in 87. But there was nobody for 23 years.
I simply see no evidence that anyone had blue hyperlinks or hypertext databases. Nobody had the mouse anyway. But if you want evidence you will have to wait till they declassify. They have it. They could not have done every single thing I asked if there was not a transcript. Do you think I could hold a meeting in a congressional workspace and not get recorded?
The evidence is that nobody ever claimed a thing until I announced the invention. They were asking who invented the internet in 2000. Didn't people hear about that?
Someone will eventually claim a secret project. Oh wait that was me. Someone will eventually emulate that.
That sounds purely anecdotal, and your repetition of some unspecified "they" sounds conspiratorially paranoid. Is there any independent evidence -- outside of your say-so -- that you invented hypertext, blue links, et al? To put it bluntly, how do we know your claim isn't fantasy or delusion?
"Connecting to a Xanadu system does not require logging in. Any person may obtain a connection at any time. Documents, however, are protected by Clubs. Clubs are the mechanism that provides authority to act in a Xanadu system
. To access a document that is readable to the DocReaders?
club, the user must first obtain the authority to act on behalf of that club
. [emphasis added]
One way to obtain the authorities of a Club is by logging in to the club. To support this, every Club has an associated Locksmith.
A Locksmith is a provider of Locks. Locks are objects that support a given authentication policy
. [emphasis added]
If you are able to satisfy the requirements of the Lock, you can log in to the corresponding Club. Every connection has an associated current KeyMaster?
that holds the connection's active authorities."
- While the terminology is rather peculiar - the developers (not just TedNelson) decided to avoid using any overloaded terms, hence the heavy use of neologisms - it seems to me that it decribes a system that is a hybrid of both Capabilities and ACLs.
- "In other words, they chose to use an ACL system. Passwords are capabilities so any system that uses passwords for initial user entry is necessarily an ACL-caps hybrid. Pure ACL systems are impossible."
- It was claimed that "Xanadu is completely obsolete as a system since it doesn't take into account such fundamental things as decentralization and authentication. Xanadu shows its decrepitude by being incompatible with PeerToPeer and never mentioning cryptography."
- "As it turns out, the models of computation and secure access that fit most naturally with Xanadu are the functional calculus and AccessControlLists."
- When I get to it, I'll try to write a rebuttal under GeneralEnfiladeTheory. -- JayOsako
- "The mere notion of a single global flat address space should have raised red flags. Nelson hung on to the ludicrous notion of a global address space for decades. See NameSpace ideals for more on this issue."
- It is 'global' in the sense of 'universal', not in the sense of 'monolithic'. The tumbler system was designed from the first to partition the document space (the usual analogy is to the Dewey Decimal System, which branches as needed). Each node would have it's own tumbler root, and can operate autonomously from the rest of Xanadu.
- Apparently, you don't understand what global means. The fact that one can create a private network doesn't invalidate the observation that IPs form a single global address space. Local doesn't mean that you can create a new global address space after you've cut yourself off in your own universe. No, local means that you don't give a damn about the rest of the global address space even though you're connected to it. Local means there is no root! Because in a local system you can't justify needing global information (such as a "root") to access local data.
- The difference between a flat and a hierarchical namespace is that the hierarchical namespace is recursive and infinitely extensible. Xanadu's tumbler system is not, so it is flat, one-dimensional.
See also: ZigZag