strangest systems I've sent email from

Sean Conner spc at
Fri Apr 29 14:06:35 CDT 2016

It was thus said that the Great Liam Proven once stated:
> On 27 April 2016 at 22:13, Sean Conner <spc at> wrote:
> Do you really think it's growing? I'd like very much to believe that.
> I see little sign of it. I do hope you're right.

  I read Hacker News and some of the more programmer related parts of
Reddit, and yes, there are some vocal people there that would like to see C
outlawed.  I, personally, don't agree with that.  I would however, like to
see C programmers know assembly language before using C (I think that would
help a lot, especially with pointer usage).

> >   As for CAOS, I haven't heard of it (and yes, I did the Amiga thing in the
> > early 90s).  What was unique about it?  And as much as I loved the Amiga,
> > the GUI API (at least 1.x version) was very tied to the hardware and the OS
> > was very much uniprocessor in design.
> There's not a lot about it out there, but there's some.

  I read that and it doesn't really seem that CAOS would have been much
better than what actually came out.  Okay, the potentially better resource
tracking would be nice, but that's about it really.  I was expecting
something like Synthesis OS:

(which *is* mind blowing and I wish the code was available).

> >   COBRA was dead by the mid-90s and had nothing (that I know of) to do with
> > Linux.  And the lumbering GUI apps, RPC, etc that you are complaining about
> > is the userland stuff---nothing to do with the Linux kernel (okay, perhaps
> > I'm nitpicking here).
> GNOME 1 was heavily based on CORBA. (I believe -- but am not sure --
> that later versions discarded much of it.) KDE reinvented that
> particular wheel.

  I blew that one---CORBA lived for about ten years longer than I expected.

> Compared to a decade before that? Better but more restrictive
> firmware. Slimmer cabling, faster buses. More cores.
> Compared to a decade before that? Now the OSes are more solid and
> reliable. They can do video and 3D with less work now, even within a
> GUI. The ports are smaller, simpler, more robust. The internal
> interconnects have changed and the OSes now have proper 32-bit
> kernels.
> Actual functionality hasn't vastly changed since the mid-90s, it's
> just got better.
> The mid-90s PC merely managed to reproduce the GUIs, multitasking and
> sound/colour support of mid-80s proprietary systems, on the COTS PC
> platform.
> I'd argue the last big change was the Mac and GUIs, just over 30 years ago.
> And I reiterate:
> >> That makes me despair.
> >>
> >> We have poor-quality tools, built on poorly-designed OSes, running on
> >> poorly-designed chips. Occasionally, fragments of older better ways,
> >> such as functional-programming tools, or Lisp-based development
> >> environments, are layered on top of them, but while they're useful in
> >> their way, they can't fix the real problems underneath.

  Wait ... what?  You first decried about poorly-designed OSes, and then
went on to say there were better than before?  I'm confused.  Or are you
saying that we should have something *other* than what we do have?

> >> Occasionally someone comes along and points this out and shows a
> >> better way -- such as Curtis Yarvin's Urbit.
> >
> >   I'm still not convinced Curtis isn't trolling with Urbit.  Like Alan Kay,
> > he's not saying anything, expecting us to figure out what he means (and then
> > yell at us for failing to successfully read his mind).
> Oh no, he has built something amazing, and better still, he has a plan
> and a justification for it. I fear it's just too /different/ for most
> people, just like functional programming is.

  I spent some hours on the Urbit site.  Between the obscure writing,
entirely new jargon and the "we're going to change the world" attitude, it
very much feels like the Xanadu Project.


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