[E-Lang] Re: Fwd: [picoIPO] [Fwd: [Intertrader] PR: Recent
Intertrader andSystemics alliance brings forth digitaldollar from
Hansa Bank (fwd)]
Mark S. Miller
Mon, 26 Mar 2001 23:31:44 -0800
At 11:00 AM Sunday 3/25/01, Ian Grigg wrote:
>what's cooking in your neck of the woods?
Lot's, but the cooking's going slow. It's a large pot on a slow simmer.
E is currently being used at two companies, one of whom, openCOLA, has also
provided some financial support. Both companies have already contributed
code to the effort.
Marc Stiegler (the author of EarthWeb) has written a wonderful draft of an
introductory book for learning E, "E in a Walnut", at
Living the Dream of Hypertext Argumentation
The E language has lately improved substantially as a programming language,
thanks in large part to very productive discussions on the e-lang list.
I feel like, not only are we experiencing the power of the bazaar-like open
source process, but we're also finally living the Xanadu dream of hypertext,
or at least the dream that I found motivating -- persistent navigable
argumentation amplifying the Popperian evolution of knowledge, and resulting
in an intelligence greater than any of the participating individuals. Among
engineering or artistic efforts, programming language design is one of the
most intensely personal and taste driven. That this process can succeed
even here is very encouraging.
Technology-wise, all that was required was an email list, hypermail-like
email archiving (originally critmail, not pipermail), and periodic revision
of web pages. I feel like we crossed the hypertext-argumentation-Rubicon
when Zooko newly joined the list, started to recapitulate some old
arguments, was given URLs to thread roots from these old arguments (captured
at the time in a web page about the argument's results), proceeded to
*actually read them*, and then came back to the current argument loaded up
on context he hadn't lived through.
While I think technology could still help amplify the Popperian process yet
further (see http://www.lfw.org/ping/criticons/ ), it seems the critical
thing so far wasn't technological improvement, but just having a highly
motivated and highly intelligent group that had, by now, built up a good
stock of experience and practices in using these common technologies to good
In any case, I'm working towards the 0.8.10 release, which will have the
comm system working again in the context of the many recent language
improvements, including support for locally untrusted code (such as mobile
code). After this, the next major missing feature is persistence. Once E
is again persistent and distributed, and after a bit of a shakedown, it'll
be ready for wide scale promotion and use.
In related news, at http://www.capidl.org/ you see the bare beginnings of
progress toward getting E to work on EROS. The current hope, if a C-based
implementation of E http://www.erights.org/enative/index.html comes along in
time, is for E to be the shell language for EROS. Separately,
http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~pingster/sec/project/ shows an extraordinary
first attempt to design a secure UI design for a general purpose secure
system. I'm ever more hopeful that we may yet see all these pieces come
together into an integrated secure system someday. Jurisdiction-free
commerce may not be far behind.