[E-Lang] Re: Fwd: [picoIPO] [Fwd: [Intertrader] PR: Recent Intertrader andSystemics alliance brings forth digitaldollar from Hansa Bank (fwd)]

Mark S. Miller markm@caplet.com
Mon, 26 Mar 2001 23:31:44 -0800


At 11:00 AM Sunday 3/25/01, Ian Grigg wrote:
>Hey Mark,
>
>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 
http://www.skyhunter.com/marcs/ewalnut.html .


                  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 
effect.


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.


        Cheers,
        --MarkM