Top > Dave's World > Weblog Archive > 2004 > May > 17Previous/Next

Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.
Permanent link to archive for Monday, May 17, 2004. Monday, May 17, 2004

David Weinberger covers last night's same-sex-marriage party in Cambridge. "We're giving them the street." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Brent Simmons: "What I love about the kernel is the way it is written in C but is nevertheless object-oriented." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The Nation: "Powell acknowledged that he and the Bush administration misled the nation about the WMD threat posed by Iraq before the war." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

FAQs about the Frontier open source release. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Reuters: "A suicide car bomb killed the head of Iraq's Governing Council Monday, dealing a major blow to the US coalition battling a Shi'ite insurgency and a growing prisoner abuse scandal." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A mathematical proof that girls are evil.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Andy Kaufman: "Sorry about faking my death." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

My first blog was a plog. (Project log.) Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Yesterday's Meet The Press was pretty fantastic. US Secretary of State Colin Powell was answering Tim Russert's questions, when the camera moved off Powell. We could hear a conversation with a press aide. He eventually told her to get out of the way and answered Russert's question about his pre-war appearance before the United Nations. Lisa Rein has the video. Thanks to Boing Boing for the pointer. NY Times storyPermanent link to this item in the archive.

Colin Faulkingham thinks Frontier makes sense on the desktop, perhaps embedded in a Web browser. I think there are a lot of possibilities there. We did it the other way, embedding the MSIE browser control in Radio, but we never did much with it. I think there's a huge possibility. One feature I didn't mention in the piece below is Frontier's outliner. It's a great way to author content. Needs a few glitch-removals to really sing. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Phillip Pearson: "A worthy addition to the community.." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Duncan Smeed: "Today is an historic day..." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Boston Globe: "Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to permit gays and lesbians to wed just after midnight today." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

NY Times article on the historic Brown decision that declared "separate but equal" unconstitutional. The decision was handed down fifty years ago today by the US Supreme Court. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Marc Canter regrets that the company he founded, Macromedia, left the service business.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

As good a time as any Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named ted.jpgTed Leung is a thoughtful and not flamboyant blogger. He uses his weblog well to think out loud, and by seeing the map of his thought processes, I learn more than just about his conclusions, I also learn how he got there. This was a point that Larry Lessig made on Saturday in the great free-wheeling discussion we had at the end of the iLaw conference. He said even if no one reads your blog, you get something out of writing publicly that you can't get otherwise. Writing makes you smarter, I said, when other people expressed disbelief. But I read Ted, every time he updates, because he's a smart guy who get smarter, and helps me do that too. He makes me say Bing a lot. And then Bing Bing. And even occasionally a Bing Bing Bing.

Anyway, I can see this is going to be a rambler, because Ted's piece is the fulcrum I'm going to use to announce something important, because I want you to think about this announcement in the context of his current piece, because it exactly reflects my thinking.

As you may know, I have left UserLand. It's been almost two years, and while in some ways I wish I were there to drive the products and compete with the great companies in the blogging space, I know that I can't do it. I don't think a lot of people know that I left for health reasons, but I did.

A picture named frontier.gifAnyway, these days UserLand is largely a company that markets and develops Manila and Radio. My concern was when will UserLand get around to enhancing and improving the "kernel" -- the large base of C code that runs Manila and Radio -- the scripting language, object database, verb set, server, multi-threaded runtime, content management framework. It's been several years since there was a meaningful update of that code.

A picture named typeWriter.jpgProducts that Manila and Radio compete with don't have their own kernels, they build off development environments created by others. For example, Movable Type is written in Perl. WordPress is PHP. Blogger is Java. UserLand's products are different because they build on a private platform. For a long time we saw this as an advantage, the UserLand runtime is very rich and powerful, and offered performance benefits. When a new layer came on, for example the CMS, when it got stable and mature, we'd "kernelize" it, so it would be super-fast. But experience in the market said that, to succeed, UserLand didn't need to own its kernel. In fact, that it was the only developer using this kernel may well have been a liability for UserLand.

A picture named accordianGuy.gifHere's another angle. In 1987 we sold Living Videotext to Symantec, and along with it, sold them our products, ThinkTank, Ready and MORE. I appreciate what Symantec did for us, I'm still living off the money I made in the public stock offering, but the products died inside Symantec. I'm not blaming them for that, because it's very likely they would have died inside Living Videotext had we not been acquired. But some good products disappeared. To this day people ask me what became of MORE, and tell me how advanced it was, and how nothing has replaced it. It's a sad story, and a shame, that the art of outlining took such a hit. I swore this would never happen again. There are a lot of good ideas in that base of software that you won't find elsewhere. If it disappeared it would be a loss like the MORE loss.

A picture named saddam.jpgTo fans of UserLand Software it must seem inevitable that the kernel will go this way, it sure did to me. But I am on the board of directors of the company, and I persuaded my fellow board members that it would be in the company's interest to let the kernel develop separately from the products that build on it. And that's what I want to announce today. At some point in the next few months, there will be an open source release of the Frontier kernel. Not sure what license it'll use. There won't be any grand expectations of what kind of community will develop. Even if no bugs get fixed, if no features get added, if no new OSes are supported, it will be worth it, because its future will be assured. That's the point Ted makes, and that's my reasoning behind this.

We decided this quite some time ago, but waited for the right moment to start discussing it publicly. It seems now is the right time, or as good a time as any.

Technorati cosmos for this post.


Last update: Monday, May 17, 2004 at 6:01 PM Eastern.

Dave Winer Mailto icon

Click here to view the OPML version of Scripting News.

Morning Coffee Notes, an occasional podcast by Scripting News Editor, Dave Winer.

May 2004
Apr   Jun

Click here to see an XML representation of the content of this weblog.


© Copyright 1997-2005 Dave Winer. The picture at the top of the page may change from time to time. Previous graphics are archived.