Yet another overly simple explanation of Tunes

Ashley Winters
Mon, 22 Jun 1998 01:07:17 -0700 (PDT)

On Sun, 21 Jun 1998, David Manifold wrote:

> When I read this, I wonder how it can make any sense to anybody.  Tell me
> if it makes sense to you.  Anyway, it probably isn't anything new.

It makes sense in a remote way. I suspect everyone has a different way of
picturing a system like Tunes. Yours is spectacularly broad, abstract and
rather opaque, though.

> The entire system can be treated as one big expression.
> In fact, this big expression could be written as a string.
> Anything at all that can be done in the system comes down to an edit on
> the expression.  (Including programming, word processing, internet, etc)

If you replace 'expression' with 'mass-storage device', which could be 
implied by 'this <mass-storage device> could be written as a string',
it's not hard to miss the profundity of your description...

> The expression is always being evaluated.   The reason it is always
> evaluating is that each object has at least one element in its
> specification, that of "existing".  So the existence of the system is
> constantly evaluating, as long as the system exists.

That last sentence is mind-boggling, let alone the paragraph itself.
I tried to think of something better, but just ended up glad that you were
able to express your meaning at all. I'll think about it some more.

> Since the system is constantly evaluating, an edit on the expression will
> cause changes to take place immediately.

What changes? What are the changes doing?

Let see... if programming is equivelant to editing the expression, then a
change would be something like pressing Enter on a command-line interface?
The immediate change taking place would be the execution of the command?

> Any changes that are not to take
> place immediately (or subexpressions that are not to be evaluated yet)
> will simply be specified to not evaluate yet.

Would these be programs that are written, but not executed yet?

> The constraint to not evaluate will still be constantly evaluated.
> (Until it is changed, at which time the expression it is referring to
> gets evaluated.)

Uhh... I guess that makes sense, in a circularly logical kinda way.

> I would appreciate comments on this.. I can't make any progress on the
> system unless there is a discussion of my posts and the ideas get refined
> so that they are understandable.  Thank you very much.
> Won't someone ask how reflection works??

Probably not, unless I ask. How does reflection work?

> Does anybody have any questions about the practicality of the above model? 

Practicality? How could you implement a system the way you described?
It's a good way to picture, analyze, and evaluate a system, but I can't
imagine how you would structure or implement one to work that way.

> Any specific questions about "how do I do X in Tunes"?

I tried to think of something, but I can't think up a decent question. 
Perhaps I've been brainwashed into thinking "You can do whatever you want,
however you want, with Tunes". I could throw you a bone and ask what a
user-interface will consist of. How do I interact with the system in Tunes?

> What we need is some vehement anti-tunesers to
> start flaming the list.  Maybe we should go trolling on the usenet...?

That might be interesting, but you might want to setup another list 
address so the few interested people on this list won't unsubscribe...

If some of the people on this list are somewhat like me, they let your
messages go by without comment because they all know what they want in the
system, and aren't interested in quantifying it like you. Perhaps they
assume that you want what they want, and it doesn't really matter what you
say, or how badly you say it, because they know what you really mean.

Glad to help,
Ashley Winters

> David Manifold <>