Your remarks on the Wiki

Brian T Rice
Sat Apr 19 14:50:03 2003

Hi Kyle,

On Sat, 19 Apr 2003, Kyle Lahnakoski wrote:
> Tom Novelli wrote:
> >The reason I got involved in Tunes again was to decide whether I should
> >take it seriously.  It's really a dozen different people with their own
> >projects who can't agree on anything.  If we could all face up to that
> >reality and put aside our animosity, this could be a good forum -- the
> >mailing lists, cliki, project hosting.  The computing field is much too
> >immature for people to agree on any grand visions.

> This is a good point that Tom makes. I further believe that these dozen
> people need not work on a single project, but rather use the Tunes site
> as a forum for sharing ideas. If Tunes administrators do not want to do
> this, then I propose as an alternate.

Well, of course that's what you want, because you were never working on
TUNES in the first place! TUNES is NOT an OS, and it's NOT a panacea.
Fare's design might look like an attempt to be "the best of all possible
worlds" to you for OSes, but it's just a basis computing environment that
starts from a certain set of well-chosen principles and constructs. TUNES
could benefit the entire world for decades without ever becoming an OS.
There's also nothing in the website or specification that says "this has
to be the very best design"; it's simply chosen to be the most flexible

Honestly, if you want to give the world a better micro- or nano- or
exo-kernel OS with wham-o-dyne GUI and such, be my guest, but that has
nothing to do with TUNES! TUNES means nothing until we work out the HLL
issues and put together an environment that supports them. I've seen
people try to improve a language after a full environment is written for
it; what /does/ get attempted for change is not pretty, and the things
that /do/ require a total environment rewrite /never/ happen, or take
longer to occur than TUNES' history so far.

> Brian T Rice wrote:
> >What should I do? Let people talk about their various ideas and call it
> >TUNES just because they can't tell the difference?
> Yes, this is a great idea. People that strive to build Tunes are
> building Tunes in their own minds, so I see no reason to lay road blocks
> on the path to their goal by saying they are not building Tunes. A
> plethora of people working on disparate projects, each calling
> themselves Tunes makes it obvious that none really are. Each Tunes
> project will be evaluated based on its results.

I see a definite reason: It dilutes the project's own goals and confuses
anyone who joins about the project's role and state/direction of
achievement. As for your last statement, that's why there's a
specification I'm working on which does /not/ specify how anything is
implemented. I think a great many people here dislike the terminology
chosen and are attacking or ignoring me based on that, when all I really
did was to work on and develop what Fare has stated for years.

Apparently being associated with a vaporware project that has a grand
political statement is some kind of honour. Why not just /cite/ the
political ideology from your project's site and leave it at that? There
are plenty of dead projects inspired from TUNES but having no technical
association with it. Why force all of us to watch these projects die right
before our very eyes instead?

The bottom line is that you don't get free sponsorship because you are a
TUNES cheerleader. This should especially hold if you don't advocate the
solutions we've seen Fare develop for years, and which I and others are
trying to develop even more. Framed in this context, I don't see what
you're suggesting as anything more than leeching.

> > That's been happening for years, and it never gained Fare, or anyone
> > else, anything!
> Maybe not anything in terms of great ideas, but certainly it was gaining
> community. It takes time to build a community, and a community needs
> motivation and discussion to grow. I surmise that the old Tunes
> community was still too young to show it's true potential by the time it
> was taken over by Brian. The current Tunes community is still at step
> one terms of community development.

Perhaps you should study the mailing list archives before you make such
ridiculous claims: . The project
was having organization problems as early as 1996 and 1997. I cite this
email from Fare, which I believe reinforces some of my points:

Honestly I can't see how I've "arrested community development" when a much
larger segment of the website is now user-editable, much more clear and
useful, and I've actually attempted to make the technical ideas a little
more accessible. It's unfortunate that so many people feel like their toes
are being stepped upon, but honestly, people like you and Tom Novelli
really weren't interested in TUNES (Fare's technical ideas) in the first
place, just the extrapolations of "Why a New OS?" or related material in
your own minds. You don't need to be in this forum to cite him and build
on that; claiming you are a TUNES member and not working for the technical
basis which he very wisely formed to support what he wrote is fraudulent;
it's a lie.

I'd rather work with a few honest folk than many liars. Those honest folk
can build what they need with a clear conscience of leaving anyone else
out with similar ideologies but different technical decisions. The TUNES
specification draft that I'm working on isn't perfect, but at least it
reflects the idea that we're not making a panacea, nothing there claims to
be "the best", it's just the most flexible and natural for the kind of
system described on the main site.

I don't want to have to apologize to everyone besides Fare and Armin Rigo
every time I do something interesting with the main site documentation or
the specification.

Someone made an interesting analogy on IRC: Suppose the United Nations
Council passes some kind of civil liberties requirements for all member
nations, requiring them to have democratic government. However, they leave
up to each member nation the judgement of what exactly a democratic
government is. So suddenly we have Cuba claiming it is a democracy, Iraq
claiming it is a democracy, etc.

We're intending to beg the question: Why dilute a concept in this way? If
you want to handle a "Panacea OS" site, then there's no objections here,
but you can't dilute the idea to say that "this satisfies TUNES technical
designs"; claims like that could potentially delay the arrival and support
of a system which /actually/ supports the TUNES ideology properly by
implementing the concepts and flexible architecture which Fare outlined.

> > You can make more interesting systems by /not/ paying attention to our
> >project and simply following the links to research elsewhere, which is
> >what people who use the Review project do, and they rarely bother to
> >join the mailing list
> Research papers are not the place to learn new concepts. Research
> papers are records of discovery meant to prove ideas, and the ideas are
> usually quite simple. If the reader does not require the proof the
> paper provides then he only needs few paragraphs of tutorial instead.

That's definitely true, but it's difficult to keep up with the research
community based on sheer population ratios. So writing tutorials is
something that has to be done as needed. Why don't you write some
tutorials and link them from the TUNES CLiki? Actually, the CLiki itself
does link to quite a few tutorials, even if we haven't added an
explanatory blurb for it ourselves. If you recall, I was the fellow who
organized the joining of the Wiki and the Review project just half a year
ago, after several failed attempts. I recall losing dozens of pages of
work in one instance because a volunteer "dropped the ball"; I've been
through too much with this project.

But the bottom line is that tutorials /do/ exist, and we do link to them
or provide some spot on the learning lounge for it. And, honestly, we just
don't have the time; it's easier to let everyone else to do it. In case
you haven't noticed, though, many research sites do explain their ideas;
in the case where they don't, there usually aren't enough people
interested or the idea is still too far from the norm. Maude sort of falls
into that category, but mostly it's just targetting an audience that is
simply not you.

> References to research papers are admirable; some people may want to
> delve deeper into a particular concept. But these references are not
> helpful for discussion because the essential ideas are diluted in a sea
> of "useless" (read proof) text.

So don't read the proofs. Many mathematics professors will wisely tell you
to read a dense theoretical book 3 times: the first time to get the
highlights, the second time reading everything but the (non-trivial)
proofs, and a possible third if you really need to grok the proofs, to
read those. I have plenty of books with proofs on my shelf, and I almost
never bother to read them.

> >and pretend that they know what's right for TUNES. I did that for 4-5
> >years before I even bothered sending anyone here even an e-mail.
> IMHO discussion with Fare, and other members, would have reduced this
> time. Working/learning on your own is not efficient, there are many
> misunderstandings that a paper does not address, but a human can clear
> up in only a few minutes.

That's fine. In fact, that's why I have solicited his opinion and
judgement many times over the years. But he's not very reliable; there
have been periods where he was not paying attention to the list for many
months at a time. This is one of the reasons for my actions, but I have
not for one moment sacrificed any of his ideas. Most of the political
content is still on the main site, if not separated.

>  >But it's really /not/ my vision, it's Fare's. I didn't spend years
>  >studying my ideas; I was studying /his/.
> No, it *was* Fare's vision.  Now Tunes is *your* vision, specifically
> *your* interpretation of Fare's vision.

So my extensive interviews with Fare and Armin Rigo were obviously in
vain, and his agreement with me was obviously worthless, and no one
corrected any of my re-workings of the main TUNES site which are /still/
90% the content he wrote originally. I think you've just been misleading
yourself about TUNES' actual content. Anyway, if you disagree with a
point, cite the old and new websites at a particular location of
explanation, and structure a debate. Perhaps that's what Tril should do,
instead of making blanket statements that he won't be involved until
there's code, because he disagrees with the way I rewrote the site.

> >This forum wouldn't have attracted the people involved without /him/
> And I am sure we all agree with that.  I had written a piece before
> about how wonderful Fare's writings were at attracting people to the
> Tunes cause.

I sometimes wonder if they were too effective...

Brian T. Rice
LOGOS Research and Development