Xanadu? Really? (was Re: Extropian Investment Club: Money Pool)

Michael M. Butler (butler@comp*lib.org)
Fri, 23 May 1997 21:37:15 -0700

*BBZZZZTTTT!!!* Thank you for playing.

Were you there? I was.

The bundle was only about 4 million. Nothing like the bundle spent on, for instance, the PenPoint OS. Which shipped. three versions. And died at the hands of players like AT&T and massive market indifference. I was close at hand for that, too.

The only really blue-sky part of Xanadu was cultural, not technological.

This is distinct from "handwaving". Xanadu did have that--but Silicon Valley has no shortage of either... or hadn't you noticed?

The retrenching of AutoDesk was done after John Walker left the company. John still thinks that xanalogical hypertext publishing has value--see his Web site for clues.

ACAD is now taking a beating in their "core business".

And the Web has between 2 and 4 terabytes of storage (according to a few estimates), and it still doesn't even have bidirectional links, for crying out loud--but "blue-sky" tech like the massively-parallel Inktome indexing engine keeps people dumb and happy.

The Xanies had more than one blind spot. But comparing enfilades to nanotech is like comparing a new motor oil additive to controlled cost-effective matter-antimatter power.


who really ought to write a book about this stuff

just to spit in the eye of the self-appointed historians of Xanadu.

>>John Walker of Autodesk, a successful CAD company, got interested in

>nanotech and other Drexlerian ideas back in the 1980's. The company lost

>a bundle on Xanadu, the Drexler-influenced hypertext publishing project.

>(See Ed Regis' "Nano" for more on Drexler & Xanadu.) Eventually they

>had to retrench and focus on their core business instead of these blue

>sky ideas.

<center>BOUNCE WARNING: A simple reply to the above address will fail.
If you wish to send me a _noncommercial_ message, kindly substitute a
hyphen for the asterisk.