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Ovid (2709)

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Stuff with the Perl Foundation. A couple of patches in the Perl core. A few CPAN modules. That about sums it up.

Journal of Ovid (2709)

Wednesday March 12, 2003
12:34 PM

3-D OS? (not yet, I suspect)

[ #11006 ]

If you read /., you already know about Croquet, the 3-D "operating system". The Slashdot article has numerous links to mirrors that might help you get information. I downloaded a PDF and read it and it looks fascinating. I remember playing with Active World's Alpha World and thinking it was a blast, but what was it? It was, for the most part, a very sophisticated toy.

When VRML came out, some heralded it as the future of the Internet. 3-D shopping malls would spring up and the world would be revolutionized. In 20-20 hindsight, we can see that it wasn't possible. VRML was too simple and faced three insurmountable hurdles:

  • Insufficient bandwidth
  • Insufficient processing power
  • Primitive interface design

Maybe, for some of us at the cutting edge, the first two are not an issue. The third is still a problem. As pointed out by many people (and mentioned in the appendix in the PDF), "Software Engineering" does not exist. It's drag-n-drool, point-n-guess, tweak-n-run. As we evolve bigger and better systems, we'll have bigger and better bugs. We'll design user interfaces that aren't really what we wanted and the developer winds up being so close to the problem that he says "but all you do is hit ctrl-alt-f7".

Will Croquet be so easy and intuitive that it gets around this? I don't know. Currently, scripting in Croquet requires a knowledge of Squeak and for many, this will be an unacceptable barrier to entry and I don't know enough Squeak or Croquet to know if other languages will even possible. It will be interesting to see if this goes anywhere. It's going to happen sooner or later, I just don't know if we're ready for it.

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