Thanks, now I have a much better picture of the overall situation, although
I still have a lot of reading to do. I already had read a couple of Frank
progress reports, and some stuff about worlds, in the publications link you
mention. So I thought, this sounds great, how can I try this? Then I went
to the wiki, and there was a section called "Fundamental new computing
technologies", so I said "this is the thing!".  But no, the real thing was,
as you said, hidden in plain sight, under the unconspicuous titles such as
"Other prototypes and projects related to our work" and "experiment". I
wonder, is that some kind of prank for the uninitiated? hehe. By the way,
I've played a little with Squeak, Croquet and other great projects by Alan
and the other wonderful Smalltalk people, so I did have a sense of their
focus on children. I must confess I was a bit annoyed with what seemed to
me like Jedi elitism (as in "He is too old. Yes, too old to begin the
training. ") but hey, their project, their code, their rules.

So, to get back on topic,

I've downloaded Maru, The contents are:

boot-eval.c  boot.l  emit.l  eval.l  Makefile

So, the ".l" files are

So this is the file extension for Maru's implementation language (does it
have a name?).

Sure enough, the very first line of "eval.l" reads:

;;; -*- coke -*-

This made me smile. Well, actually it was a mad laughter.

It compiles beautifully. Yay!

Now there are some ".s" files. They look like assembler code. I thought it
was Nothing code, but the Maru webpage explains it's just ia-32. Oh, well.
I don't know yet where Nothing enters the picture.

So, this is compiled to ".o" files and linked to build the "eval"
executable, which can take ".l" files and make a new "eval"
 executable, and so on. So far so good.

But what else can I do with it? Should I use it to run the examples at "
http://tinlizzie.org/dbjr/"; ? All I see is files with a ".lbox" file
extension. What are those? Apparently, there are no READMEs. Could you
please give me an example of how to try one of those experiments?

Thanks for your tips and patience ;)

On Sun, Feb 26, 2012 at 3:48 AM, Julian Leviston <jul...@leviston.net>wrote:

> As I understand it, Frank is an experiment that is an extended version of
> DBJr that sits atop lesserphic, which sits atop gezira which sits atop
> nile, which sits atop maru all of which which utilise ometa and the
> "worlds" idea.
> If you look at the http://vpri.org/html/writings.php page you can see a
> pattern of progression that has emerged to the point where Frank exists.
> From what I understand, maru is the finalisation of what began as pepsi and
> coke. Maru is a simple s-expression language, in the same way that pepsi
> and coke were. In fact, it looks to have the same syntax. Nothing is the
> layer underneath that is essentially a symbolic computer - sitting between
> maru and the actual machine code (sort of like an LLVM assembler if I've
> understood it correctly).
> They've hidden Frank in plain sight. He's a patch-together of all their
> experiments so far... which I'm sure you could do if you took the time to
> understand each of them and had the inclination. They've been publishing as
> much as they could all along. The point, though, is you have to understand
> each part. It's no good if you don't understand it.
> If you know anything about Alan & VPRI's work, you'd know that their focus
> is on getting children this stuff in front as many children as possible,
> because they have so much more ability to connect to the heart of a problem
> than adults. (Nothing to do with age - talking about minds, not bodies
> here). Adults usually get in the way with their "stuff" - their "knowledge"
> sits like a kind of a filter, denying them the ability to see things
> clearly and directly connect to them unless they've had special training in
> relaxing that filter. We don't know how to be simple and direct any more -
> not to say that it's impossible. We need children to teach us meta-stuff,
> mostly this direct way of experiencing and looking, and this project's main
> aim appears to be to provide them (and us, of course, but not as
> importantly) with the tools to do that. Adults will come secondarily - to
> the degree they can't embrace new stuff ;-). This is what we need as an
> entire populace - to increase our general understanding - to reach
> breakthroughs previously not thought possible, and fast. Rather than
> changing the world, they're providing the seed for children to change the
> world themselves.
> This is only as I understand it from my observation. Don't take it as
> gospel or even correct, but maybe you could use it to investigate the parts
> of frank a little more and with in-depth openness :) The entire project is
> an experiment... and that's why they're not coming out and saying "hey guys
> this is the product of our work" - it's not a linear building process, but
> an intensively creative process, and most of that happens within oneself
> before any results are seen (rather like boiling a kettle).
> http://www.vpri.org/vp_wiki/index.php/Main_Page
> On the bottom of that page, you'll see a link to the tinlizzie site that
> references "experiment" and the URL has dbjr in it... as far as I
> understand it, this is as much frank as we've been shown.
> http://tinlizzie.org/dbjr/
> :)
> Julian
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