I'm afraid that I am in no way a teacher of this. I'm in no way professing to 
know what I'm talking about - I've simply given you my observations. Perhaps we 
can help each other, because I'm intensely interested, too... I want to 
understand this stuff because it is chock full of intensely powerful ideas.

The elitism isn't true... I've misrepresented what I was meaning to say - I 
simply meant that people who aren't fascinated enough to understand won't have 
the drive to understand it... until it gets to a kind of point where enough 
people care to explain it to the people who take longer to understand... This 
makes sense. It's how it has always been. Sorry for making it sound elitist. 
It's not, I promise you. When your time is limited, though (as the VPRI guys' 
time is), one needs to focus on truly expounding it to as many people as you 
can, so one can teach more teachers first... one teaches the people who can 
understand the quickest first, and then they can propagate and so on... I hope 
this is clear.

I don't think it was a prank. It's not really hidden at all. If you pay 
attention, all the components of Frank are there... like I said. It's obviously 
missing certain things like Nothing, and other optimisations, but for the most 
part, all the tech is present.

My major stumbling block at the moment is understanding OMeta fully. This is 
possibly the most amazing piece of work I've seen in a long, long time, and 
there's no easy explanation of it, and no really simple explanation of the 
syntax, either. There are the papers, and source code and the sandboxes, but 
I'm still trying to understand how to use it. It's kind of huge. I think 
perhaps I need to get a grounding in PEGs before I start on OMeta because there 
seems to be a lot of assumed knowledge there. Mostly I'm having trouble with 
the absolute, complete basics.

Anyway I digress... have you had a look at this file?:


Just read the whole thing - I found it fairly interesting :) He's build pepsi 
on maru there... that's pretty fascinating, right? Built a micro smalltalk on 
top of the S-expression language... and then does a Fast Fourier Transform test 
using it...

I'm not really sure how it relates to this, tho: 

I actually have no idea about how to run one of the experiments you're talking 
about - the mbox files... from what I've read about STEPS, though, I think the 
mbox files are Frank documents... and I think Frank is kinda DBJr... at least, 
if you go to this page and look at the bottom, pay some careful attention to 
the video that appears there demonstrating some of the patchwork doll that is 
frank.... (if you haven't seen it already)...


In the tinlizzie.org/updates/exploratory/packages you'll find montecello 
packages that contains some of experiments, I'm fairly sure, one of which is: 
(yep, you guessed it)


However, having not tried this, I'm not sure of what it may be ;-) (if I were 
you, I'd take a squizz around those packages)

You probably what the Lobjects stuff and the doc editor, I'm guessing... :-S

Fairly patchy at the best, but that's the point - it's called Frank, as in 
frankenstein's monster - as in... it's a patchy mess, but it's alive... this 
stuff is a fair way off having a full stack that operates beautifully... but 
it's a start... (it seems).


On 27/02/2012, at 12:14 PM, Martin Baldan wrote:

> Julian,
> 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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