Alan Kay wrote on Wed, 14 Mar 2012 11:36:30 -0700 (PDT)
> Yep, I was there and trying to get the Newton project off the awful ATT chip
> they had first chosen.

Interesting - a few months ago I studied the datasheets for the Hobbit
and read all the old CRISP papers and found this chip rather cute. It is
even more C centric than RISCs (specially the ARM) so might not be a
good choice for other languages. Another project that started out using
this and then had to switch (to the PowerPC) was the BeBox. In the link
I give below it says both projects were done by the same people (Jean
Louis Gassée and Steve Sakoman), so in a way it was really just one
project that used the chip.

> Larry Tesler (who worked with us at PARC) finally wound up taking over this
> project and doing a number of much better things with it.

He was also responsible for giving us Hypercard, right?

> Overall what happened with Newton was too bad -- it could have been much
> better -- but there were many too many different opinions and power bases
> involved.

This looks like a reasonable history of the Newton project (though some
parts that I know aren't quite right, so I can't guess how accurate the
parts I didn't know are):

It doesn't mention NewtonScript nor Object Soups. I have never used it
myself, only read about it and seen some demos. But my impression is
that this was the closest thing we have had to the dynabook yet.

> If you have a good version of confinement (which is pretty simple HW-wise) you
> can use Butler Lampson's schemes for Cal-TSS to make a workable version of a
> capability system.

The 286 protected mode was good enough for this, and was extended in the
386. I am not sure all modern x86 processors still implement these, and
if they do it is likely that actually using them will hurt performance
so much that it isn't an option in practice.

> And, yep, I managed to get them to allow interpreters to run on the iPad, but 
> was
> not able to get Steve to countermand the "no sharing" rule.

That is a pity, though at least having native languages makes these
devices a reasonable replacement for my old Radio Shack PC-4 calculator.
I noticed that neither Matlab nor Mathematica are available for the
iPad, but only simple terminal apps that allow you to access these
applications running on your PC. What a waste!

-- Jecel

fonc mailing list

Reply via email to