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12.10.06
 
PROJECT XANADU®
Founded 1960 * The Original Hypertext Project

"Xanadu®" is a registered trademark of Project Xanadu. "XanaduSpaceTM" is a claimed trademark of Project Xanadu.


The computer world is not just technicality and razzle-dazzle.  It is a continual war over software politics and paradigms.  With ideas which are still radical, WE FIGHT ON.

Project Xanadu is a much-misunderstood initiative to create a different kind of computer world, based on a different kind of electronic document.  (Conventional electronic documents-- PDF, Word, HTML-- simulate paper and are built around the concept of printout.  Xanadu documents go where no printout can.)


CONCEPT.
Flying pages!  Deep interconnection!  Parallel intercomparison!  All content connected to its original sources!  And much more.
(For technical matters, see below.)


DEMO. 

See our latest prototype on YouTube--
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En_2T7KH6RA
HISTORY.
We came up with the idea of world-wide hypertext, and indirect documents, in 1960.  It turned out that these ideas displeased many people.

Two major corporations made commitments to our system (Datapoint in 1982, Autodesk in 1988) but they were shot down by politics and infighting.

There have been four serious implementations--

- Hypertyper, 1972 (reached prototype)
- Xanadu Green, 1979 (reached prototype)
- Xanadu Gold, 1992
- XanaduSpace, 2008 (reached prototype)
Gold and Green were fouled by politics and infighting.

A mean-spirited personal attack on us in Wired magazine, discussing none of the concepts, fooled many people and still lingers in the air.

TECHNICAL CONCEPT: Indirect Documents
We can state the method several different ways:
- Indirect documents.  Instead of packaging the content in a file, point to the parts on the net and bring them in from their original sources.

- Separate content from structure.  The source content of xanadocs (text, audio, video) stay published.  They may be simultaneously used in many ways, which stay interconnected.

- Leave the content where it is.  To edit a movie by our method, you make a file of pointers.  The user's client brings in the separate shots from wherever they are, assembles and shows them.  This has the advantage of allowing many different uses of the same content, with links and overlays that can be used by many documents, since they all use the same addresses.

The simplest technical description is hither.

The current specification (Xanadu Purple) is hither.  This dumbs down the rich addressing and capabilities of the earlier design.

An exhaustive technical description of Xanadu Green can be found in the book Literary Machines.