Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2018


The circuit less traveled

Investigating some alternate histories of computing.

Retrocomputing, lost lessons of software design, a quarter of a century of failed progress - and how learning from the past could lead to the next generation of computers.

There are many now-forgotten OSes and languages that could do things that modern systems can't even approach, but they are long gone, out-competed by inexpensive commodity computers and lowest-common-denominator software. This talk discusses some of that forgotten history, and how what we did instead has landed has landed us with significant problems... and some possible ways that we could escape these problems and find new ways forward.

It will touch upon Plan 9 and Inferno, Taos and Intent/Elate, the Dandelion machines and Mesa, Oberon, OpenGenera, Movitz, ChrysaLisp, Urbit, the Canon Cat, the original Newton OS and Dylan, and more besides. It will also examine the next big transition that we're facing, one that almost nobody has noticed and which existing OSes are ill-suited to handle -- and how learning from the past could help improve the future.


Photo of Liam Proven Liam Proven