OpenXanadu - A Fascinating Alternative to WWW Docs


I just read a short Gaurdian article about OpenXanadu, quote:

Superficially, [OpenXanadu] resembles the web itself, and that’s no coincidence.
At one point, Xanadu had potential to beat Tim Berners Lee to the
invention of the world wide web. But the project carried on slipping,
and the web got there first.

I don’t know much about it and don’t find the demo here very informative or inspiring, but reading hte following did make me wonder about its potential as a document app/platform for SAFE network, particularly the bits about handling document versions without links breaking and about copyright. Briefly mentioned here:

Xanadu’s developer Ted Nelson is the man who coined the term
"hypertext" to describe the clickable links that were created for his
project: the word lives on most prominently as the “ht” in the internet
abbreviation “http”.

At its simplest, Xanadu lets users build documents that seamlessly
embed the sources which they are linking back to, creating, in Nelson’s words,
“an entire form of literature where links do not break as versions
change; where documents may be closely compared side by side and closely
annotated; where it is possible to see the origins of every quotation;
and in which there is a valid copyright system - a literary, legal and
business arrangement - for frictionless, non-negotiated quotation at any
time and in any amount.”

Worth a look for anyone with projects in mind that handle or create documents with references, or perhaps wanting new ideas for referencing and copyright.


I was reading about Project Xanadu recently, and then searched the MaidSafe forums to see if it had been discussed here—and found this topic.

I was struck by some of the seeming conceptual similarities between Project Xanadu and Project SAFE. A number of Project Xanadu’s 17 rules seemed especially reminiscent of some of the main principles of SAFE.

I’m not sure if it has been mentioned elsewhere or not, but does anyone know if Project Xanadu served as any kind of inspiration for MaidSafe? Or is it simply a case of different people independently developing (conceptually) similar solutions?


No it didn’t but good to see. I really dislike servers though :smile:


Well, then I suppose it simply shows that people have been concerned with some of the Web’s inherent shortcomings for a long time—many of which will hopefully be behind us very soon.


I recommend Jaron Lanier’s book: “Who owns the future” for an interesting take on Xanadu and the future of what he calls “Nelsonian” networks.