Prehistory  | Internet | CERN | Next Step | Birth of Web | Hypertext | Living History  | Xanadu | Stats | Conclusion

History of Internet and WWW:
The Roads and Crossroads
of Internet  History
by  Gregory R. Gromov

 USA to Far East - Living History


"... think upon patience . Pray you, gentlmen."
Shakespear, All's well that ends well, Act 3, Scene 2




The "Living History" of Hypertext.


      Theodor Holm    Nelson   

      The Fate of Thinking Person in Silicon Valley 

        1960. It occurs to me that the future of humanity is at the interactive computer screen, that the new writing and movies will be interactive and interlinked. It will be united by bridges of transclusion (see below) and we need a world-wide network to deliver it with royalty. I begin.

        .  .  .  .  .

        February, 1988. Autodesk buys the Xanadu project, which has been bundled into XOC, Inc. Nelson gives up the trademark.

        LATE 1988 the program designed in 1981 is finished (and dubbed 88.1), then set aside, to begin work on a MUCH FINER design-

        August, 1992. Autodesk drops the project and gives us carfare. Our heroes find themselves out in the street.

        Interesting TimesNumber Three, October 1994,
        Theodor Holm Nelson , Mindful Press, 1994

    Japanese Embrace After a Years Failure in U.S.,
    A Man Too Eccentric For Silicon Valley Theodor Nelson Continues His Quest for Xanadu  


    SAPPORO, Japan - Eagger to inspire a creative new generation of computer programmers, Japan hax turned to a U.S. software guru who has been called "one of the great minds of the 20th century" and "the Orson Welles of software."

    So far, it hardly matters that the individual in question, Theodor Holm Nelson, has been called those things by himself . Or that in U.S. he has spent more than 30 years and large sums of other people's money on never finished  Xanadu, which has bankrupted one group of programmers and overhelmed several others.

    For Japan has accorded Mr. Nelson a hero's welcom. A group of electronics giants, including Hitachi Ltd. and Futjitsu Ltd., built a 12-person software lab for him on Japan's northernmost island and named it Hyperlab, where he dreamed, desighed and philosophed for a year and half. More recenrtly Keo University has given him a research appointment at its campus near Tokyo, where he plans to continue building Xanadu with companies or students who care to help.

    In Japan, many still revere Mr. Nelson for his 1965 "hypertext" concept -- essentially the system that allows users of the Internet's WorldWideWeb to mouse-click their way from words or pictures in one document to those in another. "He is {part of] the living history of the computer world,"...

    By David P. Hamilton, WSJ, April 24, 1996, p 1, A10.

Tim, Robert and Ted "...after the Advisory Committee meeting of the WWW Consortium, in Tokyo, June 1997. This one (photo -- GRG) was made by Hakon Lie at dinner.



It shows me (Robert Cailliau ), sitting between Tim Berners-Lee and Ted NelsonTim and Ted are clearly engaged in a serious debate about some hypertext phenomenon behind my back, while I'm discussing philosophy with Hakon, who was sitting opposite me and took the photo." by R. Cailliau "Tim, Robert and Ted



    Theodor Holm Nelson
    A retort to Gary Wolf's "Curse of Xanadu" in Wired Magazine.  

Magazine: Nelson's response to the Web was "nice try."
Nelson: This is a pretty seriously out-of-context quote.

      I have great respect for the Web and great personal liking for Tim Berners-Lee.

Magazine: Today, with the advent of far more powerful memory devices, Xanadu, the grandest encyclopedic project of our era, seemed not only a failure but an actual symptom of madness.
Nelson: I find this both gratuitously nasty and incomprehensible.

      What is he talking about with these "more powerful memory devices"?

They do not change the problem or invalidate the proposed solution of transclusive media.

by Andrew Pam

          "Transclusion" is a term introduced by Ted Nelson to define virtual inclusion, the process of including something by reference rather than by copying.

          This is fundamental to the Xanadu designs; originally transclusions were implemented using hyperlinks, but it was later discovered that in fact hyperlinks could be implemented using transclusions!

          Transclusions permit storage efficiency for multiple reasonably similar documents, such as those generated by versions and alternates as discussed above.

          WWW currently permits images to be transcluded using the IMG - tag, but strangely does not support any other media types.

          Some support for text transclusion has been added in the form of a "server side include" facility in some WWW servers, but this is a work-around with limited use.


Prehistory  | Internet | CERN | Next Step | Birth of Web | Hypertext | Living History  | Xanadu | Stats | Conclusion

The Index:
  • Prehistory of the Internet
  • Internet Before World Wide Web
  • World Wide Web as a Side Effect of Particle Physics Experiments.
  • Next Crossroad of World Wide Web History
  • Birth of the World Wide Web
  • Early History of Hypertext
  • "Living History" of Hypertext.
  • Xanadu Plan
  • Growth of the Internet: Statistics
  • Conclusion

  • Suggestions, thoughts, questions? Contact us...

    Copyright 1995-2011 Gregory Gromov