[lively-kernel] Time for another run at the fence?

Dan Ingalls DanHHIngalls at gmail.com
Sun Apr 11 03:29:01 CEST 2010

Good People of Lively -

Several forces are converging, and it makes me want to see who's 
really out there these days, and who might be interested in pushing 
Lively up onto the next plateau.

Water over the dam
It's been five months since I've been really active with Lively.  I 
might have been a bit more active except that time included a job 
change (from Sun to SAP).  It is not yet clear how much of my energy 
I can devote to Lively in my new job, but it's a huge improvement in 
energy flow to be away from the JavaFX juggernaut.  Finally, as I had 
hoped, we now have Lively moved to neutral territory at HPI where the 
climate is truly enthusiastic.

Let's have a party
If you all lived in the neighborhood, I'd have us over for beer and 
pizza so we could get to know each other, find out what each is most 
interested in, and plot some next steps that could be fun for all of 
us.  Presumably we're all on the mailing list because there is 
something about Lively that got us excited, and chances are that if 
we work together a bit (or even just discuss it for a while), we'll 
come up with a merry prank or two.  So let's go around the room once 
and, even if you think you've already done this, send in a message 
that briefly tells...

What excites you about the Lively Kernel?
How much time do you currently put into LK?
How much time do you think you could put into LK if you got fired up?
What are the top 3 or 4 things you would like to do for LK ?
What are the top 3 or 4 things you would like someone else to do for LK?
Any other random comments you'd like to make, or links to share?

My two cents
Just to break the ice, I'll start off with my intro.  At first I 
thought I shouldn't do this in case it would influence others, but 
then I thought I would go ahead anyway for pretty much the same 
reason.  Go figure ;-).

What excites you about the Lively Kernel?
	I grew up doing physics experiments in my basement.  To me 
computers are exquisite laboratories, but there is no mainstream 
software that lets you play around and do experiments.  Things are 
actually  worse than 30 years ago when every computer came with 
Basic.  An entire generation is growing up thinking all you can do is 
run Windows and maybe program Java in Eclipse if you want to spend a 
year or two learning.  To me the Lively Kernel is a chance to build 
something like Squeak -- a *simple* live graphical composition 
environment with everything programmable -- and make it as accessible 
in every browser, and able to share our creations with everyone as 
web pages.
How much time do you currently put into LK?
	About 1 hour a day (more today ;-)
How much time do you think you could put into LK if you got fired up?
	2 hours a day, more if I can make it relevant at SAP (working 
on that ;-)
What are the top 3 or 4 things you would like to do for LK ?
	Make it the best and coolest tool to put together a slide show
		Then every time we give talks we will be advertising LK
		Also subsumes the goal of simple web site creation
	Make an Open App Store
		LK runs on iPhone, iPad, and may other cell phones
		So we could do our own App Store right now
	Add more constraints -- connectors, physics modelling, etc
What are the top 3 or 4 things you would like someone else to do for LK?
	Get LK working with Google Docs and other popular systems
	Remove LK's dependence on XML in favor of JSON
	Separate the Canvas and SVG layers and make Canvas fast
	Add a nice database interface.
	Get collaboration (multiple Morphic hands) working
Any other random comments you'd like to make?
	I was going to add "Rewrite the whole system", but I don't 
think we need to do that just yet.  LK is good enough to do good 
things, and I think we need to create some fun for ourselves and some 
buzz on the outside.   I've got toms of other ideas, when the time 
comes ;-)

Other good news
Jens and Robert have been quiet, but they have not been idle.  In 
addition to their normal load of school work they have managed to 
recreate the Lively Kernel home at HPI, along with mail list, 
repository and other bits of forward-looking organization...
They've also been doing some cool new work in LK, for example...
And finally, Jens is about to offer a seminar at HPI in which student 
teams will choose and work on various Lively Kernel projects...
Hopefully we will hear more about this activity as soon as it starts up.

I'm hoping the idea of Lively projects spreads to other universities. 
Ours is a system in which students can see how everything works, 
change it themselves, and experience real personal computing.  It's a 
good counter to the much heavier Java/Eclipse curriculum offerings.

Y'all write back and tell us what you're up to

	- Dan

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