dissenter.html   d6
01.10.04
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SOMEBODY'S GOT TO DISAGREE

I have always tended to disagree, but there is more and more to disagree with as the computer field gets worse and worse.

The world is unanimous about "computer basics" and "computer literacy".  They tell beginners: computers are built around  hierarchical directories, word processing, the Desktop, databases, the one-way links of World Wide Web.

Lies.  All lies.

These things are, of course, the present reality.  But they are no more true and natural than hamburger being the true and natural form of cows, or Central Park being the true and natural form of uptown Manhattan.

Computers have been carefully made to simulate paper and hierarchy, and we are so used to these traditions that we consider them true and natural, ordinary and appropriate.  But they are artificial constructs carefully created, and I believe they are the wrong constructs.  (See my summary of what's wrong with the computer field.)

I propose some very different designs for a new alternative breed of software--

an alternative form of deep non-hierarchical structure (multidimensional crossed lists, or ZigZag® structure)
fundamentally different hypertext viewing (parallel hypertext)
an alternative form of deep document (the Xanadu® model)
Most people do not dare to challenge the prevailing constructs, to consider ideas that are so different.  They take the present world as given.

Strange-- nobody believes that God created computers.  Therefore we are under no divine obligation to use them according to tradition.  We are, in principle, free to start over.  But most people do not dare think about it.

I say it's high time.