Xanadu was envisioned by Nelson in 1964 to be a worldwide, hypertextual archive of data — similar to today's Web, only with considerably more complex methods of linking, hosting and copyrighting. Under Xanadu, which runs on a client-server model just like the Web, links are inherently bidirectional, meaning that a single link can point to multiple locations depending upon the context. Instead of manually generating and assigning IP numbers in the manner of today's system, which has a finite limit of addresses to hand out, Xanadu uses transfinite calculus to generate "tumbler" addresses that are infinitely scalable. And unlike the "Information wants to be free" Web with its roots in academia, Nelson's Xanadu had a complex micropayment system built in. On a Xanadu-riven Web, the meter would constantly be ticking. MORE >>
A small piece of a big contender for World's Greatest Example of Vaporware materialized on Monday when hypertext visionary Ted Nelson announced at an O'Reilly Open Source conference that he was releasing the Xanadu source code under an Open Source license.