The Future of UserLand and its software

I posted this as a comment on Dave Winer’s Scripting News comment blog hosted at but I’m also doing it here in case it gets deleted.

A couple of quick notes:

1. The code to build a Radio UserLand version of the kernel already has been released by Dave Winer as part of the Frontier Kernel project. At one time, while working with Scott Shuda and Scott Young, I had a working Universal Binary of “Radio”. That went a long way on the Mac side but nowhere on the PC side.

2. The kernel relies on some hard to replace/debug code to do string manipulations. I had always understood that this was one of the major roadblocks to solving problems like kernel speed, threads and more.

3. There is no other tool I know of that is shipping and mature, that offers a scripting language, a database and a consistent user interface across Mac and PC platforms. The barrier to entry is low and the “weekend geek” can get things done quickly. I miss writing UserTalk code every day for that one reason.

4. There is an intellectual property issue that which only Dave Winer and the owners of Radio UserLand, Incorporated can control. It’s my understanding that the IP of Radio and Manila are not owned by Dave Winer or the old UserLand Software so parts of this conversation might be moot.

5. Talented software programmers have tried for *years* to get people excited about writing outlines and have failed to build enough interest to reach the tipping point. Writing in outlines is like owning a Jeep–if you don’t do it, you’ll never understand. That’s why it will take an evangelist to do it. Dave can’t for a variety of reasons, especially his health. I tried to do it once and was stymied at every turn by people outside the company. I would be willing to try again–that’s how much I love the software.


Steve Kirks