Inventing the Future: ante

Folks have asked me about using Croquet now, and looking at the source. I discussed part of the answer in Jasmine release, which discussed the currently available proof-of-concept. But there’s some more stuff that people should know.

We’re building Croquet using machines that actually exist now: I use a Mac laptop. But we’re not designing systems for the last war. Computers and networks are getting much faster all the time, and Croquet will take advantage of that. While I expect this year to be able to make real use of Croquet in specific environments, our overall time horizon is much larger. Think of it this way: nothing has substantially changed in personal computing software design since the Macintosh came out in 1984. We must consider these kinds of time scales for fundamental architectures.

To be clear, I am expecting Croquet to work on small cheap devices and networks, but I’m expecting small cheap devices and networks to be pretty powerful.

The purpose of the current version is to allow advanced developers to use the current snapshot of this work-in-progress. The folks giving us initial feedback are using high performance equipment (e.g., gamer’s graphics cards with perhaps 128MB of VRAM), and are taking the time to make sure it’s set up right (e.g., proper graphics drivers for running Open GL, not crippled by Microsoft for anything other than Direct X).

A consequence of this approach is that we don’t have a small download or CD available. You’ll have a long wait trying to download the system over dial-up.

Another consequence is that we don’t have a separate source code tree that you can browse on the Web or with a text editor. The source comes embedded in the Integrated Development Environment that comes with Jasmine.

Pruned deployment environments are good things: I’d love to see a small browser plugin that has just enough in it to bootstrap the Croquet world that you want to visit first. But that is not the focus of our efforts right now, and won’t be for quite some time.

About Stearns

Howard Stearns works at High Fidelity, Inc., creating the metaverse. Mr. Stearns has a quarter century experience in systems engineering, applications consulting, and management of advanced software technologies. He was the technical lead of University of Wisconsin's Croquet project, an ambitious project convened by computing pioneer Alan Kay to transform collaboration through 3D graphics and real-time, persistent shared spaces. The CAD integration products Mr. Stearns created for expert system pioneer ICAD set the market standard through IPO and acquisition by Oracle. The embedded systems he wrote helped transform the industrial diamond market. In the early 2000s, Mr. Stearns was named Technology Strategist for Curl, the only startup founded by WWW pioneer Tim Berners-Lee. An expert on programming languages and operating systems, Mr. Stearns created the Eclipse commercial Common Lisp programming implementation. Mr. Stearns has two degrees from M.I.T., and has directed family businesses in early childhood education and publishing.


  1. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So what.

    What about JAPAN? How was the conference? Do you speak JAPANESE NOW?

  2. Not really “so what” of course; I think what you said is interesting.

  3. Kon-ichi-wa. Su-mi ma-sen. Domo arigato, John-sensei. Lots to tell about Japan, some of which requires some digesting. Some maybe tomorrow. Rest in several big hairy blogs. Still snoozy… Sayonarra.

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