A place to be (re)educated in Newspeak

Monday, November 24, 2008

We have Good news, and we have Bad news

First, the good news. We will be releasing a Newspeak prototype in the first week of January 2009. This prototype is anything but finished, but it will have to do, because of the bad news (insert dramatic pause here).

What's the bad news? Well, funding for the Newspeak team is being discontinued in early January, another victim of the times.

We are currently seeking a new home for Newspeak, but it is by no means certain that such a thing can be found in the current economic climate. Perhaps I should take the Newspeak private jet to Washington and demand a bail-out - but alas, the jet is indisposed (when I call it all I get is message not understood)

We expect to keep pushing the Newspeak platform forward in any event; that said, there's a big difference between having several developers fully dedicated to a project, and the limited efforts people can make in their spare time. So the goal is to find support for the project soon - otherwise we'll all go get other jobs and progress on Newspeak will slow down accordingly.

Of course, once we put out the prototype, others can help fill in the blanks. I hope that will happen, irrespective of whether Newspeak gets further funding. I also plan to write up our work on Newspeak for academic publication.

Hopefully, this is only a temporary setback, and in it lies new opportunity: per aspera ad astra.


Rob Jellinghaus said...

Ah, rats. I sincerely hope that the project and team find another source of funding before you all must go your separate ways.

Newspeak was one of the few modern programming language developments that I thought had real promise of becoming something special. I look forward to whatever you and the team do with it, in any case.

I recently had lunch with Neal Gafter here at Microsoft; we both expressed our interest in what you've been doing. Maybe we'll see some of you up this way sooner or later! I hope so, anyhow :-)

Unknown said...

Indeed bad news. I believe that the community will drive it forward as it is really an innovative piece of work.

So, there's some hope after all, or as Monty Python put it: "This is supposed to be a happy occasion! Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who"

James T. Savidge said...

Sorry to hear about that. As someone that was on a “bleeding-edge” Smalltalk project back in 1988-1989, that suffered much the same fate, I can sympathize.

If it comes down to it, please remember the Smalltalk Jobs database.

Those of us on the team keep it updated for times like these.

Good luck!

James T. Savidge, Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mark Lee Smith said...

I'm really sorry to hear that Gilad, Newspeak excited me more than any language available today – I'm sure others feel the same way. If you don't manage to get funding some will step up to work on it. It'd be a tragedy otherwise.

Best of luck!

Carl Gundel said...

That's a serious bummer. Newspeak looks like a very promising technology and I do hope it will get picked up, or at least becomes an actively developed open source project. What sort of license does it use?

Mark Lee Smith said...

@Carl: The last I heard Newspeak was to be released under the Apache 2.0 License. I assume this is still the case.

Paul Beckford said...

Hi Gilad,

Sorry to hear the bad news. Hopefully you are able to find another home as good as Cadence has been.

As for the good news. I can't wait to get my hands on Newspeak. Even in its incomplete state it sounds head and shoulders above anything we have today, especially the stuff Vissali has been producing. Its mind blowing!

Alan Kays rant about our obsession with short-termism comes to mind. If anyone can pull it off I'm sure you can. We are all rooting for you. Good luck!


Gilad Bracha said...

Thanks to all of you for the kind words - especially the Monty Python quote!
And yes, the license is Apache 2.0.

Mark Lee Smith said...

I was thinking about this on the way home from University today. One possible but probably impractical idea: setup a Paypal (or whatever) account and accept donations. It works for some other projects. Something to think about :).

James said...
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James said...


Alexandre Bergel said...

Is there anything that the NewSqueak community (active people and project followers) can do to help NewSpeak? The PLT Scheme crew is asking for signature every two years to get funds from NSF. I imagine changing or postponing decisions made at Cadence will not be that easy. But maybe...

Gilad Bracha said...

Hi Alex,

The main thing that the community can do is participate. Try Newspeak, volunteer to improve it, let others know about it etc. And, if it doesn't work for you - tell us why. It's not certain that we'll agree, or be in a position to do much about it, but ensuring that Newspeak is practically useful is critical.


toast said...

Hi Gilad,

I'm really looking forward to the Newspeak release; how are you guys going and when do you think you might be done?

I'm very interested in this language, especially from a _systems_ programming perspective... having a VM as the kernel of the OS and everything else nicely modular, capability-secure processes. And probably lots of trace tree and so on action.

How do you feel about Newspeak as a System programming language?


Gilad Bracha said...

Hi Tiest,

I really should post a progress report. Will do so very soon.