30 Mar 2014

Hi there! I started writing CosmicOS years ago and, picking it up again recently, I realize I’ve put far more effort into writing it than into explaining it. So I thought I’d start jotting down some notes on what it is and why it is.

I had run across a copy of Freudenthal’s LINCOS: design of a language for cosmic intercourse in the library, and was struck by a few things:

  1. What a great name for a book!

  2. Impressed at a person capable of extreme formalism totally willing to put it aside when it gets in the way of communication.

  3. Loved the chapter on communicating fuzzy ideas via conversations about math.

  4. Wondered what could be communicated via conversations about programs.

That was the seed for CosmicOS. Communicating with an “other” is an interesting puzzle, and I’d like to see lots and lots of answers to it. For CosmicOS, my goal is to use simulations as a compact way to describe enough of a world for rich communication to be possible. Unlike other messages, I’m not including any real information about the physical universe around us. If we ever need a message like this, we might want to keep some personal information out of it (just like we humans sometimes do on our own little internet).

It is quite hard to get a copy of LINCOS. I don’t want that to be a problem for CosmicOS, so it is under a free license. I think it is pretty important to leave this kind of stuff open to remixing. If you’d like to use or contribute to CosmicOS, drop by and say hi!

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