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Impromptu faq

daemon@ATHENA.MIT.EDU (Thu Sep 15 17:24:31 1994 )

From: deforest@netcom.com (Robert de Forest)
To: coldstuff@MIT.EDU
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 1994 14:16:37 -0700 (PDT)

This isn't really a faq, but we've had the same question three times in a very
 short span of time with some vague answers but no resolution. I avoided
 answering the questions because there are no definite answers, however, I will
 tell you what I know:

Server development:
  versions through 0.11.0 were written by Greg Hudson. Version 0.10.0 was his
   last official release, and the last documented server. Patches were once
   available to fix several bugs and add a function for testing method tick
   usage. Version 0.11.0 had more internal than external changes. The external
   changes were a change in the return of traceback() to a list of lists
   instead of a list of strings (so traceback formatting could be performed
   in-db), the removal of error_str() and error_arg() (because they are
   included in traceback()), and the removeal of the functions dict_add_elem()
   and dict_del_elem() because they are easily implemented in-db with
   dict_add(), dict_del(), dict_contains(), setadd() and setremove().
  Greg didn't quite finish 0.11.0, but Colin McCormic kindly finished it for
   him. I applied the patches for version 10 to this source, resulting in what
   has been passed around as 0.11.4. This version is 'stable' except that its
   binary-db storage seems to be broken and it may hang at random on Linux

  Jordan Baker took my copy of 0.11.4 and added suspend(), resume(), tasks(),
   cancel(), and callers() to it, resulting in a VERY-BETA 0.12.0. He also
   changed the message_op funtion to make (x).foo() syntactically equivalent to
   get_name(type(x)).foo(x) for all non-obj/non-frob x. This means that
   [1,2].reverse() => [2,1] if $list.reverse() does what its name implies.

  Colin McCormic has been publicly secretive about what his plans are. They
   seem to be re-writing the server from the ground up in C++, but being
   textdump compatible with 0.11.0. He has also hinted at multi-threading,
   and has shown interest in supporting distributed dbs. I cannot comment
   further on his plans without risk of either exposing priveledged information
   or being totally R0NG.

  Jordan Baker continues to do server hacking. He and others are trying to find
   and squash the bug which is causing the server to hang on linux machines. He
   also plans to add floating-point support. There has been talk of adding more
   attributes to methods besides "disallow_overrides", specifically "private"
   and "instance_only". The first has been successfully added to 0.12.0, but
   was removed because Jordan didn't trust the changes bug-wise. He also isn't
   yet convinced that it is a Good Thing (tm).

  For those not familiar with these attributes, private methods are invisible
   to other calling objects. They have the same accessability as object
   parameters. In the test implementation, :foo(); caused only the object
   defining the current method to be searched for a method named 'foo, and if
   found to run it, otherwise throw ~methodnf. If another object tried to
   access the method it would not be there, and the method search would
   continue at the next parent.

  Private methods have two advantages. The first is that the lookup for a
   private method call only searches one object, as opposed to potentially
   all the ancestors of this(). The second advantage is that it provides
   a programmer with a way to be sure that "sender() == this() &&
   caller() == definer()" because obj:foo() is a syntax error. This is a common
   perms check in any method which is shared by multiple interface methods,
   for example. That is, the private flag on methods provides a simple and
   efficient tool for enforcing an object's interface.

  The other attribute, "instance_only" is an idea a guy I know only as James
   came up with to guarentee that this() != definer(). There is really only one
   advantage to this flag. It provides another way to enforce an object's
   interface. This may not be such a great enhacnement, since it made a lot
   more sense to me then than now.

  I believe Jordan has plans of re-writting in C++ and/or adding threading to
   the server some time after the next official release. Both ideas make a lot
   of sense, so naturally...

Core development:
  worlds 0.1 through 0.6 were available with various releases of the server.
   World-0.6 will not run under 0.11.0 without changes, but the changes are
   simple and obvious with the manual and the above info in hand. None were
   very complete by most people's standards, as they do not support a help
   system, mail, editors, aliases, pronoun substitution, or a bunch of other
   features considered to be necessary in any MUD core. They do however provide
   the platform from which all cores that I know of developed.

  AbsoluteZero was a core being developed by Jordan Baker and some associates
   of his, until he lost net access. It has a help system of sorts, pronoun
   substitution, and some other bells and whistles, but is a very incomplete
   attempt due to being a work in progress interrupted abruptly.

  TheColdDark was a core developed by Brandon Gilespie(sp?) and others
   including me for a while. It was much better fleshed out than world-0.6, but
   was very messy, owing to a lack of dirrection and agreement on the part of
   the developers. I threw a hissy fit and left in February.

  FrozenApples is the core I have been working on since I left tCD. It provides
   little funtionality over world-0.6, but includes a re-written IO object
   system, and @d command, and a LOT of general cleanup/util writting. It is
   anything but done.

  tCD is available, and in the state described in a previous post by Brandon

  AbsoluteZero is available, but not in a distributeable state.

  FrozenApples is on hold until I finish a project with Jordan. When we are
   done with that, we will start a serious effort which should result in a top-
   notch core within a month of starting. User-command level functionality will
   not be significantly increased, but the structure and design of the core
   will be as complete as they come, and will include pronoun substitution,
   better IO handling, an events system, and many other compnents sorely
   lacking in world-0.6.

  tCD seems to be dead, as Brandon has pressed on to other things and everyone
   else has either gone back to MOO or is working on the new FrozenApples.

  Abs0 is being incorperated into FrozenApples.

Other cores:
 I remember hearing of a cold core based on an object-by-object port of
  LambdaCore. This does not seem like a good idea to me, since what design has
  gone into Lambda has been based on a singly-inheritant server, when any
  design has gone on at all. However, if it results in a core that works before
  Jordan an I are done, then great! :)

 Quinn Avery dabbles in cold development. I will leave it up to him to announce
  anything he wuold like announced.

Sites that are 'up':
 I am running a version of FrozenApples on 0.12.0 of the server that has a HUGE
  security hole. There are also many disgusting, sloppy, irritating, and
  otherwise stupid bugs in it. However, if you need a site to go to to research
  cold, you may come to sequoia.picosof.com / 6666. I make no guarentee of any
  kind. Save your work locally if you value it.

 There is another site that is invite-only that I'm not goint to tell you
  about. I am not awayre of any public servers other than mine at sequoia, for
  that matter.


That's all I can think of that I can tell you about servers and cores. If you
 still want details, you're a DEMENTED person. Version 0.10.0 of the server
 and world-0.6 are available at ftp.ccs.neu.edu//pub/mud/drivers/coldmud. I
 recomend you play with that for a couple months before asking about other

Once you have played with 0.10, you may look in serial.io.com//incoming for
 the UNRELEASED 0.12 server and FA core.

If you still feel compelled to ask questions after all this, go ahead and send
 them to this list. I will answer them if no one else does after a while.

Crag / Robert de Forest