Is there life on Mars?

#urbit #mars

Another matter I have given far less respect than it deserves is urbit. I spend as much time there as I do on the fediverse, but I've done comparatively little exploration in it. My planet, ~linnum-fidrut, has slowly become a place in which I write in streams of consciousness as well as keep up with some of my nerdiest friends; of all the bleeding-edge decentralized social media I try to consume, it is the one that seems to have the most fire behind it. Not to sell the fediverse short; it has its own little innovation boom just starting to happen and I suspect it will catch up soon.

But there's a magic to urbit. A magic I have yet to completely put into words; but the magic begins somewhere around the fact that it is a single function, which operates on a very specific list-based data model, to provide the basis for everything from a command line, to a web interface, to a cryptographic wallet, and so much more. They've also pivoted since the days of Curtis Yarvin toward a more positive developer experience; airlock, for example, exposes APIs accessible from any language to interact with the system as it exists, and with rather patternistic hoon, you're able to extend those APIs to do anything it is you'd want the Nock Machine to do.

There's also a culture worth mentioning; from the idea that perfect Martian code can exist, to the developments of that metaphor to bring the perfection of Martian code back to Earth (and in the other direction, bringing more of Earth's content to Mars), the community has given themselves a fascinating perspective into the problem of decentralized, interoperating computers and the decreasing likeliness of them in the face of megalithic software companies. Reading Urbit blogs is like little else on the internet, leaving even the most practiced hackers humbled before the mystery of Hoonic sigils and syntactically-significant horizontal whitespace. And, like a tourist to Mars, you can't help but be fascinated at how everything has been done, and done so minimally at that.

Everything in your machine has a source that can be read, and once you're keen enough to read it you'll find that so much is being accomplished in very little code. It's truly a fascinating world, and one I need to delve deeper into, to truly understand. For now, though, I find myself caught up in the serenity of the new, the foreign, and I want that serenity and youthfulness of perspective to guide me exactly where I can make what's best for me, and the schizoposters with whom my planet connects.