Wednesday, August 31, 2005


For the record, the name Cixar doesn't, in itself, mean anything. Rather, the name is an attempt to draw multiple parallels.

It starts with my moniker, Cowbert. Actually, it starts with my lack of a monicker. My sister, Kathy, has always had a "theme" for each phase she's passed through, albeit pandas, kiwis, or elephants. I, on the other hand, until the age of seventeen, was as stolid as a cow. Kathy meant to break this mould. She gave me a plush cow she earned for selling recipe books as my 18th birthday present. At the time, I read Dilbert quite heavily, and was planning to make a parody. Scott Adams claims in The Dilbert Future that his idea of originality is reading Garfield and changing all the jokes so they fit Dogbert. So, I made a Cowbert comic wherein I bore a striking resemblance to a particular, cube-headed, plush cow. To clinch it, was still available. So, these long years later, I am Baron Cowbert von Moo.

At the time, Ryan Paul and I were throwing together ideas for a new MUD, we were attributing IdealMUD, since we weren't ready to rule out any particular set of features for practical purposes yet. Quickly, the term "Cix" filled the analogous role for a collection of "Cowix" operating system ideas. Ryan Witt posited that "Cix" inherently "Cix OS", especially in a British accent. Cix has since evolved into a pile of ideas, not so much for an operating system, but for an internally consistent platform. Of course, it isn't internally consistent, but we plan to build Gnomebots to sort it all out.

Some of those ideas included "graphical command line" names for applications. Taking a page from Latin, the names were inflected. Each application had a three letter root representing the type of data it operated on. This base corresponded to the file extension. Then each application had a suffix of "or" for "edit-ors", "er" for "view-ers", and "ing" for daemons, a.k.a, services. For example; *.tex text files edited with texor, viewed with texer; *.pix picture files edited with pixor, viewed with pixer; tabular data edited with tabor and served with tabing. Of course there was in internal implication that Texar, Tabar, Datar, Vexar, and Pixar would be fantastic names for teams, companies, or loosely governed alliances of hackers devoted to the development of these tools. Then Ryan Witt bought for our eventual Internet home, sealing the name around us like soo many soggy carpets.

So, summarily, Cixar is a loosely governed alliance of Cix developers.

No comments: