Ted Nelson’s worldwide open-hypertext-publishing network, Xanadu, has once again been delayed. The version described in Literary Machines 87.1, etc., has been completed, but put on the shelf due to the absence of some key software mechanisms. The new prototype of the single-user back-end server software is in Smalltalk that will compile down to C to run on essentially all types of machines. That’s the nitty-gritty of the keynote lecture at the first stop of Ted Nelson’s 1990 World Tour (complete with beautifully embroidered black satin jackets), the ‘Multimedia 90’ conference, held in Linkoping, Sweden on September 10th.
Ted Nelson: "In 1987 […] that small fraction of the computer field that knew of Xanadu was very much astonished when they heard that the AutoDesk Company [57% world market share in CAD programs] had actually bought the project, and they’d be even more astonished if they knew how many millions of dollars AutoDesk has put into it since, which I can’t tell you but it is ‘several.’"
They now work on performance and related parameters, so that online deliveries might take place "while the user is still awake." The FEBE (front-end-to-back-end terminal access) protocol has yet to be finalized though. We’re to expect a LAN-version of the xanalogical storage server to be introduced on the market in 1991, with a few front-end programs available from AutoDesk, Inc. (the Macintosh version is being written by Mark $ Miller, so we’re apparently in good hands).
The first public-access Xanadu vending point in Palo Alto in ’93 will be followed six months later by a sister installation at Chico State University, then in some yet undecided "Country Two," in few more American states, then worldwide.