NetKernel News Volume 2 Issue 26

April 29th 2011

What's new this week?

Catch up on last week's news here

Repository Updates

There are no updates this week. Steady as you go. Community Announcement

One of the exciting developments arising out of the recent conference was that a group of people got together to form an independent NetKernel user community. They are already getting organised and have a domain and an active forum...

I stress that I am just the messenger here - this is a completely independent community group, which formed spontaneously and unprompted. But I do know their charter is to be inclusive since Andrew Hallam posted this notice...

After the NKWest 2011 conference there was some discussion about starting a more formal user community around NetKernel. This post is an invitation to participate in that community and to provide your input into what this community could do for you.

The vision for this community is that it is for developers interested in building applications on the NetKernel platform. It could provide:

  • A repository of open source tools/modules for NetKernel.
  • Discussion forums covering NetKernel advocacy, NetKernel adoption, and application architecture and development using NetKernel.
  • Patterns and practices.

Ultimately, the community could build up a repository modules and applications, help ourselves and help others.

Declaration of Independence

It goes without saying that the formation of this group is a very proud and humbling moment.

But I also understand that I have to stay at arms length. Like a parent I sense that the time is right to step back: to provide the space to grow, encourage the will to explore and engender the opportunity to discover the undiscovered.

Don't get me wrong - I am as keen as ever to push on with ROC. I've devoted over ten-years to this project. I would like nothing more than to participate in vibrant community debate. But I am not going to interfere.

Firstly, I don't want there to be any insinuation of conflict of interest between myself playing a role in the community and also being the owner/founder of 1060 Research. Though, I hope, those of you who heard my (small) "Gettysburg Address" at the conference will acknowledge that even our commercial aspirations are honourable and well intended.

Secondly, Tony and I did not invent ROC. We discovered it. The analogy I use is that like Columbus we travelled West when everyone was going East. We slammed into a continent. For the longest time, my daily burden has been that software (unlike geography) is an abstract discipline - it felt like I was trying to excite people to come and explore the continent but progressively we only had the means to bring back to Europe (traditional software practice) small exhibits like the potato (active URIs), the tomato (request resolution) etc.

To stretch my metaphore to breaking point, at last it feels like this community is the establishment of the Virginia colonies. A validation that ROC truly does offer the rich and fertile soil that I've been trying so long to describe.

So, moral philosophers among you, I vouch to take up Kant's deological position - to do what is right (stepping back and not interfering) knowing that good things will come (irrespective). Of course, if I am asked and if it is useful I am always prepared to offer an opinion and will share what "wisdom" and experience I can - but, only if such counsel is sought. And, I will continue to do my best to share my perspective on NetKernel and ROC through these weekly articles, which hopefully will contribute to, and inform, the broader understanding.

Finally, you know I can't resist the big picture or the inspirational vision. So, when Kant proposed the Copernican Revolution he said,"Up to now it has been assumed that all our cognition must conform to the objects; but ...let us once try whether we do not get farther with the problems of metaphysics by assuming that the objects must conform to our cognition."

He was entreating the adoption of an abstract logical basis for philosophy, and used Coperinicus' abandonment of the "common-sense" of the "physically observed" Earth-centered universe, as an example of the precedence of a-priori cognition. (In ROC we say information resources exist a-priori to the software system).

As Copernicus no doubt was heard to say at dinner parties: what goes around comes around. So it seems fitting to steal and paraphrase this as a rallying cry...

Up to now it has been assumed that all our information must conform to the representations; but let us once try whether we do not get farther with the problems of software by assuming that the representations must conform to our information resources.


Just because there's an independent community forum doesn't mean we're not still actively supporting the existing forum. We're always ready to answer questions etc and we try to monitor it constantly and respond wih our best efforts. Incidentally, in coming weeks we plan to migrate it to the new nk4um application (which is the one used by the new community group).

Actually Chris Cormack deserves a really big credit for this. He's completely rewritten the old NK3 forum application for NK4 - with a modernized interface, wiki text, spam prevention systems and new admin tools too. Its a very nice job and I think its either available now through the github or will be available from a community apposite repository (or both?).

Tom Geuden's NetKernel Book Latest

Talking of community endeavours I just received this from Tom...

The 'Practical NetKernel Book', also known as 'Hello NetKernel' and 'NetKernel in Action' is - after a downtime of some months - in its 6th iteration. Basically this is an overhaul the previous iteration, based on some serious feedback from readers.

You'll notice (besides the completely different typesetting) that Chapters 1-4 have new and corrected content. The infamous Appendix E on Version Control has been removed but will return with a vengeance next week (in short, I'll stop being pedantic and just write a NetKernel application for Version Control). Also next week there will be a completely new Chapter 5.

You can download iteration 6 from

or if you want to follow along and have the latest 'build'

As always, your feedback and input is highly appreciated. You can send it to tom(dot)geudens(at)hush(dot)ai"

Thanks Tom!

That'll do for this week. Seems like its your turn to do the talking... I'm feeling "Kant"ankerous so I'm off to ignore a royal wedding.

Have a great weekend,


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