urbit a complete redesign of programming.. is a personal cloud server

1986 – internet was safe, spam free, no one owned internet.. but it also lost.. just used as digital modem.. as p2p internet is dead.. can’t be fixed.. so need to replace internet.. need to build new on top of old..

old internet is 2 70s designs.. need single coherent system..

i quit job in 2002 to solve this problem.. finished first full prototype of urbit in 2013 – yarvis

3 min – instinct is to solve one at a time.. but have to solve all in one coherent system..

systemic ness

4 min – when solving problem wrong takes 2 hours.. and solving right way takes 2 years.. it’s going to get solve the wrong way..

deep enough

5 min – store and process data livestream

io dance ness, ie: hosting life bits

6 min – it will be a long time before everyone has an urbit..and we’ll never get there unless we make urbit useful to early adopters..

how about to 7 billion from day one.. as the day matters

ie: let’s do this firstfree art-ists.

7 min – we may not yet know what urbit will be the most useful for..future of urbit lives in imagination of developers who live on top

perhaps hosting life bits

9 min – still needs a lot of work.. esp documentation.. anarchy is not a viable option.. even bitcoin and ethereum have turned out to need governance..

perhaps a redefine of anarchy – ie: graeber’s.. act as if already free.. then you get 7 bill self talking – as data/documentation.. as the day

bitcoin and ethereum as our models..?  when both assume measuring of transactions.. et al..?  how is that giving us a chance..? back to – we have no idea what we’re capable of .. with these embedded/manufactured assumptions.. no?

we can’t control what urbit becomes.. that is up to you..

from their site:


Urbit is a virtual city of general-purpose personal servers.


Your urbit is your own general-purpose server. It holds your data; runs your apps; wrangles your connected devices; and defines your secure identity. If you still need your old services, it drives them with APIs.

Your urbit presents your whole digital life as a single web service. And since it’s yours, open source and patent-free, it never shows you ads. Or loses your data. Or updates without your consent.

Technically, Urbit is a new kind of OS that has a precise formal definition. (Urbit is actually a single mathematical function.) One advantage of a math-based OS is that Urbit is perfectly portable. It can’t tell whether it’s in a cloud data center or on your home PC.


Like Bitcoin, Urbit address space is a cryptographic asset with a limited supply.


The promise of the personal server isn’t just convenience. General-purpose computing is magic. This magic must be in the hands of all, not just those who can master Unix.

The computer is a bicycle for the mind. It’s an open vehicle for exploration and discovery. It’s not a way to optimize ad delivery.

Urbit, as virtual city, is a platform that brings together all our datastreams — from emails to heartbeats — in a way that we ourselves control.


While the *first step in freedom is the right to be left alone, the second is the power to form new intentional communities, to create and evolve a voluntary definition of public space.

We have **no idea at all what people will do with this power.

*2 needs.. deep/simple/open enough

**no idea of energy we are missing/wasting/oppressing.. because of science of people in schools et al..

A server is a computer. It’s running some operating system. This OS is a flavor of Unix. There are no alternatives. It’s connected to some network. This network is the Internet. It has no competitors. You can have a personal server, if it’s a Unix server on the Internet.


a virtual computer (which is much more reliable than any one physical computer).


ou also need to decide what data to keep. An iPhone has finite, free storage; the cloud has infinite, non-free storage. You still want a warning when your server gets fat. But at least it keeps working.


intro’d to urbit via John here:


6/29/16 5:54 AM
Inspired by Ludwig von Mises and John Perry Barlow, what’s not to like about Urbit’s challenge to Internet feudalism bit.ly/293DsKs

If the Founding Fathers were computer programmers designing a new digital republic, their Declaration of Independence might look a bit like the Urbit manifesto.

and one would hope… be a declaration of interdependence
notes reading through article:

But there is only one project that aims to just start this whole networking thing *completely from scratch. It’s an “operating function” calledUrbit, and it is by far the most fascinating and bizarre of these attempts to reboot computing.

not *completely from scratch.. perhaps the biggest problem of all.. deep enough ness
Arvo: Microsoft has Windows, Apple has Mac OS, and Urbit has Arvo. This is the “kernel” upon which the entire system runs. Arvo starts with a self-compiling command and a basic input/output system. It is quite small, written in roughly 600 lines of the native programming language, Hoon. For frame of reference, Windows 7 is written in about 40 million lines of code. Arvo is small because it is intended to “grow” with a user’s event history.
this thinking great.. – grows with us.. as long as those 600 lines (and whatever else) is deep/simple/open enough.. for all of us.. today..
Starstuff (you): And what are “you” in Urbit? You are a plot. A plot is a 128-bit number that serves as your identity and your address. There are many kinds of plots in Urbit, of different sizes and importance, yet all celestial. The hierarchy is as follows: There are the 8-bit “galaxies” of one syllable; two-syllabled, 16-bit “stars”; the 32-bit, 4-syllable “planets”; 64-bit and 8-syllable “moons”; and finally the 128-bit, 16-syllable “comets.” All of these plots map to services and functions that already exist in the current system.
totally out of whack – at least as i’m understanding it.. hierarchy ness in relation to others, ie: this hierarchy ok.. art ist ness – but we have means for stigmergy et al today… so why would we start measuring.. ordering.. et al.. if truly from scratch..

By now, this is probably all sounding pretty zany. The Tlon developers will proudly tell you that it is. But when you parse through the underlying values that guide the system, a rather libertarian ethos begins to emerge. Consider Tlon’s statement of principles:

We believe that general-purpose computing is an essential tool to unlock the power of individual creativity.

We believe that ownership, privacy and control don’t need to be sacrificed in exchange for usability, accessibility and reliability.

We believe in the power of the informed crowd to develop and maintain software, through the IETF principles of sincerity and rough consensus. The ability of the engineering community to govern itself through republican forms is not an abstract theory; it’s a proven fact.

sincerity and rough consensus….how about… a&a

We believe in both free speech and individual accountability. We believe that a healthy network is one with diverse and well-defined communities, and clear, user-controlled, boundaries between public and private space.

We believe that no software system can replace human trust and communication. Dialogue, judgment and governance are essential to communities of all scales. Code and law can reduce conflict in the common case; they can never handle all exceptions.

so let’s try something really diff… really from scratch.. back to us

As the Urbit white paper explains, “Bitcoin is a trust-free system; Urbit has a *central trust hierarchy“—the nested system of galaxies and heavenly bodies outlined above. However, the initial hierarchy baked into the Urbit platform—namely, the preliminary “crowdsale” of galaxies—may raise eyebrows among “scamcoin“-watchdogs in the cryptocurrency community.
oy… *central trust hierarchy

Urbit is unlike any other system that has been developed to date, and it can be complicated for even the most seasoned of functional programmers. It took a good amount of dedicated research and several conversations with more technical-minded friends for your intrepid columnist to grok the basics of the Urbit system and how they all work together. Even now, my starship navigates the Urbitverse only tentatively.

But *steep learning curves are the norm with any revolutionary new technology: When I was first introduced to Bitcoin, for example, the community was largely comprised of a tiny group of computer-wizard sysdamins well-versed in the fundamentals of cryptography and distributed computing. Today, my decidedly non-technical **parents can buy and sell bitcoins with ease.

perhaps why we haven’t yet gotten to equity: thinking/assuming *steep learning curves norm w any revolutionary new tech

let’s try something diff… mech simple enough

because it’s all of us deep learning/living everyday… all day

**parents w ease..
but ease to tap into set system… not to create it new everyday
ie:bitcoin… have to assume measuring transactions… validating people… so can’t question the very things that are messing us upos begs to be 7 bill plus.. whimsical hearts/minds/souls.
every day a new
as the day

In many ways, initial complexity can be a feature. Techies can probe away at vulnerabilities and oversights for years in relative obscurity, improving technologies so that new orders of laypeople can eventually participate. User interfaces become sleeker, venture capital starts pouring in, the news media takes notice, and eventually the technology becomes mainstreamed.

true both sides…
initial complexity.. can set fixed game…. perhaps this is all we’ve ever experienced
or complexity can be left to unbiased tech.. ie: match words..ideas… location…to match people
but people remix.. create .. path.. everyday
not from spinach/ rock… from clean open slate

equity: everyone getting a go everyday

But in the wild event that Urbit, or something like it, does take off, the scale of disruption in computing could echo that of the great transition from feudal serfdom to a bourgeois capitalistic society. In the meantime, many people might find it thrilling to moonlight as the king of their own computing galaxy. At the very least, the Urbit project’s ambitious goals and libertarian vision are both admirable and charming. After all, it’s precisely those values that preternaturally propel human progress.

perhaps.. ie: hosting life bits..

io dance/hosting life bits (blockchain/stack ness: replace server farms – chip energy efficient –dna\ness)
ps in the open (idiosyncratic jargon)
decision making/B redefined via self-talk as data
rna ness – entropy ness
on leap frogging – for (blank)’s sake
gupta roadblock law



His opinions have been the subject of controversies. In 2015, his invitation to speak about Urbit at the Strange Loop programming conference was rescinded following complaints made by other attendees. In 2016, his invitation to the LambdaConf functional programming conference resulted in the withdrawal of five speakers, two subconferences and several sponsors.

His opinions have been described by Tess Townsend as “blatantly racist”, with his writings interpreted as supportive of slavery and including “the belief that white people are genetically endowed with higher IQs than black people.” Yarvin himself maintains that he is not a racist because, while racial groups are not equal in aggregate intelligence, the notion “that people who score higher on IQ tests are in some sense superior human beings” is “creepy.”

He originally called his political philosophy of insisting on the alignment of property rights with political power formalism, from the concept of legal formalism. The label “neo-reactionary” was applied to Yarvin’s philosophy by Arnold Kling in 2010 and adopted by Yarvin’s followers; Yarvin accepts the label but self-labels as “restorationist”


looking up on his anti egalitarianism..


The American economist John Roemer has put forth a new perspective of equality and its relationship to socialism. Roemer attempts to reformulate Marxist analysis to accommodate normative principles of distributive justice, shifting the argument for socialism away from purely technical and materialist reasons to one of distributive justice. Roemer argues that, according to the principle of distributive justice, the traditional definition of socialism based on the principle that individual compensation be proportional to the value of the labour one expends in production is inadequate. Roemer concludes that egalitarians must reject socialism as it is classically defined in order for equality to be realized.

roemer on inadequacy of measuring/balancing labour and disrtibution

not sure of all verbiage here.. just believing have need ness (what tech can facilitate today..no? what the from scratch ness should be.. no?) .. because measuring will never work.. because we never see all the things (never nothing going on et al) ..and.. because then we spent our days measuring .. and treating people as things..


from galen on their site: what is urbit for

Galen Wolfe-Pauly

Open platforms don’t beat closed systems just because they’re open. They win because you can do more exciting things with them. We believe we’re overdue for new infrastructure not purely on principle: but because we think you can build better products on top.

The first thing your Urbit can do is act as a transparent layer to your existing services. We’d like urbit to be usable as a self-hosted IFTTT for geeks. Your urbit can hold your keys, store data, run programs and seamlessly connect to your existing services. Plus, with a global revision controlled filesystem it’s easy to share API connectors and keep them up to date.

With an Urbit running on your machine you can ls your Gmail from Unix. Write a short script to poll Twitter on a keyword and deliver the results to your email or into a Slack channel. Send an SMS when an HTTP request doesn’t resolve. These are just a few examples. Your Urbit is designed to make data trapped in your existing services feel like an extension of your local programming environment.
The combination of great API tools and great publishing tools means we can finally build an integrated interface for today’s social networks. The web is full of streams of data. For the user there’s not much utility in bouncing from service to service. Instead, it’d be great to have general-purpose tools for consuming and publishing data. Imagine a Medium-quality interface that makes no distinction between Facebook and Twitter; SMS and Skype.

Secret storage, web3

Bitcoin and Ethereum are both part of a new era of decentralized infrastructure that’s just beginning. For the blockchain to realize its potential individuals need ought to have a way to host their own nodes. At the very least, individuals need a reliable place to keep their secrets. What’s more, the blockchain isn’t designed for computation. It’s great for contracts and currency, but too slow for practical computing.

Urbit is a great compliment to the blockchain. Your Urbit can safely store your keys, providing an always-available keychain on the network. Even better, your Urbit can hold your blockchain assets and provide an off-chain computation layer. Urbit’s computation doesn’t provide any kind of distributed consensus, but our computation model is very simple and lends itself well to auditing. This makes it a very blockchain-friendly platform


from their blog – on doa and decentralization


TLDR: true decentralization isn’t just a technical problem. It’s also a political problem, and not an easy one. Believing you’ve solved it, before actually solving it, is not a way to solve it.


Schmitt’s exception principle can be rephrased as “sovereignty is conserved.” There is always someone who answers to nobody. We cannot eliminate government; the best we can do is tame it.


Vitalik seems to have grasped more or less Schmitt’s point: “Intent is fundamentally complex… we believe that we value things like ‘fairness’, but it’s hard to define what fairness even means.”

If we could define fairness, we would have a rule to which there were no exceptions. We would need no judges, or governments, or even soldiers. We would need no sovereignty. But since we can’t define fairness — yet need to enforce some clear vision of fairness — sovereignty remains conserved.

how about fairness = > everyone getting a go everyday..


the great mistake here was that Ethereum didn’t know it needed a government, and did its best to pretend it didn’t have one. After a rollback, Ethereum doesn’t just have a government. It has a military dictatorship.

Ethereum and Bitcoin are qualitatively different. Bitcoin has a simple UI metaphor: cash. Everyone knows how cash works. A smart contract has its own UI metaphor: law. But as we see, mechanically administered law, law without judges, is a very different thing from ordinary human law.


What the DAO shows is that Ethereum just wasn’t ready to be decentralized. It was not ready to allow a $150 million contract with no supervision or appeals process.

or didn’t realize that perhaps..money (measuring of transactions) and decentralization cancel each other out


But after the DAO hack, how does anyone trust any contract? Arguably, Ethereum is ready to be decentralized only when users are able to make this decision rationally, and get it right. This work simply hasn’t been done.

perhaps better yet.. we disengage from contracts.. no?

dao ness


The “just this once” fork takes us back to decentralization theater, where Ethereum pretends not to have a government. But now, this pretense is even more threadbare. The next hack, which will certainly happen, will produce yet another coup — or at least a food fight over whether to have a coup. This is the path to a “digital banana republic,” where the tattered illusion of law barely conceals the real law of nature


Technically, Urbit needs governance much more than Ethereum. Decentralization remains our goal — but it’s a long-term goal. Decentralization theater has never even been a temptation. It’s just technically impossible.


find/follow urbit:

link twitter

An operating function