Frontier as Open Source

The beginning of a new era?

OK, "new era" may be a bit over the top, but Frontier contains an incredible combination of features, thanks in part to a vibrant community of active contributors for over a decade. UserLand will carry on with their "website and weblog publishing tools". Will a new community form around Frontier's general-purpose scripting environment? (It's starting.) Will the old fogey's come back? (Some have!) Will a new generation discover the power of an integrated, customizable development and runtime environment with persistent storage and ubiquitous outlining? Kudos to Dave Winer and UserLand for the decision.


mailing list - for software developers who write code for and support the Frontier kernel

at SourceForge - includes CVS repository


Introducing Frontier 10.0a1 (September 28, 2004):

Dave Winer's announcement (May 17, 2004) and FAQ (discuss)
"At some point in the next few months, there will be an open source release of the Frontier kernel. Not sure what license it'll use. There won't be any grand expectations of what kind of community will develop. Even if no bugs get fixed, if no features get added, if no new OSes are supported, it will be worth it, because its future will be assured."

UserLand's related announcement


Some reactions and wish lists

Brent Simmons - Frontier Dreams (discuss)
Brent Simmons - Frontier and Forking [and fogeys] (discuss)
Daniel Berlinger
Emmanuel M Décarie - calling Mark Alldritt
Jeremy Bowers
Jim Roepke - musings (discuss)
Mason Hale (who wrote this many years ago)
Paolo Valdemarin
Phillip Pearson - thoughts (discuss)
Philippe Martin
Scott Lawton - wish list
Seth Dillingham - what now? (discuss)

More via Technorati.

Places to watch

Script Meridian - A community of Frontier and Radio Users

Commercial products built around Frontier

Conversant - Internet groupware development platform
K-collector - enterprise news aggregator for knowledge management

Bits of history

History of Frontier - by Dave Winer
Outliners and Programming - by Dave Winer
MORE: As Revolutionary as Lotus 1-2-3 - by Scott Lawton (in 1987)

Who's Who

Frontier Credits Page - 1.0 (Jan. 1992?) through 9.0 (Sept. 2002)

Also of interest - Archives from the golden age of outliners
IronLute - a Python outliner (in stasis)

A remarkably detailed and informative series of articles about outliners:

About This Particular Outliner
by Ted Goranson,
published by About This Particular Macintosh

Outliner History - Sept. 2003
Outliner Features - Part 1 - Oct. 2003
Outliner Features - Part 2 - Nov. 2003
Outliner Use Patterns - Dec. 2003
Outliner User Interfaces - Feb. 2004
Legacy Outliners - March 2004
Announcing the FORE/1 Outliner - April 1; beware
NoteTaker and NoteBook - May 2004
Three Topics on the Future of Outlining - Jul 2004
Mindmapping Outliners - Aug 2004
Deep Tinderbox - Oct 2004
Task Management and Outlining - Dec 2004
The ATPO Tracker - January 2005
Task Management and Outlining, Part 2 - February 2005
Outlining Task Managers, Part 3 - March 2005
Outline Exchange and XML, Part 1: History - April 2005
Outlining and Styles - June 2005

(Here's the home page for the series.)

posted June 4, 2004 by Scott S. Lawton (updated January 3, 2005 & June 9, 2005), Product Architect (consulting), co-founder of PreFab Software.