Unix as a Memex
7 Sep 2021
A memex is a machine conceived of in 1945 by Vannevar Bush whose purpose is to record all of the books, communications, and other documents of an individual, and making them available at a later time quickly and flexibly, such that it may serve to augment the individual’s memory. The idea was influential in the development of hypertext systems leading up to the internet, and personal information management software of today.
Our lives are complex, dynamic, and multi-faceted, with pertinent information being ever-increasingly available in digital forms. The Unix Philosophy provides a framework in which to construct a system especially adept at interacting with the current reality of many disparate “data-silos” effectively, through the development of specialized, composable tools for capturing, processing, and surfacing information as it is needed.
In keeping with Unix’s history of portability, our memex will be built upon the foundational components of free and open source desktop environment GNOME. This means that, thanks to its cross-platform libraries and toolkits, we can develop our tools to be usable on a wide array of operating system.