Strangely Consistent

Musings about programming, Perl 6, and programming Perl 6

snakeware (epoq diary 003)

I want to make a quick post and highlight a project that I found: snakeware. According to its project page, it's "a free Linux distro with a Python userspace inspired by the Commodore 64".

There's something about these joyous hobby projects that sits very well with me.

I belong to the generation of microcomputers, that wonderful moment in history when computers appeared in households everywhere, but there still wasn't a fixed notion of what exactly they were for. I grew up with that openness, that uncertainty. I mean, sure, we played games on them. A lot of games. But there was also plenty of programming, and a fair bit of random discovery, from DOS interrupts to MIDI to building out entire fantasy realms in Lotus 1-2-3.

And I think a common factor in all that is a certain kind of simplicity, a closed universe. From a time that we'll never have back, before everything was a YouTube tutorial and before everyone was connected and online all the time. I know I sound like a frickin' luddite for saying so, but — back then, we read books to learn things about the computers, and it seemed a perfectly normal thing to do.

Anyway, yes. Something in snakeware speaks to me. Just like pico-8. Just like Bel. The idea that if we just wish it so, we can be back in that closed universe, in that simplicity. Those traits are even the point, the driving design.

Says the project page:

The idea is that a Python OS would be fun to use and very easy to contribute to.

And that. While it's small and closed, it's also open and full of potential.

You look at it, and you go "I don't know what that is, exactly, but I can see that it could be anything".

I haven't tried it out as much as I would like; maybe this post is still a good first step. Who knows, I might even end up contributing. Stranger things have happened.