Introductory Notes

The modular nature of Unix and similar operating systems provides great adaptability, but there is a corresponding cost in complexity. By integrating system metadata and documentation, this complexity can be tamed.

The Meta Project is a proposal for integrating System Metadata with System Documentation, as a way to deal with the complexity of Eclectic Systems.

The following links provide an orderly introduction:


  • What's Under The Hood explores the rationale for Meta, using other complex systems (cars and airplanes) as examples.

  • What's The Problem explains why the complexity and variability of Eclectic Systems can lead to maintenance and other problems.


  • Existing Work looks at some existing systems that already perform Meta-like functions.

  • Intriguing Ideas looks at some Meta-like functions, found in developmental, historic, and proposed systems.

Design Documents

  • Design Goals sketches out some abstract design goals for an integrated metadata and documentation system.

  • Linkage Types discusses the kinds of linkage information that Meta should be able to handle.

  • Why XML explains why Meta is based on Extensible Markup Language.

  • Data Sets is a start at defining Meta's data sets.

  • Data Flow is an overview of Meta's data flow.

  • Possible Questions is a start at a list of questions which Meta should be able to answer.

  • Supported Software describes some of the possible software which the Meta system could support.

Project Status

  • The Meta Demo is a "proof of concept" implementation of a (small!) subset of the project's goals.

  • Ways To Help offers some ideas on ways that individuals and organizations can help to make Meta a reality.

-- Main.RichMorin - 16 Jun 2003

This topic: Projects/Meta > Introductory_Notes
Topic revision: 14 Mar 2006, RichMorin
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