Croquet was built to answer a simple question. If we were to create a new operating system and user interface knowing what we know today, how far could we go. What kinds of decisions would we make that we might have been unable to even consider 20 or 30 years ago, when the current set of operating systems were first created.

The landscape of possibilities has evolved tremendously in the last few years. Without a doubt, we can consider Moore’s law and the Internet as the two primary forces that are colliding like tectonic plates to create an enormous mountain range of possibilities. Since every existing OS was created when the world around it was still quite flat, they were not designed to truly take advantage of the heights that we are now able to scale.

What is perhaps most remarkable about this particular question is that in answering it, we find that we are revisiting much of the work that was done in the early sixties and seventies that ultimately led to the current successful architectures. One could say that that in reality, this question was asked long ago, and the strength of the answer has successfully carried us for a quarter century. On the other hand, the current environments are really just the thin veneer over what even long ago were seriously outmoded approaches to development and design. Most of the really good fundamental ideas that people had were left on the cutting room floor.

Here’s a summary of what Croquet is trying to do. It’s pretty interesting.