January 16, 2018

RED Token Sale Success!

Dear RED supporters,

We did it!

I’d like to thank you, and the entire Red community, for supporting us throughout this token sale process. We know that you've waited patiently for new features and releases while we worked on it. We’re thrilled that so many of you are excited about using Red, the upcoming tools we'll build together, and using RED tokens in the community. Blockchain based "tokenomics" is a new and exciting world of possibilities that we can help create, together.

In the past month, since RED’s debut, there has been overwhelming interest in our token sale. We deeply appreciate that support, from all parts of the world.

We can now confidently embark on the next steps in Red's development, thanks to each and every one of you. The establishment of the Red Foundation and the development of Red/C3 are top priorities, but this doesn't mean all the other work stops. The success of the RED token sale means we can redouble our efforts, moving forward in greater strides, knowing we're on solid ground. Your support means more opportunities for the Red community to contribute and be properly acknowledged. Yes, we have a lot of work and planning to do, but we have a strong, clear vision and deep desire to see it through. The wheels are already in motion and I look forward to letting you know each time we complete a major milestone.

We are so grateful, more than we can say, to have such a supportive (and growing) community around us. On behalf of the entire RED team, I want to share our appreciation for you all, and I personally want to thank each of you for loving and believing in Red.

To Red's future, our future!

January 13, 2018

Registration Special Offer

Dear Red users and followers,

Thank you all for your genuine interest in Red, we greatly appreciate it.

We have received overwhelming requests and a very high number of documents for the registration.

It is the contributions from each and every one of you that makes Red great, and we thank you very much for your strong support. During that time, I was giving a speech at the FINWISE 2018 conference in Macau, as part of our road show for introducing Red to the blockchain community.

We set up strict rules for the acceptation process in order to secure it as best as possible. So we want to take the time to carefully review each provided document.

This is what we propose for those of you who submitted valid KYC verification information before UTC 7:30am, January 12th 2018, and could not participate to early bird round:

    1. We will send you a confirmation email informing you about your successful registration.

    2. You will then be whitelisted (all at once) and be able to buy the remaining RED tokens from the early birds supply, and at the upcoming open round.

   3. For those of you who could not participate to early bird round, but submitted the valid KYC before UTC 7:30am, January 12th 2018, and who will be buying during the open round, we will refund you 10% of the ETH amount you sent (you will be keeping all the RED tokens you will get), effectively giving you the same conversion ratio as during the early birds round.

We hope this is a satisfying solution and will make things right for those who could not participate yesterday.

The open round starts on UTC 8am January 16th. Get ready! ;-)

January 9, 2018

RED: here we go!

After long weeks of hard work, we are finally ready and happy to announce the opening of the token sales! We had to rename the token to RED (all caps), as an RCT token was deployed by another project a few days ago. Its purpose is still unchanged: powering the decentralized apps and Red community tokenomics!

This process will be held starting from January 8th to January 31st 2018, in three stages:
  Private Angel Investors       : Jan  8th - Jan 11th
  Early Bird round              : Jan 12th - Jan 15th
  Open round                    : Jan 16th - Jan 31th
The total fixed supply of RED tokens is 200,000,000. The allocations are:
  Private investors             : 10% (20,000,000) with a 3 months lockup period.
  ICO (earlybird + open rounds) : 30% (60,000,000)
  Red team                      : 15% (30,000,000) with a 12 months lockup period.
  Red Foundation                : 35% (70,000,000)
  Marketing/Strategic           : 10% (20,000,000)
Exchange ratios with Ethers (ETH) are set as:
  Private Investors             : 1 ETH => 3400 RED
  Early Birds                   : 1 ETH => 2750 RED
  Open round                    : 1 ETH => 2500 RED
Only Ethers are accepted, with a minimum of 1 ETH. Private angel investors also benefit from a 20% unlocking at the closing date of the token sales process.

In order to participate, you will need to go through an online registration process (KYC), and provide the required credentials. Citizens of countries that have banned or posed heavy regulations on such token sales are not allowed to participate.

For more information about the token sales:

This is the culminating point of many months of hard work and preparation. Many thanks to the teams and partners who have worked over the clock to make this happen. This is the dawn of new era for Red and its community of contributors, users and followers. Help us make it happen now!


January 3, 2018

Overview of Red development history

This video shows a fast-paced timelapse of the Red source code changes in the main repository over last 6 years, 9000 commits. You can see the avatars of all contributors, flashing commits on the files over time.

Here are a few stats showing the changes between Jan 1st 2017 and Dec 31th 2017:
  • Github stars: 1214 to 2970
  • Github programming languages ranking: #34 to #22
  • Page views on red-lang.org: 1.06M to 1.65M
As you can see, 2017 has been a great year, with interest in Red growing for some stats, faster than in all the previous years put together!

Short history of Red

Given that many newcomers arrived in Red community in the last two years, some might be confused about past Red history and timeline, so I would like to write it down now, and add some comments in retrospect on some of the choices made in the past.

The Red project was officially launched in March 2011, with the first public announcement and the release of the version 0.1.0, which was developed in 3 months. That early version provided a fully working Red/System toolchain, with a compiler and linker, all in 60KB of source code. That was just for Red/System, the low-level DSL of Red.

The Red language had different goals at that time, it was meant to be a statically typed sub-set of Rebol, with static scopes and no dynamic binding. That Red would have been only compiled, so no interpreter, and would eventually had a REPL after 1.0, once a JIT was available. Given my old work on an experimental Rebol clone in C a few years ago (implemented in 9 months), I estimated that a 1.0 for such Red could be doable in a year. Such a version would only support Windows and x86 architecture, would have most, but not all of Rebol datatypes, no DSL, no GUI nor floating point support.

During 2011, a community of users and followers started forming around this early Red version, the daily interactions with the community had some influence on the goals I had initially set for Red, and at some point during that year, I realized that what I really wanted was a more dynamic language, closer to Rebol, rather than a crippled static version. I decided then to trace a new longer road to a different design for Red, more in line with my personal desires and community expectations.

The scope extended as we kept adding new features (sometimes initiated by contributors), like ARM support, floating point support and Parse dialect. We then replaced the early low-level lexer with a much more capable version using Parse. The community was pressuring for a more "production-ready" version, which meant adding more features, like extra datatypes, postponing the 1.0 milestone further away up to 2014.

I have been working full-time on the project since 2011, and invested all my personal money to fund it, helped by individual donations from community members. Frankly, without those extra donations, I wouldn't have made it. In late 2013, I was contacted by a China-based VC (Innovation Works) who was interested by Red project. They offered me the chance to join them in Beijing. I initially politely refused, as I thought that doing so would consume too much time and accepting investments never has a guaranteed outcome. But thinking more about it, I also considered that raising a seed round would allow some talents in the community to work full time on Red, speeding it up. So, I accepted the offer and relocated to Beijing in 2014, settling for a new life there.

Red in its command-line form was not good enough to attract any investor, nor make any good business plan. So I made a major decision to incorporate the GUI module in the roadmap as soon as possible. The original plan was to only add it after Red had reached version 1.0. I also thought that Android support would be a key element for Red's future, so I also move it forward too. It took me about 7 months to raise a seed round, and 4 more months to effectively get the money into the bank account of the newly formed company in mid-2015. Work on Red during that time went more slowly. It never stopped though as we could hire our first developers (using a loan) and the number of contributors from the community was increasing.

A new roadmap was set and a 1.0 was planned for 2016 focusing on Android GUI support. Though, the early prototype on Android showed that developing a cross-platform GUI engine starting with Android (as we wanted it asap) along with the VID DSL was not a good way to achieve it, as the development cycle with Android was too long, and debugging at low-level there was very limited and painful. It was way more convenient to do it on a desktop OS like Windows, which was also the platform of roughly half of our users. So we switched the GUI development to Windows first, as it would be much faster to design and polish the cross-platform parts there, then make an Android back-end for it after.

The GUI engine with the VID dialect and back-end for Windows was released in early 2016. We initially planned only a minimal support and just a few (5-6) widgets for the Windows back-end, but the community wanted more (and still does). At the same time, we were also working in parallel on a Red IDE engine based on Scintilla. We needed more widget support, so we spent extra months doubling the initial number of widgets and polishing the features of VID, Draw dialect and View engine. The Scintilla IDE prototype was not as promising as we expected, some limitations with Scintilla were disappointing to say the least. They included awkward Unicode support and UI limitations. A Red GUI based IDE was a better option, allowing us to support any feature we could think of. We ran out of resources for such a side-project, so we put it to sleep until we can fund it (hint hint, the ICO would help there a lot too!).

After the initial GUI release, before we went back to Android support, we had to do some promotion about Red and our new shiny GUI system, in order to increase our userbase  (growth is a constant concern for VC-backed startups). Though, the competition was rough, as the new state of the art (on the web) was reactive frameworks which were providing a more powerful and simpler way to operate GUIs. Such reactive GUI was also something I had on my wish-list since 2010 for Red, and it seemed like the right time to add it, so that's what we did and released it in mid-2016. That enabled the production of some pretty impressive demos I think, for a cross-platform native GUI system.

We went back to Android development after that, starting by adding a preprocessor to Red lexer, in order to move a lot of costly work done at runtime to resolve Java method signatures, to compile-time. This work consumed around a couple of months, especially as we also took that opportunity to add an experimental macro system. The preprocessor is currently used by the Red runtime to reduce code size, though, we late figured out a better way to handle the Java method signatures  without relying on the preprocessor. So, we could have saved some time there, even if it's always easier to come to such conclusion when looking back in time.

As we continued on Android support, we stumbled upon new unexpected issues. All the features added in the last releases significantly increased the runtime size, resulting in very long compilation times. Moreover, the GUI system and newest object features broke the ability for the Red compiler to produce functioning shared library files for Red programs (Red/System shared libraries were fine, it was a limitation of the Red runtime library and compiler). We then decided to launch the "libRed" branch, in order to solve all those issues by enabling the compilation of the Red runtime as a shared library in two different forms: one is libRedRT, used only for speeding up the compilation process, the other is libRed, which provides an external API for embedding Red into external software (which was on our todo-list anyway and in the Red initial goals). That work took more time than expected, roughly 7 months, as I had to travel across the globe many times (for personal reasons) going offline for a total of 2 months during that period, which made it harder to properly focus on some of the complex issues that needed solving. That is where we lost the most time in the last couple of years, although the macOS GUI branch was still advancing at the same time in parallel.

After macOS release earlier this year, we could finally continue the work on Android, and guess what, we could develop a GUI backend on par with Windows one in about a month and half only! All the preparation work done before was paying off in the end! Still, that is not enough for acceptable Android support, as mobile devices have many features which need first-class support, and we are working on them for 0.6.5 release (delayed by the ICO preparations and process). We will provide more info about Android support very soon.

Another important consequence of adding GUI support for macOS, was the need to have a GUI console there too (identical to the Windows one), as we have great plans for the GUI console itself. As a side-project, we started working on a new GUI console engine in early 2017, replacing the low-level OS-specific Red/System bindings with the Red/View engine, enabling cross-platform support out of the box, and adding some key features we needed on the Red roadmap, like rich-text support. Those features are available in our 0.6.4 branch, and will be part of the next release shortly after the ICO (though probably after Chinese New Year in february).

One thing I have greatly underestimated during all those years (especially at the beginning), was the amount of time that would be spent interacting with the community, as I tried to be as present as possible online to answer questions, welcome newcomers and help them get started. My public posts are just the tip of the iceberg, as many people just contacted me on direct channels (email, private messages on AltME, Gitter, skype, ...), and that consumed a lot of time too. But, I think it was a necessity anyway, just unaccounted for. Nowadays it is much easier for me, as we have community managers and many other members who are doing a great job handling newcomers, wave after wave. Another thing I didn't consider at the beginning was also how much impact and influence the community would have on the features that we would put into Red (especially pre-1.0). As old-timers from Rebol community were used to have a great amount of feature available out of the box, they expected Red to be on par with that, often without much concern about the costs involved in supporting the desired features. I think I should have said "no" more often than I did, or just postponing them after 1.0.

All in all, despite the bumpy road sometimes, the current version of Red is better in many ways than what I hoped for in 2011. We still have the option to rename the 0.7.0 or 0.7.1 upcoming milestones to a 1.0 candidate, as they would have all the features we initially planned for a 1.0, though there are pros and cons about pushing the other planned features post-1.0, but I understand that Red users nowadays are more interested in reaching a 1.0, than having a more feature-complete one. We can discuss about that on our Gitter channels.

This is a (very) short version of the Red history, there is so much more to say about it, maybe someday when I will have some spare time, I'll write down the whole thing in a book, including my views on language design, and all the non-tech related side stories. ;-)


January 1, 2018

Answers to community questions

After our announcement, we already answered on Gitter some questions related to this new sub-project of Red that we are launching. The remaining new questions are answered below.

ICO-related questions

Do you have an estimate how long establishing that foundation will take, couple weeks?

We expect it to be officially set up before the end of January (if not delayed by extra paperwork). We are setting it up in Paris, France.

Why choose ICO instead of traditional funding schemes (Patreon, donations, etc)?

That's a good question. In 2015, we already raised a seed round for the company supporting the development of Red (Fullstack Technologies), though that is far from enough in order to move faster, as the scope of the project keeps growing. Individual donations were enough 5 years ago, when the project was in its infancy, but that level of funding is not capable of sustaining the project in its current form since a long time.

What is plan B if the ICO is not successful?

In such case, Red/C3 will drop low in priority as we won't be able to fund the work on it, and the Red foundation will have no mean to operate and help Red project and community. We would then focus on our core roadmap and unroll our business plan for the Red core technology only. The ICO is a better path, not just for funding the whole Red project further, but because the blockchain market is a big new opportunity for the Red stack, and we should seize it in order to grow up faster and much bigger. Moreover, introducing a token-based economy in the Red platform would open many new business opportunities, both for our company, and for the Red users.

All other ICO-related questions will be answered once we set up the landing page for the ICO, with the published whitepaper and adequate communication channels. All that is under heavy work right now, we should be ready in about a week from now.


Any plans to run a private NEO blockchain?

That is something we are considering, yes. Though we have many other possible choices. We should meet with the NEO council in 2018, so we will be able to investigate that option deeper with them.

Are there plans for Red to support IPFS?

Clearly yes. That can happen just after 0.7.0 release with full I/O support, though this could be contributed by the community (with sponsoring from the Red foundation), it doesn't need to be implemented by the core team.


How is Red sustained, who currently supports it?

Red is sustained by its supporting company, Fullstack Technologies, who received a seed investment in 2015, and by contributors on a daily basis. Previously, Red was funded by my personal money and donations from users.

Is stuff like concurrency also required to reach 1.0, and be used on blockchains? 

We plan to have a form of async tasks support for 1.0. There are several models we could use, Actor is our prefered model so far, but the final choice is not done yet. For parallelism, that will be for a 1.x.

Is interop with other mainstream libraries/languages (java, python, c#, go,...) planned?

LibRed can be used for that. We have a few bindings already. For Java, we have built a bridge a few years ago. That bridge has been improved in our new Android branch (currently private). For Python, Go and other languages, it's up to the community to plug libRed there, if needed.

You said that the current Red roadmap will be delayed by a few weeks. You don't think it will be much more with all activities created by this big move?

We plan to resume on our normal roadmap as soon as the ICO is done, so by finishing and releasing Red 0.6.4. The new branch of development will have its own roadmap and dedicated resources (hopefully paid by the money raised through the ICO). My personal time will be split between the core parts (including Android) and the blockchain branch.

Giving recent announcement, it seems that Red drifts further and further from initial idea of Carl. Building blockchain tech without proper GC, or 64 bit support and just basic I/O. And it's worrisome that "full-stack language" and its community may lock itself in one niche. Can you comment on that?

On the contrary, Red goes closer to the original idea of Carl, of a "messaging" language and distributed computing through IOS reblets (the X-internet), as explained by our announcement article. The blockchain technology helps improve such architecture, by allowing it to operate in a decentralized way. For the rest, the GC branch is almost finished and should be available in 0.6.4 release. 64-bit support is not a top priority right now, as 32-bit apps can run on all our current target platforms, so it is more of a convenience for some users. We know that some OS vendors are planning to restrict their platform, so we will set up a path to go 64-bit, though it will take some time to get there. For the record, "blockchain tech" and GC/64-bit are totally unrelated features and are not even on the same roadmap.

About "locking itself in one niche", that makes no sense, the announcement article says "in a new branch of the Red project". So the project is expanding to cover more domains, and not restricting itself in a niche.

Following both planned Red roadmap and doing Red/C3 in one project... isn't it too ambitious?

As explained in previous answers, Red/C3 is a sub-project of Red, with dedicated resources. There is a great opportunity for Red in the blockchains right now, targeting smart contracts and Dapps. Red is a great fit for the needs in that market. That is a great opportunity to expand Red userbase and spread Red around.

That is all for now, if you have more questions, please ask them in red/red or red/blockhain rooms.

Happy New Year to all the Reducers in the World! 2018 will be an exciting year for all of us! ;-)

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