<+> Rel4tion semantic computing for people


Rel4tion is a new computing paradigm for people, and a software environment in early development which implements the paradigm.

"Computing" here refers to the way information is passed between us and the machines, how we give computers commands to execute and how the resulting output is presented to us. Rel4tion is concerned with how information is represented and used in computers.

The main idea is to enrich (and in some cases replace) the file/folder hierarchy interface and the structure-oriented file formats with something more flexible, expressive and powerful: a semantic model. Then, on top of the model, provide a new system for information sharing and integration between applications and servers.

See points of view for explanation on what Rel4tion will change in practice.


Have you ever wondered why the file system has a tree form? Can information really be limited into a tree structure or a table or a list? Very often it can't. Today, this problem is solved by using semantic tagging, in particular Resource Description Framework and Triplestores. They represent arbitrary information using a general purpose graph, not limited by any strict model. But the use of this technology on people's computers is minimal, and is quite a failure considering how powerful it can be. Companies use it a lot behind the scenes, enjoying the benefits but hardly giving users access to them.

Therefore, Rel4tion. A semantic desktop database can have amazing implications on usage of computers and on software development, raising the work with information from the structure level ("logic") to the meaning level ("conceptual"). Then the logic can focus on what it really should: The processes and computations that use the information. Rel4tion focuses on the user interface and not on internals: Even if the file system has a tree structure, it doesn't mean the user interface has to display a tree structure.


Rel4tion is free-as-in-freedom for everyone to use, run, walk, study, enjoy, hack, patch, modify, copy, derive and remix. All the software, all the knowledge, all the models, all the ideas - everything in made part of humanity's knowledge base for the benefit, happiness and joy of all people. No secrets, no patents, no restrictions. Use what you love and love what you use.

"Semantic" may sound very theoretic and academic, but in fact it's a simple concept anyone can learn. In many ways it's actually simpler than SQL. "Database" may sound heavy, bloated, server oriented. But have no fear! It's going to be a fast cute program you can load with as much info as you want, so that even weaker hardware can handle it.

Common semantic desktop systems either sacrifice flexibility and generality for lighter resource usage, or use heavy tools that are meant for servers, or come from academy and don't integrate well into the existing desktop environments. Rel4tion is making a tool specifically for desktops and home servers, which means it doesn't need to do any preparation for heavy loads of 1000 users and can be lighter and faster, without sacrifice of flexibility. However, it is not clear yet how much exactly is gained by that, because the software isn't ready and therefore measurements can't be done yet.


All the source code, including this wiki's source, is in Git and Darcs repositories, here and here respectively. For more info see access.

This website (and Rel4tion in general) uses an SSL certificate signed by Rel4tion's own CA. It means that a simple extra step is required in order to connect to this website with a secure connection. See here. A secure (HTTPS) connection is required if you want to log in and use the web interface.

Here is an introduction:

  • About - information about the project, how it works, why it exists
  • Use Cases - practical examples how Rel4tion will make a difference

The plans, designs, diagrams, brainstorming etc. are all made, stored and shared here in this wiki, and everything is open and transparent. You can even see the whole version history of pages and see how things develop and change. Everyone is welcome to join and participate. All comments, suggestions and ideas are welcome! It's all here:

  • Projects - the actual material and plans
  • Tools - utilities and useful information
  • Access - how to view and edit the server's content and use its services
  • Maint - all the info and pages for maintenance and participation
  • Talk - all the people things: contact, discussions, blogs, etc.


The author(s) have dedicated all copyright and related and neighboring rights to this wiki's content (except where noted otherwise) to the public domain worldwide. For more information, see freedom.

♡ Copying is an act of love. Please copy and share.

This website is powered by Trisquel GNU/Linux-libre, Lighttpd and ikiwiki. Also libreCMC, GNU MediaGoblin, Git, Gitolite, Darcs, Darcsweb, Prosody, Infinote, Transmission, vsftpd, SQLite, PosgreSQL, Exim, Dovecot, GnuTLS, Dia, Doxygen, Asciio, Inkscape, GIMP, Vim, Mousepad, GNU screen and many others.

This website is viewable with any browser, including terminal browsers (like lynx, links, elinks, w3m).