Title: Greg Lloyd - About Me

I'm Greg Lloyd, President and co-founder of Traction Software Inc You can reach me by email at grl@tractionsoftware.com On Twitter please follow me as roundtrip. As of 2023, I make most of my social media posts on Mastodon as @Roundtrip@federate.social. I use a secure RSS feed from this TeamPage server interleaved with about four hundred external RSS feeds to work with the rest of the Traction Software team, customers and partners around the world. I'll still respond to email - but I'm delighted to be living the post-email life for most of my work and to keep in touch with distant friends. I'm a co-author of US Patent 7,593,954 for Traction Software's core hypertext technology along with Chris Nuzum, Andy Keller, Roger Fujii, and Jun Simmons.


Brown University, 1974 Sc.M in Applied Math and Computer Science, working with Andy van Dam's group on experimental compiler design, with a masters thesis on optimizing microcode generation for a high level language targeting a horizontally encoded control store of a digital signal processor.

Brown University, 1970 Sc.B in Physics and Computer Science, to the best of my knowledge the first independent concentration Sc.B granted by Brown. I completed the core Physics requirements but took most of my electives in Computer Science starting with Andy van Dam's then (in)famously intensive Applied Math 101, 102, 103, 104 Introduction to Computer Science - a two semester, quadruple credit sequence with a workload closer to a medical residency than a university course. That lead me to a sequence of graduate level Computer Graphics, Programming Language, and theoretical CS courses that left little time for Physics. My earliest exposure to hypertext was as one of the first users of the 1968 Hypertext Editing System developed by Andy van Dam, his Swathmore classmate Ted Nelson, and a crew of Brown students.


After getting hooked on hypertext I was drafted into the US Army in June 1971 and by sheer luck ended up shuffling magnetic tapes and running batch analysis jobs in a US Army data center rather than becoming an RTO headed for Vietnam. Through another lucky chance I spend the last 15 months of my Army career as an enlisted engineering aide to Dick Merwin, the chief computer scientist of the Safeguard missile defense system - a great person, great engineer, and a great volunteer leader and contributor to the success of the IEEE Computer Society.

I met YS Wu and company of the US Naval Research Lab and joined NRL as a computer software and systems engineer after getting my ScM at Brown. At NRL I worked on design, development and support of digital signal processing systems and DOD / NASA consulting tasks and progressed to become an NRL project manager.

After NRL I helped design and develop simulation and training systems at Ship Analytics, then joined the founding team of Context Corporation (a Mentor Graphics subsidiary) in 1985. About a third of the early Context team were from Brown CS, including Mentor Graphics co-founder Charlie Sorgie, who at one point led the FRESS hypertext group. At Context I helped develop a workstation based document editing and publication system called DOC. The Context DOC system carried forward many concepts from FRESS and added a novel form of change control which captured named sets of edits as independent objects - and allowed any named change to be shown, highlighted, hidden, or reopened to revise and extend that named change. Think of each named change as an independent Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) expressed as a set of insertions and deletions anywhere in a large document such as an Aircraft Maintenance Manual. The DOC Change Control system allowed you to see or edit a document by picking any named change to encapsulate and visualize your edits over any set of named changes that you chose to show or hide.

I left Mentor Graphics / Context to join the early team of Electronic Book Technology (EBT) in Providence RI to build industrial strength SGML based hypertext systems used for electronic maintenance and repair manuals, scholarly collections of documents (e.g. a corpus of English language poetry), and computer system and software documentation for vendors including Novell, Silicon Graphics, and Sun Microsystems.

Why Traction Software?

When INSO corporation acquired EBT in 1996, Chris Nuzum - then a software engineering team leader at EBT - and I decided to found Traction Software. In fact "Traction" was at first the working code name for proposed hypertext product that would bring many of the unique benefits of an early generation of hypertext systems to pleasant and stable islands of editable content natively embedded in the Web.

Architectural features include bi-directional and reliable links, paragraph level addresses and tags that are stable across editing all embedded in a platform that would enable people to use standard Web protocols. Traction would allow people to collect, edit, link and deliver content to the Web without losing the benefits of a simple and stable environment for secure and scalable working communication, while presenting a fully Web compliant interface to the rest of the world.

But more that these technical features, the model for Traction was the inspired by the work of Douglas Engelbart — who was on Context's Technical Advisory Board along with Andy van Dam. I'd claim that Engelbart envisioned and implemented an integrated hypertext model for wiki-like collaborative editing, combined with blog like journaling of conversational content starting from first principles in 1964. For more on what I think this means, please see:

Original Traction Product Proposal - dated Oct 1997
The Evolution of Personal Knowledge Management - grl blog Apr 6, 2006
Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart - grl blog Apr 9, 2006
Learn by Watching - then Do - grl blog Aug 4, 2007
Enterprise 2.0 - Letting Hypertext out of its box - grl blog Apr 24, 2007
Reinventing the Web - grl blog Jan 12, 2009
Enterprise 2.0 Schism - grl blog Nov 9, 2009

and of course

As We May Think - Vannevar Bush, Atlantic Monthly Jul, 1945

Chris and I wanted to build a modern day Memex that worked like the Web. And that's what I'd call the TeamPage software you're using right now.

Article: grl0 (permalink)
Categories: :Doc:grl
Date: September 9, 1998; 2:46:00 PM EDT

Author Name: Greg Lloyd
Author ID: grl