GOV

From MicroWiki, the micronational encyclopædia
Jump to: navigation, search

GOV was an attempt to create a legislative programming language. This was one of Swena's early ideas for how to improve the quality of legislation through the application of software engineering principles. An example of the language was unveiled in 2011; most of a new constitution for the Kingdom of Theodia was written in GOV in 2012; and a bash redo of the language was unveiled in 2013. Pandora Paradox interviewed Swena about GOV in 2012; but this interview was unfortunately lost to time, disappearing from the Internet sometime before 2016. Swena eventually left the idea of a legislative programming language by the wayside, characterizing GOV as "an overcomplication of legislation and a misunderstanding of programming languages". Nevertheless, se and many others consider it to have been an intriguing idea, and foreign interest around the language has continued to pique from time to time over the years.

Backgrounds

Swena created GOV to prevent legislators from writing ridiculously overcomplicated legal code (and therefore avoid the corruption that goes along with that), and to make legislation more-organized in general.

The syntax and highlighting of the GOV of 2011 (v0.3.1) were inspired by Visual Basic 6, which was (at the time) Swena's only exposure to programming. This can be seen in the coloration of keywords, and the mandatory numbering of lines (which is more of a convention of the original BASIC).

The GOV of 2012 (essentially GOV 1.0) was a reworking of the original concept, drawing on Swena's experience writing the original constitution of the Kingdom of Theodia, and ser increasing competency in IT. It was sufficient to write hundreds of lines of legislation, as can be seen in Theodia's partially-finished GOV Constitution of 2012.

The GOV of 2013 (essentially GOV 2.0) was a complete rework inspired by what Swena had learned by using Linux for the past couple years. The idea, in essence, was to treat legislation almost like a UNIX-like operating system. Laws, definitions, and variables were all to be separated out into different files in different directories. Instead of a single, monolithic constitution; a minimalistic "kernel" was created, designed to do nothing more than bootstrap the remaining legislation. There was to be a GOV interpreter (written in bash), and this (along with the latest release of bash that had been fully audited, to protect against compromised compilers) was to be deployed (along with the laws, variables, definitions, etc) to an always-on server, where the "hive" would function as a sort of living document. Accordingly, GOV 2.0 was less a distinct programming language than a way of writing legislation in bash, as well as how to organize it into a cohesive system.

Context

The GOV programming language began in 2011 as one of Swena's pet-projects in ser and Erasmas's Society for the Improvement of Humankind. It was intended to help create the future of legislation.

In 2012, Swena was in close and continuous contact with the Saxon Empire, a continuation of the relationship forged between Theodia and West Germania in 2010. The Saxon Empire was seriously considering using the GOV programming language, themselves, once Swena had finished drafting the Kingdom of Theodia's new constitution in the language. Additionally, Pandora Paradox, who published an interview with Swena about the language, was a member of the governments of both countries.

The death of the language happened to more-or-less coincide with the end of the Theodian monarchy in 2013, although the two were not really linked events.

Legacy

As can be seen in comments from the 2013 example, it was planned to first develop legislation in English, and then rewrite it in GOV bash. While this migration never did or will happen, some aspects of GOV are present in modern Theodian legislation: using a microkernel to bootstrap the legislation, having a directory for variables, and storing certain metadata at the beginnings of individual bills.

See also