[Newbies] What is a "weak" reference

Rob Rothwell r.j.rothwell at gmail.com
Sun Jul 13 16:15:43 UTC 2008

Can someone explain what a "weak" vs (I am guessing) "strong" reference is?
 I have been struggling with Garbage Collection for quite some time now and
saw this on another list:
"You'll need to add an instance variable to process and modify fork to
record the origin.  Currently processes don't remember their ancestor.  I
recommend you create a special fork that remembers ancestry, rather than
modifying the default fork.  You will potentially accumulate a lot of
garbage otherwise.  Also, you might consider making the reference from a
process to its parent weak to allow the parent to be GC'ed when it
terminates even if it has children."

I, too, am maintaining parent/child relationships in my application and have
just been doing something like:

     child := Child new parent: self.

I am assuming, given my troubles, that this is NOT a weak reference?!

Thank you,

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