[Newbies] Squeak vs. Smalltalk

Michael van der Gulik mikevdg at gmail.com
Wed Apr 22 02:48:49 UTC 2009

On 4/22/09, Avidan Ackerson <avidan.ackerson at gmail.com> wrote:
> Thank you for all your answers, as it has given me a good idea about the
> nature of Squeak. But what can you tell me as far as performance ability
> goes? I recall reading somewhere that Squeak can cause a drag in
> processing at times.

The Squeak VM itself is fast, for a particular value of fast. The
reason it feels slow is because the user interface has been becoming
bloated. I haven't tried it myself, but people report that the Cuis
image is much faster than the standard Squeak image (Google or read
other emails on this email list for links). Older images such as
Squeak 1.3 (from ye olde archives) are very reactive, but feel "old".

As far as interpreted VMs go, I believe that the Squeak VM is among
the faster ones. Somebody should correct me if I'm wrong, but I
/believe/ that the Squeak VM is faster than the standard Python VM,
Perl and Ruby. Things might have changed since I last looked.

However, Squeak is (I believe) slower than Forth interpreters and
slower than compiled code from C++ and C. It will also be slower than
just-in-time compilers/interpreters such as the Sun Java VM.

Eliot Miranda has joined our ranks recently and is working on the Cog
VM. This will make Squeak even faster. Bryce Kampjes is also working
on Exupery, which is another approach to speeding up code.

A stock Squeak VM can't use multiple CPU cores, although the Smalltalk
language itself has support for this. A single-cored CPU will run
Squeak at the same speed as a dual or quad-core machine.



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