[Newbies] Re: Beginners Digest, Vol 68, Issue 3

karl ramberg karlramberg at gmail.com
Wed Dec 14 20:21:33 UTC 2011

On Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 3:10 PM, David Corking <lists at dcorking.com> wrote:

> Kirk wrote:
> > Language popularity is a matter of advertising.    Nobody heard of Java
> > until its creator advertised heavily claiming as the best language of
> > all,
> Perhaps Smalltalk needs a different approach to advertising. I don't
> think many Smalltalkers believe that Smalltalk is the best of all. It
> seems to me that there has always been a widespread and justified
> belief that it will be a stepping stone to something better, such as
> Self, Strongtalk, Newspeak, or something yet to be created by
> researchers such as those at VPRI/STEPS, Potsdam, Berne and several
> other enlightened places.

One weakness of the Smalltalk environment is that every development image
is in essence  a fork. A lot of tools help easing the problems that bring,
but it is not smooth sailing.

Another issue is what you mention; the grass is always greener on the other
side. So much effort and focus is used on developing the newer and better
stuff that older tools get half finished and abandoned. That make the
Smalltalk experience a little rocky at times.


> In a sense it is a victim of its own simplicity: of the ease of making
> new class libraries and new compilers.
> Java might have been sold as the best, but in reality it only had to
> be better than C++ to stand a chance of winning.
> In any case, Smalltalk has had some high profile advertising: by IBM,
> then by Alan Kay for Squeak, and more recently by Alan again for
> Croquet, and Randall for Seaside. I think that there is a law of
> averages that says that even great products with great advertising
> don't make it.
> Even so, there is now a Smalltalk in the hands of each of two million
> schoolchildren, through the Squeak Etoys and DrGeo II images on the
> OLPC. Scratch is even more widespread: to the extent that it is a
> killer application.
> > The way out of that legacy in my opinion is projects like Blender 3D,
> > maybe OpenOffice, and other killer applications
> I agree: killer applications are better than advertising.
> I also think that Python and Ruby's strategies of attracting
> entrepreneurs and hackers are, in the long run, more rewarding than
> Java's early successes in corporate sales.
> It is not too late: Objective-C finally made it after a 25 year run
> for the prize. So why not Smalltalk?
> Can you develop your killer application proposal, please? Are you
> suggesting a Squeak contribution to Blender, or a fork?
> David
> p.s. Kirk also wrote:
> > Koans for learning Smalltalk on the other hand strikes me as another
> waste
> > of time and books like the entire "patterns" movement.
> Forgive me if my history is wrong, but wasn't the patterns movement a
> joint venture of the Smalltalk and C++ communities? In any case,
> "Koans" seems to a product of the agile movement, which began entirely
> in Smalltalk. I intend to waste my time by reading it.
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