[Newbies] Better Support for Beginners Please!

Casey Ransberger casey.obrien.r at gmail.com
Thu Jan 22 06:43:47 UTC 2015

Some thoughts are available inline below. 

> On Jan 21, 2015, at 10:04 PM, Kirk Fraser <overcomer.man at gmail.com> wrote:
> The Squeak.org main page needs a few changes. 
> 1) FunSqueak Demo Image does not belong under "Beginner" heading.
> Perhaps "Intermediate" would be more appropriate.  To be a Beginner project it should be supplied installed in a full one click Squeak 4.5 instead of expecting a beginner to know how to do major surgery

That's actually not a bad idea. Hmm. FunSqueak is a bit of a flagship demonstration of interesting things we can do with the system. It wouldn't hurt to do a one click of it. The main challenge here is that Edgar's releases are not necessarily in sync with the trunk at all times. Otherwise I'd say we should talk about incorporating them into the build process that produces the main Squeak releases. Maybe set up a Jenkins server somewhere and build FunSqueak one-clicks on it. 

> 2) The LINUX instructions at page bottom are not for beginners. Under Beginners there should be a one click solution for installing Squeak in a majority of Linux systems including Kbuntu.  Lacking that, the Beginners heading needs detailed explanation of what all this means and how to accomplish it.

If you're using a Linux based system and you aren't able to administer it yourself, there are a number of third party support providers who can help. That said: if you're using Linux and can't support it, that tends to end up on your shoulders. UNIX, discounting OS X, tends to be a bit like flying and aircraft without a copilot. 

What I really think we need here are folks from the major distros who are willing/able to roll packages based on both the bleeding edge and the recent stable release. Same deal with the various BSDs. 

We haven't found these folks yet. 

> Linux Starting - Check you have: 1) X Windows (i.e. X11) installed; 2) 32-bit libraries installed; 3) file permissions have been addressed. Put the squeak script found in the top directory on the command line followed by the path to the image.
> How does one check if one has X Windows installed?

Don't quote me on this because I'm on a phone / don't have a Linux box in front of me, but if you fish around in /etc you should find some xorg stuff in there. That's a good sign that someone has installed (or attempted to install) X11. Are you seeing a GUI? If so, it's likely some X11 variant, unless your distro uses Wayland or that other thing that is trying to do the same thing (read: get rid of the X Window System.)

> How does one check if one has 32 bit libraries installed?
> How does one check if one has file permissions "addressed"?

These are general UNIX questions, and are better directed toward forums devoted to those topics. Remember: Smalltalk is NOT UNIX.

> What is the Squeak Script?

It's a shell script, likely BASH or SH compatible which starts up the executable and gives it an image, sources and a changes file, without you having to specify a complicated command line to give the system everything it needs to load. 

It doesn't need to be in a top directory, but it does need to be in your path environment variable. Depending on distro, look around for dotfiles redefining PATH. Make sure the script is in your PATH. That should help. 

> How does one put it in the "top" directory - top of what - the hard disk, some major subdirectory like bin?

See above. It doesn't matter where on the disk it lives if you're a BALLER with symlinks:)

> Where does one enter the command line?

Seriously? I think there's a book called Linux for Dummies...

> What does a sample command line look like in the top 5 Linux variants?

Go forth, find the truth for yourself, and put it on the wiki? What are the top five Linux variants? Sorry to cockblock here, but I'm a BSD fan, so I don't know or care. 

> Better yet, where is a one click download and install for Linux systems?

Two ways I can think of to reply here. 

- don't dream it, be it
- if you build it, they will come

> A bit of humor - while writing this post, I thought of a new term to describe this problem, the main Squeak.org page is  dribbling information to the users. What do you think, fix dribbling and you'll attract more users?

Not sure I've got the joke here. But then, I was never terribly bright. Anyway, chin up, I think you'll get it all figured out. 

Advice: ask about specific problems, make sure that you've done your best to establish a smart question, and never believe that you can't figure it out on your own (even if you need a little help along the way.)



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