Squeak: who's afraid of the big bad "crash"?

Helge Horch hhorch at wuerzburg.netsurf.de
Tue Dec 15 14:32:49 UTC 1998

At 21:08 14.12.98 -0500, Paul Fernhout wrote:
>The expression: "SystemDictionary become: nil" crashes the 2.2 Squeak
>Windows VM under NT 4.0. Now, admittedly, I was intentionally looking
>for the smallest expression that will crash a Squeak system...

I have just tried the Green Book joke "Processor _ nil" with Squeak 2.3b
under NT4. This not only crashes, but also displays a looong-running
recursive backtrace of Object>doesNotUnderstand (understandably). About
half an hour later, the VM finally gives up.

I like to say the ability to willingly and intentionally crash a software
environment is an important feature -- even if one would only use it for
venting ("balance of power"). Moreover, fragility is the price we pay for
the reflective (meta) capabilities.

Reminds me of the Rise and Fall of the Principia Mathematica (a la "any
system expressively enough to describe itself includes contradictions"),
and of the famous Forth koan by Michael Perry "[...] Its Fragility is its
Strength, its Simplicity is its Direction."

>[rest of very interesting and inspiring post snipped for the moment]


P.S. I wonder what kids make of this fragility. I recall that KidPix, a
painting program for kids on the Mac, had a special "explosion" feature
that erased the current picture with a "boom" sound. This was a heavily
used feature here... Elaborate pictures were bombed into oblivion, for the
sheer fun of creating (and destroying) the next one. (While bystanding
parents went "Nonono, let's print it firs-- too late.")

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