Newbie questions

Ned Konz ned at
Fri Apr 12 02:08:42 UTC 2002

On Thursday 11 April 2002 06:29 pm, jennyw wrote:
> I've just started learning about Squeak (I used to use Digitalk
> Smalltalk/V on a Mac years ago).  I was wondering if people here
> could answer some questions:
> The book I'm reading says that Squeak is currently developed by a
> team led by Alan Kay at Disney. The Web page also says this. 
> However, I've also read that Alan Kay left Disney a while ago. 
> Also, the page "Where is Squeak Headed" on the Web site
> only has information from late 1999.  How active is this project? 
> I assume it's pretty active since a lot of people are posting on
> this list, but I thought I'd ask.

Alan Kay, Dan Ingalls, and other members of the Squeak team left 
Disney a while ago.

They started the site to pursue educational ideas, and 
are still active with Squeak development.

> Also, what do people use Sqeak for?  Is it mostly an educational
> tool, or do people use it for commercial or free software?  What
> kinds of projects are currently going on in Squeak?

Besides its use in education, interests on the list include:
* language design (Squeak is a great language to experiment ON as well 
as with)
* distributed object systems (several Squeak-Squeak and Squeak-other 
systems exist)
* user interfaces (MathMorphs)
* optimizing compiler construction
* robotics (LEGO Mindstorms, submersibles, others)
* other embedded systems (weather systems, computerized kayaks, etc.)
* web applications servers
* multimedia applications
* and, I'm sure, a great many more that I forget right now or don't 
know about.

> How does Squeak compare to commercial Smalltalks?  I've been kind
> of out of the loop for a while, but I kind of figured that
> Smalltalk was on the decline when ParcPlace and Digitalk merged
> then were bought(?) by Cincom. But I a few books on Squeak at
> Borders Books and thought maybe there's more activity in Smalltalk
> than I thought ...

Well, there's no commercial entity trying to market Squeak. So there's 
little central focus on the kinds of things that other Smalltalks 
seem to get bought for (vanilla UIs connected to databases?). But 
there are certainly Squeak users who are interested in this. The 
"Stable Squeak" effort of a year ago was in part an attempt to make 
Squeak a better platform for shrink-wrapped applications. One of the 
things that has come out of this interest is the Modules in 3.3.

As to what the rest of the Smalltalk world is up to, I don't know. I 
suspect that others will pitch in on this one.

Ned Konz

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