Newbie questions (advocacy included)

goran.hultgren at goran.hultgren at
Fri Apr 12 09:39:56 UTC 2002

jennyw <jennyw at> 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.

The so called "Squeak Central" group of people is still active but they
are no longer at Disney.
The exact whereabouts of all former members of that group etc is not
really known to me, others can tell you more.

> 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?

There are tons of projects going on and the Squeak community is only
getting (it seems) more and more active.

Active areas off the top of my head:
- A lot of networking projects (webservers, web appservers, SOAP etc.).
- A lot of research and experiments in Morphic.
- A lot of stuff related to education/multimedia etc. (Original goals
for Squeak)
- A lot of experimental computer science projects.
...and so much more.

If you are looking for something particular - post on the list - there
is a VERY good chance of interesting answers. The Squeak community seems
to me to be very talented and diverse. We are both young and old, both
from academia and companies and so on. A lot of knowledge from all areas
imaginable. I keep getting amazed at the depths of all people here.

But sadly there are VERY few women on this list (and thus I guess in the
Squeak community). I find that somewhat strange.

> How does Squeak compare to commercial Smalltalks?  I've been kind of out 

It compares very good:
- Cross platform capability second to none.
- Very good multimedia support, probably second to none.
- Very good development tools/environment. Might lack a few things like
extensive support for team development (most development in the Squeak
community is done individually I think).
- Good performance. If you benchmark Squeak it might look "slow" (but
not worse than many commercial Smalltalks like Dolphin) compared to
VW/VAJ/Smallscript. But you need to remember that benchmarks lie and
especially so in Squeakland I think since they don't tend to test things
that normally take time in applications (input/output, networking,
graphics etc).
- Very good stability.
- Superb community, probably the most active of all Smalltalks.

One of the few real shortcomings is lack of "business UI capabilities".
Morphic is cool and will probably become more and more suited for
business apps too - but currently it's a "hard sell".

I consider Squeak to be the "Linux of Smalltalks". It has captured the
"free software audience" in Smalltalk land just as Linux has done in OS

> 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.  

Cincom is probably good for Smalltalk. They seem to be much more in
touch with reality than... well. Enough said. I just hope they make
money on the Smalltalk side.

Lots of us need to do development in Java and other languages "by day",
as I have done for some years now, but Smalltalk still shines and I
think people are more and more realizing that Java isn't the final
solution to "Life Universe And Everything". It's just a decent language
with a huge following - there are lots of those and they come and go.
Perhaps C# is the next one. C++ was the one before Java.

At the end of the day the only thing that matters is using the right
tool for the job. And Smalltalk is still the right tool for many things.

> But I a few books on Squeak at Borders Books and thought maybe there's 
> more activity in Smalltalk than I thought ...

> Thanks!
> Jen

regards, Göran

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