To be live or not to be live!

PhiHo Hoang phiho.hoang at
Sat Apr 27 17:40:05 UTC 2002


> don't carried away with this "living system" thing :-)

	Thanks for reminding. Perhaps I got a bit carried away, not with
"living system", but rather with, you know what I mean ;-)


> Fixing a car or a computer is a very relaxing activity 
> compared to "fixing" a person. 

	Couldn't agree more.

> Living systems aren't for wimps!

	And for that matter, real life isn't for wimps either.

	But, once a wimp regconizes that a wimp is a wimp then a wimp is
no longer a wimp.

	And true wimp will never know a wimp is a wimp.

	So, practically, there are no wimps ;-)



-----Original Message-----
From: squeak-dev-admin at
[mailto:squeak-dev-admin at] On Behalf Of Jecel
Assumpcao Jr
Sent: Monday, April 22, 2002 10:38 AM
To: squeak-dev at
Subject: Re: To be live or not to be live!


don't carried away with this "living system" thing :-)

I have been writing about this for a while trying to explain to 
"normal" programmers why this is such an important feature of systems 
such as Squeak. But I prefer to call traditional programming 
environments "blueprint systems" since their sources form a complete 
blueprint that the computer can use to create a working program at 

In contrast, the sources of a "living system" are only part of the 
story, just as the human genome is a very incomplete description of a 
person (as Jim pointed out). Such systems have lots of additional 
information normally created by tools other than simple text editors.

Each alternative has its advantages. Blueprint systems, due to their 
short lived natures, are more forgiving of mistakes. How many 
applications with memory leaks were shipped in the 1980s and 1990s? It 
wasn't considered a big deal - the user just killed the program and 
called a fresh version of it again. Compare that with Squeak: some bits 
in there are simply cloned versions of what was originally created in 
the 1970s! A memory leak would have been fatal.

The Macintosh system tried to incorporate some of the advantages of a 
living system with its "resource forks" (originally created to make 
internationalization easier), which was copied by Windows. This is a 
hybrid where the bulk of the code is written in the blueprint style, 
but selected fragments of it deal with living data created by some kind 
of resource editor.

Squeak is much better than such hybrids, but still has its problems. If 
you have some hand made morph, it is a bit awkward to refer to it from 
some code you are writing in a regular browser. And the new modules 
system will make this worse, so you will probably have to use a project 
segment or something like that to continue with this development style.

Do we envy the blueprint guys? Sure: every time you "quit without 
saving" and restart from a previous image instead of dealing with the 
damage you have just caused the poor beast. The "green book" even has a 
funny cartoon about this where the pilot in a plane that is on fire 
with one wing being ripped off says to the copilot: "I think we'd 
better boot and resume!" (page 25)

Fixing a car or a computer is a very relaxing activity compared to 
"fixing" a person. Living systems aren't for wimps!

-- Jecel

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