Squeak UI and toolkit commentary: (was: Re: Who has no job? (was Re: O\'Reilly Squeak book?))

Aaron J Reichow reic0024 at d.umn.edu
Sun Apr 28 22:06:53 UTC 2002

On Sun, 28 Apr 2002, [ISO-8859-1] G=F6ran Hultgren wrote:

> Yes you are quite correct Martin. Currently I consider Squeak to be an
> excellent \"car construction toolkit\" but a pretty lousy \"car\".

I don't doubt that we mechanics have different expectations in a computing
system, but for me, Squeak makes a great car.  If I only had a better web
browser in Squeak, I'd spend 99% of my time in it.  Squeak is the kind of
environment I'd want even if I weren't so enthusiastic about the Smalltalk
language itself.  I'm the kind of person who would've wanted to use a
LispMachine, or one of those people who live out of emacs.

We like to be able to customize everything.  But that isn't quite the
right word- for me "customization" brings to mind images of Linux d00dz
running hideous themes for GTK+ and Enlightenment, or Windows users with
every possible app skinned.  That's shallow customization, and I'm talking
about deep customization.  Adding features, changing existing features to
work like I like them too.

One of the reasons I love Squeak is that I can do that if I want.  And
because *I* can make those changes, I'm self-sufficient and -sustaining,
in charge of my own destiny. While that's one of the goals of the
primarily C-based "open source" movement, there's a gigantic amount of
overhead involved with making changes to a system written in such a
language.  You have to know so much more.  And there are so many special
cases.  You have to find the tools that help you to find where to make
these changes.  Temporal, equipment and mental overhead.  If I wanted to
change something about the way my X11 window manager worked, I'd have to
do a lot more work than to make a similar change in Squeak.

But of course, the majority of computer users don't want that.  They just
want it to feel like the systems they've used in the past.  And that's
fine.  But I'm not willing to trade the control that Squeak gives me over
my computing experience and environment for a primitive operating system
and environment that may be a little more 'normal' and full-featured.

</rant> ... sorry!


  Aaron Reichow  ::  UMD ACM Pres  ::  http://www.d.umn.edu/~reic0024/
"the only difference it makes if some dust on the clay"  :: atmosphere

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