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

Doug Way dway at riskmetrics.com
Mon Apr 29 04:41:13 UTC 2002

Aaron J Reichow wrote:

> 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.

I tend to agree more with Göran that the car itself is not currently as 
impressive as the car construction toolkit.  It certainly has the 
potential to become a great car, though.  It sounds like you like the 
Squeak car partly because it includes an excellent construction toolkit, 
and also because there's not a huge chasm between the car and the 
construction toolkit. (this metaphor is falling apart a bit... :) )

Also I think part of Göran's point was that you can potentially improve 
Squeak more by attracting developers rather than end-users, since the 
developers will be able to work on Squeak.  (Although with Squeak there 
is sort of a continuum from developer to end-user.)

> ...
> 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.

This is absolutely true, though, and this point can get lost by casual 

- Doug Way
   dway at riskmetrics.com

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