Smalltalk: Requiem or Resurgence? {Dr. Dobb's Journal (05/06/06) Chan, Jeremy}

Alejandro F. Reimondo aleReimondo at
Sat May 13 13:10:24 UTC 2006

> Creating standards is easy for them.
> On the other side, Smalltalk has a lot of interested
> groups (dialects).  Creating a
> standard is quite difficult.

It is called "diversity", and is an emergent observable
 with evolution.

In languages defined as one-for-all (now called "standard")
 diversity is not observed because they are products
 of formal design (and not of normal evolution).

For formal definitions, any difference represent a problem.
For non-formal activities a divergence is a natural path
 to be taken by a newcommer.
This differences make diferences in the propagation
 process of products of formal&non-formal activities.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Waldemar Dick" <sourceforge at>
To: "The general-purpose Squeak developers list"
<squeak-dev at>
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2006 7:37 PM
Subject: Re: Smalltalk: Requiem or Resurgence? {Dr. Dobb's Journal
(05/06/06) Chan, Jeremy}

> Hi,
> Hans-Martin Mosner schrieb:
> > The problem with this comparison is that it is treating Smalltalk as a
> > programming language.
> > It's much easier if you treat it like an operating system or a SQL
> > database - it's a platform.
> In previous posts, Smalltalk was compared against Ruby, Python, etc. and
> why it doesn't,
> as the more mature language, get the same attention.
> Ruby, Python, Java, .Net are all a language + VM or interpreter/compiler
> (for more then one OS)
> + a basic set of libraries.
> Smalltalk is only the language. The language comes in a bundle with VM +
> libraries + IDE.
> So, actually you can't compare Smalltalk with any other bundle (Ruby,
> Python, ...).
> Instead you have to compare, for example Squeak, with the others.
> And that is point, that confuses people and makes the entry to Smalltalk
> difficult.
> > In theory, your C program should just run on HP-UX, Linux, AIX,
> > Windows, MacOSX, RiscOS, AmigaOS, ...
> > Why did all those operating system vendors invent incompatible system
> > calls, libraries, file system conventions?
> The languages we compare Smalltalk to, do this abstraction by providing
> a VM.
> > Or why can't you just take your SQL application from ORACLE to MySQL
> > or Sybase?
> > After all, SQL is a standard!
> Right, all databases have SQL 95 as least common denominator. You can
> work with
> the SQL standard.
> I was trying to say, that the least common denominator, ANSI Smalltalk,
> is to small to
> base actual work on it. No networking, threading, file system (only file
> stream), ...., database, ...
> >
> > I don't know enough about SQL, but at least in the operating system
> > world you can achieve a lot of portability by sticking to POSIX which
> > is supported on most platforms.
> > Similarly, you get pretty good portability in Smalltalk by sticking to
> > the ANSI Smalltalk subset.
> > Of course, GUI widgets etc. are not included in that standard and so
> > are non-portable.
> > But does POSIX include standard GUI widgets? Can you write a GUI
> > application in C and port it from Linux to Windows without a lot of
> Standards across more than one interested party are difficult to
> achieve. And most
> of the time this standards come out as a least common denominator, which
> better than nothing, but not a lot more.
> Every language hyped or mainstream right now, got exactly one interested
> group.
> Creating standards is easy for them.
> On the other side, Smalltalk has a lot of interested groups (dialects).
> Creating a
> standard is quite difficult.
> But without (at least) a standard library, you won't be able to compare
> Smalltalk
> to the other languages. Then you are right, you will have to compare it
> with operating
> systems.
> As a side note: At least one language from above, is successful, because
> it promised
> to overcome the operating system barriers.
> > I agree with you that it would be great to have easier portability
> > between the different Smalltalk systems, so you could switch platforms
> > when needed without too much work.
> > But in reality, switching between platforms has never been easy.
> > Actually, the closest thing to effortless platform migration was/is
> > *Smalltalk* with its image file which can be run unchanged on a large
> > number of platforms! I've done it with VisualWorks, Squeak and
> > VisualAge. The two Smalltalk-80 descendants provide much easier
> > migration (just snapshot your image and start up on another machine)
> > but VisualAge is pretty doable as well as long as you're willing to
> > work around the quirks of the different native widgets under OS/2,
> > Windows and Unix/X.
> Smalltalk showed that it is possible to overcome operating system
> barriers. It was the foundation for Java Swing and SWT. It is a: all
> been there,
> all done that. And I don't understand, why the Smalltalk community can't
> come up with a common library layer.
> Don't aim for GUI, but start with something like a common file system
> library.
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Hans-Martin
> Greetings
> Waldemar Dick

More information about the Squeak-dev mailing list