YASoB (was Re: some news)

SmallSqueak smallsqueak at rogers.com
Tue May 16 09:24:07 UTC 2006

"Alan Kay" wrote: 

"... it really bothers me that so many people on this list 
are satisfied with Smalltalk-80 (Yikes!) 
But that's another soapbox."

Dear Seasoned Squeakers,

	I have followed this list for a while and I have a feeling
	that Alan Kay is not particularly fond of Smalltalk-80.

	I've been wondering why or maybe I got it wrong.

	Your thought is very much appreciated.

	I really hope if Alan is not too busy we will be
	able to hear it straight from the Dragon's mouth. ;-)



Hi --

I would gently suggest you are missing the points here.

You wrote at the end:
>As said Garrison Keillor:
>"I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it."

I'm sure the irony was unintended.

The reality is that we need to use every possible route to try to get 
content of a high level and learnability to children everywhere. If most of 
the computer world does not like to use Smalltalk (this seems to be 
reality) we shouldn't pout and stamp our feet about it, but try to make 
examples that will help lift people's perception of what is possible.

If the Python folks want "Programming for everyone" and we can get them to 
see that there are some important things that need to be done to make the 
experience what it should be for children, then we should help them. Sure, 
I'd love to see them understand more about Smalltalk, but it is the 
psychology of that culture (and large parts of the Smalltalk culture, and 
most programming cultures) for computer folks to want to come up with their 
own ideas and solutions. E.g. it really bothers me that so many people on 
this list are satisfied with Smalltalk-80 (Yikes!) But that's another

This is why computing is not a real scientific field, but much more like a 
pop culture (and sometimes like psychopathic children tearing wings off 
flies). If parts of the pop culture get interested in bigger problems (and 
they are and are being forced by circumstances to) then we can and should 
help them invent rounder wheels.

You are complaining about the irrationality of human beings. If they were 
rational, then we wouldn't need to worry about education, and there 
wouldn't have been a 3rd world in the 21st century. Most people's 
imaginations are so undeveloped as to be essentially non-existent. This is 
why we had to build more than a 1000 Altos, dozens of Ethernets and laser 
printers before anyone, let alone Xerox was even willing to concede that 
personal computing was a topic. As Butler Lampson as remarked "One of the 
things that made this easier than it could have been was that no one in the 
world was doing personal computing in the early 70s except for PARC. We had 
the entire field to ourselves, and thus could take our time to choose the 
riches paths we could imagine."

What's needed for this effort more than any other thing are compelling 
examples that can be used as prototypes for many kinds of home grown 
content. Part of "compelling" is the sense that the local groups can really 
feel in control of their software experience. Not terribly un-rational 
actually. It would be more rational if they were willing to learn 
Smalltalk, but so what if they don't want to. The Internet is the real key 
here, and the web part has been terribly botched. But I think the good 
content is going to look more like Etoys than either Smalltalk or Python or 
Ruby, so who cares about which religon is used?



At 09:03 AM 4/22/2006, Hilaire Fernandes wrote:
>Really? Eventually children suffering from anemia will die. Those day,
>each 5 second a kid (bellow 10) die because of mal-nutrition. Since the
>begining of this thread more than 34000 kids die for such reason, I
>can't agree the effect is the same.
>I just really feel unconfortable about plan, in the name of kids in
>developing countries, related to spend resources just to re-develop
>existing stuff.
>You know that Smalltalk and its environment are far superior to Python,
>so I cannot understand you stand "kid first" and at the same time your
>position about spending resources re-developping a graphical environment
>with an inferior vehicule. It is just non-sense. It will make more sense
>to re-developped more advanced language&environment on top of
>Smalltalk/Squeak. Was it not your initial plan?
>As said Garrison Keillor:
>"I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it."
>Alan Kay a écrit :
> > We have television instead of anemia, but it has a similar effect ...
> >
> > Cheers,
> >
> > Alan
> >
> > -------------
> >
> > At 07:06 AM 4/22/2006, Hilaire Fernandes wrote:
> >
> >> Alan Kay a écrit :
> >> > Yes, if only the world -- especially computer people -- were even
> >> > halfway rational and interesting in learning ... but this is one of
> >> > main goals of education (= enlightenment, etc.), and this is why
> >> > education for everyone has been my main interest over the years.
> >> >
> >> > As Seymour once said, "I wish the US was still a developing
> >> > We could say that about Europe also....
> >>
> >> Hum, not sure to understand. In developping country, one related
> >> to education is to avoid children suffer from anemia, which make them
> >> unable to concentrate on anything.
> >>
> >> Hilaire
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >


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