YASoB (was Re: some news)

stéphane ducasse ducasse at iam.unibe.ch
Thu May 18 17:50:30 UTC 2006

Have you really looked at Smalltalk-72?
Do you think that you could build a real system with each class been  
able to define
its own syntax?
It depends what is the goal of the language. If this is to build  
application it seems that ST-80
is better than 72. At least with my taste.


>     I have a feeling that to many Smalltakers, in general, there  
> have been
>     no advances in software engineering and computer language design
>     since Smalltalk was invented.
>     When was Smalltalk really invented?
>     Was it in 1972 or 1976 or 1980?
>     Did Squeak Central insist on creating things that are worse than
>     Smalltalk-72 and the crowd assumed that it is automatically better
>     than something "old" like Smalltalk-72?
>     For that matter, did the commercial Smalltalk vendors insist
>     likewise?
>     Cheers,
>     PhiHo
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jecel Assumpcao Jr" <jecel at merlintec.com>
> To: "The general-purpose Squeak developers list"
> <squeak-dev at lists.squeakfoundation.org>
> Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2006 2:44 PM
> Subject: YASoB (was Re: some news)
>> PhiHo,
>>> "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. ;-)
>> Rather than speaking for Alan, I will just quote two paragraphs  
>> from his
>> "Early History of Smalltalk" (there is a link to a PDF version in  
>> Stef's
>> Free Books page and there is a html version with some missing  
>> pictures
>> at http://gagne.homedns.org/~tgagne/contrib/EarlyHistoryST.html):
>> -------
>> I will try to show where most of the influences came from and how  
>> they
>> were transformed in the magnetic field formed by the new personal
>> computing metaphor. It was the attitudes as well as the great  
>> ideas of
>> the pioneers that helped Smalltalk get invented. Many of the people I
>> admired most at this time--such as Ivan Sutherland, Marvin Minsky,
>> Seymour Papert, Gordon Moore, Bob Barton, Dave Evans, Butler Lampson,
>> Jerome Bruner, and others--seemed to have a splendid sense that their
>> creations, though wonderful by relative standards, were not near  
>> to the
>> absolute thresholds that had to be crossed. Small minds try to form
>> religions, the great ones just want better routes up the mountain.  
>> Where
>> Newton said he saw further by standing on the shoulders of giants,
>> computer scientists all too often stand on each other's toes.  
>> Myopia is
>> still a problem where there are giants' shoulders to stand
>> on--"outsight" is better than insight--but it can be minimized by  
>> using
>> glasses whose lenses are highly sensitive to esthetics and criticism.
>> -------
>> and
>> -------
>> New ideas go through stages of acceptance, both from within and  
>> without.
>>> From within, the sequence moves from "barely seeing" a pattern  
>>> several
>> times, then noting it but not perceiving its "cosmic"  
>> significance, then
>> using it operationally in several areas, then comes a "grand  
>> rotation"
>> in which the pattern becomes the center of a new way of thinking, and
>> finally, it turns into the same kind of inflexible religion that it
>> originally broke away from. From without, as Schopenhauer noted,  
>> the new
>> idea is first denounced as the work of the insane, in a few years  
>> it is
>> considered obvious and mundane, and finally the original  
>> denouncers will
>> claim to have invented it.
>> -------
>> My comment on this is that Smalltalk-80 was indeed wonderful by  
>> relative
>> standards, but it shouldn't become a religion that keeps us from
>> inventing something better. Though this isn't nearly as sad as people
>> who keep insisting on creating things that are worse while the public
>> assumes it is automatically better than something "old" like  
>> Smalltalk
>> (what C. S. Lewis called "chronological snobbery").
>> --Jecel

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