Squeak on the Nokia 770 (touches on old iamges, Morphic, SM, wxWidgets, and more!)

Aaron Reichow revaaron at bitquabit.com
Wed Oct 4 23:19:33 UTC 2006

Hola everyone!

First... Hi! I'm back! I've not been on the list for a year or two, lots
of stuff going on. Things have died back some, so I'm going to be getting
back into Squeak finally! I am going to start by helping out with this new
documentation initiative, working on Morphic tutorials.

Now for Squeak on the 770...

As someone else pointed out, I have a Nokia 770 now. It's an awesome
little device, with one major flaw: a 220 MHz CPU. Now, I've used Squeak
on PDAs with similar CPUs- 206 MHz StrongARMs in a PDA like the iPAQ
3650/3150.  Morphic was usable under Squeak 2.8 and to a lesser extent
3.0.  When I was using PDAs that slow, 3.2+ was never really tried,
because it was a lot harder to shrink those images to a small enough size.
The iPAQ I used then had 16 MB of RAM, so I was dealing with images of 6
MB or smaller.  A lot of folks seem to be surprised that I wasn't using
MVC back then- I've always used Morphic on my PDAs.  I usually sacrificed
some features in newer images to use an older Squeak with Morphic.  Squeak
2.8 is very fast, capable and useful- not perfect, but it isn't something
that belongs only in a museum of computer archeology.

However, Squeak has gotten a lot slower in recent versions.  I personally
haven't used an image newer than 3.4 or 3.6 on any WinCE or Linux-based
PDA, but if Squeak got slower between 3.4/3.6 and 3.9g, then I imagine it
is way too slow. When I say "Squeak is slow" in this context I mean the
way Morphic feels as a user, not that the results of 0 tinyBenchmarks has
been getting slower over time. This includes actions like the time it
takes for a window to redraw it self after you've resized it and gone
mouseUp; the framerate at which Morphs are redrawn when being dragged; the
time it takes for a menu to pop up; the time it takes for a button to
register and pushed.

As a result, a project I am planning on persuing is getting
wxWidgets/Squeak to work on the 770. I'd really like to see this happen.
I personally don't mind Morphic one bit- I prefer it in a lot of ways to a
"regular" GUI toolkit.  But, it may get us the UI speed we need. Then
again, it may not. I'm not sure how feasible this is, but I'll find out
when I have the development environment I need.

Until wxWidgets/Squeak is ported to the 770, or until something miraculous
happens with Morphic or the VM, I plan on running older versions of Squeak
on any PDA, just as a matter of neccesity. I'm undecided what version-
it'll depend on what kind of performance I get on the 770.  Until
recently, I was using 3.4, mainly because it could access SqueakMap.
However, SM no longer works on anything older than 3.8, so I will
certainly move back to at least 3.2, possible 2.8 considering the slowness
of the Nokia 770's CPU.

Like someone else mentioned, some basic work has been done and it does run
on the 770. See: http://tech.inhelsinki.nl/2006-08-29/ However, I have no
copy of Squeak for the 770 right now- the person did the work hasn't
shared a binary yet, though he said he'd send me one eventually.  I'd
compile it myself, but I've no Linux/x86 machine for running the 770 SDK.

One thing I need is access to a Linux machine via SSH for hosting the gcc
cross-compiler for the Nokia 770.  If possible, an x86 machine would be
preferable. I have a PPC OS X machine at home, but that's it.  If anyone
would be willing to hook me up with access to a machine with the requisite
software installed, that would be really awesome! Please email me if you
can help.

Well... I plan on being active on the list again, so I doubt this is the
last you'll see of me. If you'd like to discuss Squeak, please stop by the
Squeak IRC channel- #squeak on irc.freenode.net.  Contrary to the ideas
some people have of IRC/chat, we have some very productive conversations
there, in addition to being a place where Squeakers interact socially.

(celebrating his triumphant return to the squeak-dev list... :D )

revaaron at bitquabit.com || rev in #squeak on irc.freenode.net
   "Liberty will not descend to a people, a people must
         raise themselves to Liberty." -- Emma Goldman

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