An interesting view on social groups and their problems
cputney at wiresong.ca
Tue Nov 6 04:07:09 UTC 2007
On 5-Nov-07, at 2:21 PM, Chris Cunnington wrote:
> Smalltalkers talk about wider adoption, but they don't really want
> it. They
> like community to be as small and cozy as an English smoking lounge.
> I was
> talking to a developer at Smalltalk Solutions of a large product,
> and he
> said he was afraid of too many people using their product, because
> people would blame their own deficiencies on the product.
I occasionally get into arguments with Smalltalk advocates for exactly
this reason. I don't want wider adoption of Smalltalk; I think the
community is starting to get too big as it is. There are two things I
do want, though.
One is for Smalltalk to be "respectable." If you've got a problem that
would be nicely solved in Smalltalk, it's a real shame to have to use
some other language because the client or manager succumbs to FUD.
The other is for the community to be effective. Using Smalltalk is
only viable if libraries get written and maintained, tough questions
can be answered, VM technology progresses, new platforms are supported
as they emerge, and new language concepts can be integrated. As long
as the community is big enough to let Smalltalkers remain
Smalltalkers, it's big enough.
To some degree, the community needs to be a certain size to
effectively support its members, but I think that minimum size is
shrinking. The "dark ages" for Smalltalk were that period when it had
already become clear that Smalltalk would not become the standard
language for enterprise development, but before the Internet had
reached the level of social sophistication that we see now.
Back to the original article. Shirky talks about the need for
structure to all the group to protect it's principles against both
newcomers and it's own group tendencies. I think the Smalltalk
community would benefit by focussing on mutual support rather than
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