[squeak-dev] Re: [Pharo-project] 16rff is looking for a fix :)

Andreas Raab andreas.raab at gmx.de
Thu Feb 11 23:44:36 UTC 2010

Eliot Miranda wrote:
> I disagree.  I think the community has managed to agree on the utility 
> of several things.  Many of the Squeak collection extensions have found 
> their way into VisualWorks for example because they're clearly useful 
> and convenient.  I think the problem with the standard is architectural, 
> and that that architectural limitation was built-in from the get-go  It 
> was intended to be something the vendors could agree upon, not a useful 
> standard.  The issue for the vendors was in having a check-box for 
> Smalltalk compared to other languages; C had a standard, C++ had a 
> standard, so Smalltalk needed one.  ut the standard wasn't useful for 
> the community, and I think as a result hasn't been that useful for the 
> vendors.  Being x3j20-compatible didn't mean enough.

As much as I agree with the standard being problematic in itself, I'd 
still think that the main issue is elsewhere. In its shortest form, this 
comment on Ken's blog sums it up nicely: "what if we do not like VW 

The point is that your assumption of universal agreement on what "the 
standard" entails is simply naive. There will be things that some people 
like and others that they don't. If you want them all to agree and to 
actually implement what the standard says, you'll end up with a watered 
down version like ANSI Smalltalk (which is weak enough that people can 
pick and choose and still claim to be "compliant"). But if you want a 
strong, consistent, meaningful standard then you'll face resistance 
(i.e., "what if we do not like feature xyz"). And then the question 
becomes: What'cha gonna do about it?

As it stands it's a no-win situation and the only way to break out of it 
is to write new libraries that can be used anywhere. Seaside / Grease is 
one interesting direction, perhaps Xtreams can become another one. Throw 
in a portable and free collections, numerics, and  network package and 
you're halfways there.

To me, that's the only way to get this done. Don't write a standard - 
write code instead! Make it portable, get other projects to use it, and 
just leave the vendors in the dust. Define a brand, perhaps "Common 
Smalltalk Libraries" that a group can own and control and define that 
you can call yourself "CSL compliant" if you pass the tests provided by 
CSL. All of them.

   - Andreas

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