[squeak-dev] [Election] My stump message

Gary Dunn osp at aloha.com
Fri Mar 5 23:56:00 UTC 2010

My name is Gary Dunn and it is quite an honor to see my name listed with so many illustrious squeakers. I am 60, married with two sons, and live in Honolulu. I have a very demanding full time IT job, but what I do with Squeak is on my own time, although I once wrote a really sweet front-end to the Unix mail system in a PC Windows version of Smalltalk which we used until we were forced to implement Exchange. Those were the days!

My reason for running for the board is to advocate for the role of Squeak in education. I am a big fan of Etoys, but my main interest is in high school and college aged students and in using Squeak as a unified platform for educational software, to include classroom activities, course content delivery, team collaboration, grades management, ... everything related to so-called E-Learning 2.0. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-learning). Where the trend in E-Learning has been towards a web-based design, my preference is for each student to collect and retain locally the information they need, so that they do not rely on continuous Internet access. I do not see E-Learning as a way to teach students to use popular office automation software. I do embrace the concept of social constructionism and have long pitched the value of small, individually owned, self made slate computers as tools to foster communication between students. Many of my concepts that were unfamiliar ten years ago are becoming commonplace. Some, like open-source textbooks, have encountered unanticipated resistance. In the long view, I see the future of educational software in Open Cobalt ... take the interaction in WoW and recreate it in a learning context. Powerful stuff.

More about the Open Slate Project at (http://openslate.net). You will find several Squeak-specific tasks on our Ideas page at (http://openslate.net/ideas.html).

Lately there has been discussion about what to do with aging, broken parts of Squeak. From what little I know it appears that the current leadership is headed in the right direction.

    1. Modularize Squeak so that various chunks -- the outdated stuff -- can be abandoned safely.

    2. Package new releases in at least two forms, one that includes much useful stuff, the other as minimal as possible.

    3. Provide an easy way to add in missing stuff.

>From there I suggest we adopt the process used for the FreeBSD ports collection. Briefly put:

    a. Each package has a maintainer, not necessarily the author. It is the package maintainer's responsibility to keep their packages up to date.

    b. A package that is no longer compatible with the current release, or in any way unusable, is marked as broken and will not be installed. There needs to be a way for people to get access to the code so that it can be fixed. A simple override should suffice, like we have now in SqueakMap Package Loader.

    c. Each package should define its dependencies, and missing dependencies should be installed automatically by the installation process. (If Mary chooses to install StoryTeller and StoryTeller requires BackTalk, BackTalk will be installed before StoryTeller. Mary only needs to be told.)

    d. Installed packages cannot be uninstalled unless nothing depends on them.

The board's role in this would be to develop the process. Individual board members will likely act as package maintainers, but the board would not be involved at that level of detail.

Gary Dunn, Honolulu
osp at aloha.com
Sent from a Newton 2100 via Mail V

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