[squeak-dev] Re: [vwnc] image overload

Eliot Miranda eliot.miranda at gmail.com
Fri Mar 12 19:04:30 UTC 2010

On Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 10:51 AM, Bruce Boyer <bruce.boyer at alumni.uci.edu>wrote:

>  This is rather a sensitive area with me at the moment, as I'm working on
> indexing docs.  I've had to resort to using "image" and "graphical image" to
> try to distinguish these two, but "image" remains unclear to anyone who
> doesn't already know.
> I could guess that the term "snapshot" came first, as a methaphorical
> attempt to describe what saving that thing is, and "image" is what snapshots
> give (or pictures or something even worse for that thing).  But, it's only a
> guess.

Right.  That's why I don't like either snapshot or image.  What are these
snapshots or images of?  They are intentionally abstract terms and are
unhelpful.  Yes, snapshot is much better, but still hopelessly abstract.

> If a really good term were proferred, the documentation cost will be
> amortized over a long period of time, so not a worry.  Getting it accepted
> by smalltalkers will be the harder problem.
> I'm not sure, though, that "system file" is right.  The file part is just
> an artifact of saving the state of the system, providing a way to preserving
> it for a restart.

But I see a snapshot file are more than just a memory dump.  It /is/ the
entire Smalltalk system, class library, potentially compiler, debugger,
tools.  It is in a format that requires the virtual machine to run it, but
it is in fact the Smalltalk system in quiescent form.  It is not a memory
dump.  It is only a dump of the Smalltalk object heap, not the entire memory

It is more than just a way of saving the state.  It is also a way of moving
that state and resuming it on a different system.  Once you have the virtual
machine key you can unlock the image, uh, system, but everything you need to
program the system (beyond execution display and input devices) is there.

 Is there a recognizable term for the state of memory at a moment?
> Cognitive scientists might have something, though I'm sure it would be
> hugely debated whether there is any such thing.

I forget...

> Waste of time?  Perhaps.  But, beats indexing :)
> Bruce
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Eliot Miranda <eliot.miranda at gmail.com>
> *To:* The general-purpose Squeak developers list<squeak-dev at lists.squeakfoundation.org>; Pharo
> Development <pharo-project at lists.gforge.inria.fr> ; vwnc NC<vwnc at cs.uiuc.edu>
> *Sent:* Friday, March 12, 2010 9:59 AM
> *Subject:* [vwnc] image overload
> Hi All,
>     I'm sure Im opening an old topic but anyway, as I was riding the train
> to work today I saw a shop called "Audio Images" and it struck me how
> overloaded the term image is, and how poor a term for the contents of the
> image file Smalltalk image is.  What's in the image is a snapshot of...
> almost the entire system (minus platform-specific virtual machine and
> possibly minus sources).  So Smalltalk system file would be a far better
> term and stsys a more unique file extension (and according to Wikipedia STS
> is unused too).  I can imagine that changing form image would be hugely
> expensive in documentation terms (docs, websites, workspaces, etc, etc).
>  But I can at least dream of a better term.
> P.S.  I know, wasting one's time worrying about names.  Almost as bad as
> worrying about colours
> "And the wheel," said the Captain, "What about this wheel thingy? It sounds
> a terribly interesting project."
> "Ah," said the marketing girl, "Well, we're having a little difficulty
> there."
> "Difficulty?" exclaimed Ford. "Difficulty? What do you mean, difficulty?
> It's the single simplest machine in the entire Universe!"
> The marketing girl soured him with a look.
> "Alright, Mr. Wiseguy," she said, "if you're so clever, you tell us what
> colour it should be."
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