[Squeakfoundation]Chaordic Purpose

Cees de Groot squeakfoundation@lists.cdegroot.com
Thu, 26 Apr 2001 13:33:27 +0200

pdfernhout@kurtz-fernhout.com said:
> "Stable Squeak" is a project.  "Better Documentation" is a project.
> "Hosting Conferences" is a project. 

> "Ensuring Reliable Technology" is a purpose. "Advancing Computer
> Literacy" is a purpose. "Encouraging Collaboration" is a purpose.

Isaw that one coming. I do think the SqF needs to stick to Squeak and that the 
reasons for doing this for Squeak should probably not be part of the purpose - 
maybe somewhere in the Constitution. You run the risk that Squeak is obsoleted 
or replaced by another project, but I think it is easier to accept Squeak as a 
given now that we think is worthwhile to make available as broadly as possible 
than to define a broader purpose which may have a longer lifecycle but will 
see us meandering all over the purpose map during the next few months, getting 
caught up in too broad discussions and eventually choking in (aaaargh) 

OTOH, there's a lot of merit in everyone here trying to answer the question 
"why Squeak?". It may give useful input to the process, and will certainly 
help in defining the scope of SqF.

I think that Smalltalk is a very important language for a very broad range of 
applications - not in the least for web-enabled software, which is my first 
interest at the moment because of my business. I also think that Smalltalk is 
much better than other languages for teaching purposes; sadly enough, teachers 
teach what the market wants (Java, C++) and not what helps in making good 
programmers. Smalltalk, IMHO, excels in transferring the principles of 
programming as a craft, and I believe in these principles. Programmers/CS 
students/... need this knowledge, and if a teacher teaches what the market 
wants, one way is to make the market want Smalltalk. Teaching people about 
computers is my second interest - partly professional because I see so many 
badly trained programmers, partly personal because I am still looking for 
something that helps me introduce computers and programming to my kids.

Together with many others I have been wanting a good, stable, free (speech) 
Smalltalk implementation, and found 95% of that in Squeak. Thanks to all the 
goodies (Morphic, Etoys, PWS/Comanche) it is frustratingly close to granting 
both wishes at once. That'd be a first, and that really raised my interest in 
Squeak. It is a unicum in that it is appliable in such a broad range of 
environments (as a teaching tool, a teacher's tool, but also a tool for 
professional programmers, students, hobbyists), and to make the most of that 
is what I wish for the SqF.

That narrows the scope of a SqF, in my opinion, to the support of Squeak. One 
could try to abstract what Squeak is and write that in the purpose, and that 
would probably produce an organization that would have a longer life, but I 
like short, to-the-point discussions and well-focused organizations - I'd 
rather put money in an organization that is good at Squeak and only Squeak 
than in some club of people who want to make the world a better place (I'm a 
schizofrenic, because at the same time I own a domain meant for excatly such 
an organization, the Software Guild ;-)).

Cees de Groot               http://www.cdegroot.com     <cg@cdegroot.com>
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