[Squeakfoundation]Chaordic Purpose

Paul Fernhout squeakfoundation@lists.cdegroot.com
Thu, 26 Apr 2001 10:06:02 -0400

Cees de Groot wrote:
> [Other good points snipped]
> 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 

That seems to be similar to what other people have posted on this
list (Dave, Dwight). So, at least we have some more clarity on that.
There is no reason the purpose has to please everyone (or me), so it's
OK if people don't want a purpose that is overly broad.
Self-organization involves those units for which it makes sense to
self-organize around an issue. As Cees also points out, one can still
find other organizations for broader purposes, and the same person can
still support two different types of activity.

So, then basically the Squeak Foundation purpose is about promoting
Squeak and supporting processes the develop it for maximum value for
various user communities?

I guess I always saw Squeak's purposes as a bit broader still, relating
more to "individual and group empowering transparent ubiquitous
computing". For example, I see Squeak concepts as providing an OS
neutral platform for various languages (Python, Lisp, Forth) [an open
source .NET] and I don't see how that is going to fit into a mission
statement that links to Squeak as is with a perception of a Smalltalk
environment only. Granted, most people joining this list may have no
direct interest in this, so that is not to say the purpose of the
organization should necessarily incorporate that, especially if it has
detrimental effect by making things too overly broad.

Here's an alternative -- anchor the effort on one side by Squeak and
have it open ended on the other. For example, "To assist the evolution
of a individual and group empowering transparent open-source ubiquitous
computing platform starting from the initial Squeak code base".

I don't think this is out of character with for example where Alan Kay
has wanted to go with Squeak in regards to a "Dynabook".

> 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.

Agreed. And it will also then be useful for mission related advertising
on a foundation's web pages (so it has value by itself).

However, since Squeak is many things, it might also be useful for people
to define what the "Squeak" is that they are referring to. Is it the
"artifact" in the sense of the current code base, or is it the "process"
in the sense of moving the image forward, or is it the "community" as in
the Squeak mailing list? Or is it the Smalltalk-powered Dynabook
"vision" articulated by Alan Kay?

Here is an example of how the world currently sees Squeak, from the
April 30, 2001 Newsweek Magazine article on Microsoft's creation of what
they think of as a Dynabook. From page 70, at the bottom: "Thacker took
the prototype [Microsoft Tablet PC] to the Imagineering research lab at
Walt Disney Co., where Alan Kay now heads a team trying to bring a buff
update of Smalltalk into the 21st century." Is that how Squeak should be
seen? A "buff update of Smalltalk", perhaps fitting into a larger
Microsoft .NET world? What sort of thing would we have wanted the
journalist to have written or been able to write (true at the moment or

-Paul Fernhout
Kurtz-Fernhout Software 
Developers of custom software and educational simulations
Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator