Squeak and the Internet

Mark Guzdial guzdial at cc.gatech.edu
Fri May 29 16:27:46 UTC 1998

>One place it seems to me that Squeak has some intriguing potential is in
>the VM universe, where Java has kind of staked out the turf. There would
>be some obvious advantages to a Smalltalk VM vs. a Java VM, not the
>least of which is the relative maturity and completeness of the whole
>Smalltalk world as evidenced by Squeak.
>The VM is clearly under 500K. What isn't clear to me is how much would
>have to be added to the VM to create a browser-usable (applet-like) or
>stand-alone, networkable application relying on the VM. Clearly that is
>to some extent application-specific, but what is the general feeling of
>the community?

Squeak Central has already done a lot of thinking on this, so I'll let them
tell that side of the story.

Lex Spoon and I just got some pilot funding to explore creating a very
small VM for Web executable code.  The practical problem that we're facing
is having kids write code to distribute or to execute on a server.  Kids
aren't usually trying to hack the system, but the code that they write
often does cause severe "Denial of Access" errors.

Our hypothesis is that the problem lies in providing a VM that can do
everything.  Most people don't want to download word processors or
spreadsheets.  Most Java applets do something much more simple -- maybe
visualize some live data, maybe do a little simulation.  We think that we
can produce a Squeak-based VM in which one can NOT do a word processor, but
which we can guarantee no denial-of-service errors.

Our brief proposal, for those who might be interested, is at


Mark Guzdial : Georgia Tech : College of Computing : Atlanta, GA 30332-0280
(404) 894-5618 : Fax (404) 894-0673 : guzdial at cc.gatech.edu

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