Don't be nice if this big company sponsor Squeak ?

Jon Hylands jon at
Wed Nov 15 16:20:30 UTC 2006

Hi everyone,

I chatted with Eric this morning (we are old friends), and he sent this to
me, to post for him (after reading the thread on Yahoo Groups):

(and, btw, Eric reminded me it was a Tek 4404/4406, not a 4044)


On Wed, 15 Nov 2006 08:13:36 -0800, Eric Arseneau <Eric.Arseneau at>

You guys have no idea what it was like seeing Dan Ingalls walk out of a 
Sun building.  I thought I had stepped into the twilight zone :)  Then 
to find out he worked in Sun Labs on some really cool stuff, I could not 
resist finding a way to work for him.

When I did, it turned out to be for this Squawk project.  This project 
also turns out to be quite interesting in itself.  As Dan points out it 
is targeted towards resource constrained devices and is/was intended to 
be modeled after Squeak.  In fact, check out the attached logo I came up 
with for fun.  But Dan wont let me use until we come to the full 
realization of generating the entire VM from Java (we are missing the 
interpreter at the moment due to some shortcut taken a year or two ago).

And as Jon pointed out, I may not have written Pocket Smalltalk, I did 
do a significant amount of work with Andrew Brault (the original author) 
on the final version and some the Squeak version which was never 
completely released. I did however write Pocket Java, which was Java 
running on top of Pocket Smalltalk.  Andrew thought I was a complete nut 
for doing this, when I could work on such a beatiful language as 
Smalltalk :)  Here are the slides from the Smalltalk Solutions 99, where 
Andrew and I presented this stuff

One more comment, to answer Another Dave
"Now, they are going to try again using a Java syntax. This sounds
silly to me, as Java is just a "simplified" version of the very languages
the article says they are trying to replace!

The only thing this will have in common with Squeak is that they both have
VM. The writers could just as well have compared Squawk to .Net, or, uh,

You are sort of correct on the syntax part, however you miss the point 
that Java is much more than its syntax, it is its tools, its libraries 
and accessibility that are more important.  Just like Smalltalk, 
although the Smalltalk syntax does speak for itself quite well :)  Being 
able to leverage those things does make implementing the VM in Java 
useful to a number of people who may or may not be comfortable with 
building a VM.  Never mind all the cool stuff you can do using a real 
environment over C/C++.  And the commonality is the ideology behind 
Squawk is to write the VM in its own language, as well as write most of 
it in itself, reducing the number of necessary primitives.  Up until a 
few months back, the GC was written AND executed in Java by the 
interpreter.  This is concept that Java people had not really contended 
with before and it really throws them for a loop :)

Eric Arseneau


   Jon Hylands      Jon at

  Project: Micro Seeker (Micro Autonomous Underwater Vehicle)
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