Promoting Squeak/Smalltalk

David Zmick dz0004455 at
Wed Jan 30 03:24:09 UTC 2008

i agree, but i also think that we should develop client applications, not
just the language. For example in "Squeak By Example" you make quinto, and
the rest is about developing, you dont really make anything, just learn how
to make the language better.  In my java book, there are at least 20
applications you write.  My point is, i think smalltalk should be used for
application development instead of just developing smalltalk.  It seems
pointless to me to develop a language so that people can continue to develop
the language, its like an infinite loop.  Thats what i see.

On Jan 29, 2008 6:51 PM, Colin Putney <cputney at> wrote:

> On 29-Jan-08, at 3:42 PM, Joshua Gargus wrote:
> > The benefits of popularity seem clear.  There would be more smart
> > people with more spare time to contribute good ideas and code.
> > There would be more jobs and a better chance of making a living
> > using the language.  The second benefit would feed into the first,
> > and vice-versa.
> Well, I agree that smart people contributing to the community would be
> a good thing. But popularity doesn't necessarily imply smart people,
> it just means *more* people. I think the community we have today is
> actually quite good. The "unpopularity" of Smalltalk acts as a filter.
> To be a Smalltalker you've got to be smart enough to recognize the
> benefits, confident enough to leave the mainstream, and resourceful
> enough to overcome the obstacles that working in an "unpopular"
> language entails. If Smalltalk were more popular, I doubt we would
> actually get all that many more "smart people" than we have now.
> Now, making a living using the language. Popularity would probably
> bring more jobs, but it would also bring more programmers to compete
> for those jobs. It would probably also lower the average salary of
> Smalltalk jobs. That might or might not be a good thing.
> > The question is whether the benefits outweigh the costs.  Since the
> > benefits seem obvious to me, I'll assume that you're really
> > expressing skepticism about whether the benefits outweigh the
> > costs.  What do you think the costs are? (I can think of a few, but
> > I'm curious about what others think)
> I guess there are two costs. One is the effort and sacrifices required
> to make Smalltalk popular. For example, we might try creating a Ruby-
> on-Rails clone in Smalltalk, in order to take advantage of the current
> vogue in web apps. That would be a fair amount of work, presumably
> done by people who might otherwise be working on things that benefit
> the existing community. Or perhaps Seaside could be "dumbed down" so
> it could be marketed to the kind of developer that doesn't like the
> "magic" of continuations. That makes Seaside worse for the rest of us.
> The other cost is all the noise that would get introduced into the
> community. Sure, Java has more libraries than Smalltalk, but most of
> them are just crap. All they do is make it harder to find the good
> stuff, and diffuse the energy of the community.
> In general, I think we'd be better to focus not on popularity, but on
> community. Yes, a certain size is required for the community to
> function well, but beyond that there are diminishing returns from
> further growth. As long as the VM gets maintained, libraries written,
> bugs fixed, questions answered, newbies encouraged - as long as the
> community is functioning - Smalltalk is sufficiently popular.
> Colin
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