Promoting Squeak/Smalltalk

David Zmick dz0004455 at
Wed Jan 30 03:24:50 UTC 2008

and also, i like the community very much, and i agree that is probably
because of the "filtering" :)

On Jan 29, 2008 9:24 PM, David Zmick <dz0004455 at> wrote:

> 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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