Promoting Squeak/Smalltalk

Laurence Rozier laurence.rozier at
Wed Jan 30 15:33:20 UTC 2008

On Jan 30, 2008 4:20 AM, Colin Putney <cputney at> wrote:

> On 29-Jan-08, at 9:48 PM, Laurence Rozier wrote:
> > While I don't agree, I also don't see anything inherently wrong or
> > bad about this view - to each his own. However, it isn't consistent
> > with the original goals of Smalltalk nor the "programming for the
> > rest of us" statement currently on the Squeak About page. I know
> > there are others who  don't want to see the community expand very
> > much and if that is a consensus then the About page ought to be
> > changed to reflect it. Although Smalltalk as an SDK is a stretch in
> > my view, Croquet makes clear who its audience is - truth in
> > advertising. If the Squeak community really doesn't want Squeak to
> > be for "everyone" that ought to be clear up front.
> Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that we make the community
> into some kind of elitist club where outsiders aren't welcome. I
> really like the way this community treats newcomers, and I wouldn't
> want to change that. I'm a recent arrival myself!
> What I *am* saying is that I don't think we should be trying to
> achieve "popularity."


> We should put our efforts into developing our
> technology and empowering the community.

I agree - the question is what is needed to empower a community that
includes "everyone"?

> If that happens to attract
> new members, great! If not, that's fine too. The community we have
> today is large enough to be successful.

I suppose it depends on what the definition of "success" is. The constant
and justified "million euros" comments are a clear reminder that there are
unmed needs. In 2000, I had to hire a Smalltalker for an internet startup. I
interviewed or had conversations a good number of very experienced folk all
of whom really wanted to be making their living from Smalltalk. It was hard
then and still is. Yes Seaside and Croquet are opening doors but do the math
- that's not an abundance of positions  even for the most talented
Squeakers. Getting a Squeak based project funded inside a company(large or
small) is also hard. As a result Smalltalk and Squeak will continue to
survive well into the future, but most of the people attracted to it(along
with their families, friends and co-workers) will not get to use it broadly.
We'll continue to use software that just sucks or is a poor imitation which
is sad because it doesn't have to be that way and for a few short years it
There are ways out of the current mess, but people first have to acknowledge
the mess and/or there has to be a significant wave of new adopters. Then the
community has to be willing to make the difficult tradeoffs needed to climb
out of the quicksand. In my view, survival is a necessary ingredient for
success not the goal.


> Colin
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