[squeak-dev] Bootstrapping

Jecel Assumpcao Jr jecel at merlintec.com
Mon Jun 30 17:52:24 UTC 2008

Claus Kick wrote:
> tim Rowledge wrote:
> *snip*
> > But it really doesn't matter. Nothing we can do will stop some people  
> > from making pointless objections and raising a ruckus. They just don't  
> > like Smalltalk.

I call this the "Mac slots" syndrome. Back when the Mac was first
introduced I was amazed that the most popular excuse by far for
rejecting it was "it doesn't have slots and I can't buy a computer that
I can't expand as time goes on". I would have expected to hear that it
didn't have needed applications or that it was too expensive, but these
became common later (and are used to this day). When the Mac II and Mac
SE came out in 1987, guess how many of these complainers bought one?

Changing yourself to please people who currently don't like you doesn't
always get results.

> How did my former boss (Smalltalk software development shop) say it: 
> Their loss - why should I help them see the light?

This is a very important point - they think it is our loss, that their
suggestions will add good things to Squeak and won't hurt anything we
already have. But as you mention below, other Smalltalks like
GNU/Smalltalk already have these features. So an alternative would be to
add EToys to one of them.

How about Self? Its VM is hand written C++ code. It includes the
compiler so it can build a new image entirely from a set of source files
(which happen to be already organized nicely into one-module-per-file
chunks divided in several subdirectories). It includes a version of
Morphic, which I personally find nicer than Squeak's (but far less
complete since it is older). The VM has advanced adaptive compilation
technology and performs very well.

So I nominate Self for Debian! Oh... right... the Linux port is very
outdated and was never complete in the first place. Why is that? Because
of all the "advantages" I listed above. Because of doing everything
right from the Linux viewpoint.

There are many things that are just fine in theory but never happen in
real life: a good Linux port of Self, an implementation of EToys in
Python, Squeak running on the Strongtalk VM and so on. Some of the
"flaws" that have pointed out in Squeak are exactly what have made
possible in practice for it to have great ports to many OSes and to
serve as the platform for EToys.

>  From the list, I gather that they like GNU/Smalltalk, probably because 
> of the prefix. Other than that: Is it that important to get the Debian 
> crowd to accept Etoys?

Do they want to reject it entirely or just want to lump it in the "non
free" repositories? Having Squeak live next to Adobe Acrobat Reader
rather than beside GIMP isn't something that worries me very much.

-- Jecel

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