[squeak-dev] Re: Windows service: Win2k to the rescue - slightly

Bill Schwab BSchwab at anest.ufl.edu
Wed Oct 15 20:17:33 UTC 2008


Thanks for the clarification.

I run a fair amount of server code, but (so far) very little of it is
pure.  Various forces are leading me to want to correct that.  In one
case (the serial communications), the boxes are largely appliances.  I
have been running desktop apps on them out of expediency.  That is also
true on my servers.  In both cases, a desktop app served a purpose,
because I did not have to create a separate GUI to manage the services.

For both classes of machine, I have opportunity (and in one case a
growing need) to turn some of the operational work over to others.  The
more Linux I can do the better, but completely moving away from Windows
will take some real effort; more below.  But Seaside enters as a nice
way to replace and extend the web functionality I offer, but it also
should be able to replace the management GUIs on the servers and
appliances.  There are enough of the latter machines that I want to make
it brain-dead simple to configure Apache; each of those machines will be
a web server, and pretty simple to use - plug it in and turn it on.  The
machines are almost that simple now in truth, and most of the trouble
stems from stupid features of an OS that will remain nameless ;)   

My primary cash cow feeds data into all of the above, and it is a
combination of a hands-off data gathering system and fairly intense user
interface.  Here, Linux would help me some (ok, a lot) with maintenance,
but it forces me to replace some nice printing, serialization, and
low-level user interface features.  While I think dumping Windows is the
correct decision, these machines will be the last to switch, in part
because device drivers are being a pain (pen tablets), and I really
should just rewrite the code to make the move.  If that sticks, then I
can later convert the legacy data, and put Tux's likeness on any
adhesive-friendly surface I can find.  While I work on other parts of
the system, I will be watching for signs that I need to rethink the use
of Squeak/Pharo over other Smalltalks.  Don't get me wrong, I hope it
can stand up to the beating, and plan to use it if it indeed can.


Andreas Raab andreas.raab at gmx.de

Bill Schwab wrote:
> Ok, Zen session management.  One thing I like about Dolphin's
> is there is a clear startup, so things like initializing the network
> have a home and do not need to appear anywhere else.  Here, it
> that Seaside was running when the image was saved, so it's running
> it reloads.  The startup lists seem to cause a mix of initialization
> sometimes simply tear things down to force subsequent lazy
> initialization.  Is that a reasonable summary?

Depends on the app. You might want to ask this question on the Seaside

> As for preferred OS, this comes to you courtesy of Ubuntu.  The
> concern I have is that the switch involves some platform independent
> graphics that will be non-trivial to replace.

Ah, I see. I thought that you were running pure server code since you 
were interested in Apache+Seaside+Services. If your project isn't
portable it is probably not the right approach.

> Asking this of the creator and maintainer of the Windows VM is
perhaps a
> little cruel, but please understand it is not meant that way.  Do
> have a sense of whether Windows is to be avoided because it is
> junk, or because the Windows port of Squeak has inherent flaws?

I like Windows. I like Squeak. I use them every day. But it doesn't
me to confuse it with a reliable server OS anymore than I would think
running a production service on the iPhone or the Xbox. They are all 
great for what they do but it's not running services.

> IIRC, you reached a point of frustration with Squeak, and were
> of rewriting some servers in Java.  That triggered some semaphore
> delay fixes that seemed to be quite helpful to many users.  Did that
> the troubles for you?  Did you further find it necessary to dump
> to get relief (that's probably a little redundant given your
> Were you able to avoid the server rewrites?

This is not an entirely accurate recollection of the events but the 
delay and semaphore fixes greatly helped reliability of our services 
(which have always been run on Linux boxes).

   - Andreas

Wilhelm K. Schwab, Ph.D.
University of Florida
Department of Anesthesiology
PO Box 100254
Gainesville, FL 32610-0254

Email: bschwab at anest.ufl.edu
Tel: (352) 273-6785
FAX: (352) 392-7029

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