Re: [squeak-dev] Squeak Oversight Board minutes – 10/18/11

Derek O'Connell doc at
Thu Oct 20 08:25:07 UTC 2011

On 19/10/11 15:53, Randal L. Schwartz wrote:
>  Derek> What's wrong with Linux? Squeak 4.2 + CogVM running fine here
>  Derek> on Ubuntu 9.10
>  The problem we discussed is that the packages with most linux
>  distributions are *not* the CogVM yet (rightfully so). So we are
>  trying to address the issue of "get vm from packages, get image from
>  If that's a smaller issue than we should worry about... as in,
>  everyone who would be downloading 4.3 is smart enough to also pick up
>  the CogVM as well, then maybe we can just blast forward. Thoughts?

Anyone using Squeak is ipso facto "smart enough" :-) The real issue is 
are they sufficiently informed and can safe-guards put in place if 
required (hence the suggestion in another email to auto-back-up an image).

My initial response was to the implication that Linux presented some 
sort of barrier to progress. Linux packaging is not a prerequisite for 
installing other software, it's an option that helps manage the process 
and not always a gaurentee of stability. Packaging is definitely not a 
restriction on what users can do or what software creators can supply. 
Official package maintainers do a great job and should be fully 
supported but the reality is that packages will often lag latest 
developments. The curious end-user, who may be new to Squeak, should 
have an easy way to explore regardless (even if just a zipped vm, image 
and start-up script for dumping in a single folder). So, while I 
appreciate the problem/s mentioned here and elsewhere I don't think they 
should hold up progress and nothing should be delayed due to packaging 
requirements. I'm not a packager but isn't it also true that between 
major releases, aprt from bug fixes, packages typically get updated when 
end-users request it?

Another reason to take this approach is the general perception and/or 
lack of current knowledge of people who "know" Smalltalk. Here's a 
recent quote from the Raspberry-Pi forums (links below) from a general 
discussion of the pro's and con's of various programming languages...

"Smalltalk has been covered by MarkSmith and about the only other "con" 
I can think of is the relative slowness of the extra indirection caused 
by message passing rather than direct function calling."

Anyone reading that will think all Smalltalks are slow and therefore not 
worthy of consideration. Best way to overcome misconceptions is to 
provide concrete evidence to the contrary.


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