[squeak-dev] We need to talk about graphics

Peter Crowther peter at ozzard.org
Fri Jul 3 15:10:58 UTC 2020

On Thu, 2 Jul 2020 at 09:22, karl ramberg <karlramberg at gmail.com> wrote:

> Faster, smoother graphics would be really good.
> At the same time I like access to everything within the image.
> If you could only choose one of these, which would you choose? "Access to
everything within the image" is a really large anchor to attach to a
graphics subsystem these days.  We have a single-threaded Smalltalk that
has deep assumptions about a single memory space and a single rectangular
display area of consistent properties wired in over forty years of
development.  Meanwhile, modern graphics subsystems are *very* heavily
parallel, use custom hardware, and you try to offload everything you can to
the coprocessor because you don't want it even in your memory space.

If we want a teaching and learning system that can be understood and
modified by a normal programmer, we keep everything in the image and accept
limited facilities and slowness.  If we want something that makes use of
all of the varied and wonderful capabilities of modern graphics hardware
then a) what's the smallest subset we'll accept (to make it easy to port
Squeak to new platforms), b) what knowledge do we require of anyone who
wishes to investigate the graphics subsystem?


- Peter
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