[Vm-dev] Compiling squeak-vm for Linux 64bit

Bert Freudenberg bert at freudenbergs.de
Tue Mar 17 09:32:30 UTC 2009

On 17.03.2009, at 08:37, José L. Redrejo Rodríguez wrote:

> El lun, 16-03-2009 a las 19:57 -0400, David T. Lewis escribió:
>> On Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 07:36:22PM -0400, whaevr wrote:
>>> On Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 7:27 PM, David T. Lewis  
>>> <lewis at mail.msen.com> wrote:
>>>> Excellent, good progress. A word of caution though: Be careful not
>>>> to set the expectation that this is a solid VM. It compiles and  
>>>> runs,
>>>> but I can guarantee 100% that there will be problems at runtime,
>>>> including crashing the VM when certain functions are exercised.  
>>>> This
>>>> is just a matter of working though the type declarations in some VM
>>>> plugins (and the sound functions apparently), but we are not there
>>>> yet for 64-bit platforms and EToys users are not going to be happy
>>>> if the VM crashes in the middle of their creative work ;)
>>> Alright then, I'll hold off on sending the pkgbuilds then. I  
>>> haven't sent
>>> them yet, I've been trying to figure out if its possible to do a  
>>> selective
>>> svn checkout. I don't need to checkout the the windows and mac  
>>> versions.
>> Bert, help me out on this. Who is the target audience? It's great if
>> this get released to folks on an experimental basis, but it would be
>> a mistake to provide it to EToys users who expect a stable and  
>> reliable
>> system.

Etoys and the Squeak VM is getting packaged into many more Linux  
distributions recently. José pioneered this last year with his  
packaging for Debian. It went into Fedora a few weeks ago and  
yesterday Mandriva.  It's not even that we (Etoys devs) are pushing  
this, but it is a natural outcome of us trying to work with the larger  
open source community. In fact we don't even know of all packaging  
efforts - such as Pat's attempt to make it work in 64 bit archlinux.

A big surge is coming from Etoys being distributed as part of the  
Sugar platform (the UI originally developed for the OLPC XO-1 kids  
laptop). SugarLabs just released version 0.84.0 with big fanfare and  
so I expect many more packagers to try and making Etoys work on their  
favorite system, for which the Squeak VM is a dependency.

>>> Suppose I should wait then for the next stable squeak release?
>> I'm not sure what the timing would be on this. The stable, supported
>> Squeak VMs are currently targeted at 32-bit platforms, and for the
>> most part people using 64-bit platforms are probably building their
>> own. My hunch is that most users of 64-bit VMs are either hobbyists
>> like me, or people running servers (such as Seaside web applications)
>> where the various multimedia plugins are not important. For EToys,
>> the multimedia functions should work without problems, so that is
>> why I am saying to be cautious.
> I can not agree. I'm using the ltsp project in the secondary schools  
> of
> my region: there is a ltsp server with 8 Gb of RAM in every classroom
> with 15-30 thin clients. These servers use amd64, betweeen some other
> non so obvious reasons, to be able to use correctly the 8 Gb of ram,  
> and
> I have to use i386 emulation to be able to poorly run Squeak because  
> the
> vm breaks whenever they want to use sound, the plugin (in fact the
> plugin doesn't work in i386b either), pango, gstreamer, etc. I'm
> speaking of 3.200 servers plus 60.000 clients. And the users are
> teachers and students, not hobbyists who can compile a vm by
> themselves... Also, the squeak-vm is in the Debian repository,  
> compiled
> for non-i386 architectures used in the sugar project and, obviously,
> with the same bugs.
> And many other places using Debian Edu now know of Squeak and,  
> whenever
> they want to use a good ltsp server for the classes, they can not use
> Squeak. So, from my point of view, at least fixing sound and pango is
> urgent in 64 bits VMs, as both things are used by default in the etoys
> image. Fixing the browser plugin should be done also for all the  
> archs,
> obviously.
> Regards.
> José L.

That is interesting news. I was not aware anybody is seriously wanting  
to use Etoys on 64 bits. Besides, I though that amd64 is capable of  
running 64 and 32 bit software side-by-side just fine so there is no  
urgent need to clean up the VM (although I'm of course thankful to  
David who is hacking away on this). As far as I know it's not  
"emulation" at all, so why do you say it runs "poorly"?

- Bert -

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