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Re: Why Images Bother People (or, at least me)

On Thu, 12 Jun 2003, Brent Fulgham wrote:

> > "I can easily edit a ruby program in a text editor and run it from the
> > command line."
> >
> > Never mind that you *could* trivially set up, say, a Squeak
> > image so that you could edit source in a file and run it from
> > the shell - that would be completely missing the point, and you
> > might as well be using Ruby.  This isn't something that would even
> > occur to a non-programmer ("yeah, Excel is nice, but I'd rather edit
> > my spreadsheet with a text editor..."), and I find it ludicrous that
> > it's considered a requirement for "professional" work.
> One reason I don't particularly care for the whole "image" concept is
> that it seems overly monolithic.  You can't make use of a small language
> core that only loads resources it needs for the job at hand -- you load
> the whole 50 Meg image, whether you want to access a database or play
> MPEG movies, or just print "Hello, World!".

Of course, a lot of long-time Squeak users don't like that either...

> The nice thing about things like Perl, Python, or PLT Scheme is that
> they are very modular and can quickly start up and perform a job for me.
> They only load the libraries and modules needed by my program.

Squeak has two efforts that will allow it to reach that point. Basically
the Squeakmap package system is going to host major components of the
image as separate packages, and basic or core Squeak will be a much
smaller image that can download and install Squeak packages in a similar
way as apt-get or some other tools. The Squeakmap app also allows caching
and the treating of the cache as a "distribution".

There is also the Squat project at http://www.netjam.org/squat/ which is
producing 150k images these days which can load new code over an
authenticated socket and can be remotely browsed and controlled.
Eventually it will present a stdio interface and be invocable that way (I
believe this is to be called "Squipt").

As to the choice of developer environment, the stdio option makes the GNU
Smalltalk inferior emacs mode applicable. (That mode wasn't working for a
while, but it seems to be repaired, although the browser functions are

So, Squeak definitely is not standing still on this issue.

Brian T. Rice
LOGOS Research and Development