[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

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

> At 09:26 AM 6/12/2003 -0700, you wrote:
> >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!".
> An image is nothing more and nothing less than a full memory 
> dump that can be restarted from where it left off. It is true 
> that, for Squeak, your only option is to re-invoke the image 
> (which is actually really fast), but this is not true of 
> other smalltalks. Smalltalk/X, for example, will read source 
> files (and JIT the code) on startup if there is no image.

This reminds me of an interesting question raised in Raskin's "The Human Interface."  Why on earth doesn't the operating system consist of an image that can be saved when you "shut down" and loaded when you "start up", so that your boot time is as minimal as just mmapping the image back into memory?  In this case your boot would consist of loading a simple bootloader that could load the memory image, then away you'd go.

It seems like Squeak (and other image-based environments) have almost achieved this.
> >The second thing I dislike is that my experience is that these
> >environments don't interact very well with the outside world.  For
> Emacs users scorn other, random text editors for the same 
> reason that the creators of Squeak scorn text editors in 
> general: both Emacs and Smalltalk are extremely powerful and 
> completely unmatched in capability once you know how to use 
> their power.

Yes, but one of the advantages of Perl over other offerings is the inherent glue-ish nature of the thing.  You can easily pipe data in and out of other applications, munge the data around, and shoot it off to a separate program, all in a few lines of code.

"Closed world" environments like Squeak seem to force you to reinvent the world -- instead of rendering your 3D image using GNUPlot, write your own Smalltalk plot utility!  Instead of editing text in an existing editor, use the Object Browser!  Don't spell check with ISpell -- create SqueakSpell! (I'm jesting -- please!)

I'm sure you are all right that these new creations are more elegant and better-designed for the long run.  But it's also a big reason why people fire up old reliable (Perl) when the just want to do a quick job.

(Who really does want to be convinced otherwise)