[Pharo-dev] a Pharo talk from a ruby conference

Ben Coman btc at openInWorld.com
Wed Apr 30 13:06:08 EDT 2014

Jimmie Houchin wrote:
> On 04/28/2014 11:12 AM, Marcus Denker wrote:
>> … more a Smalltalk one using Pharo:
>> MountainWest RubyConf 2014
>> Noel Rappin: "But Really, You Should Learn Smalltalk”
>> Smalltalk has mystique. We talk about it more than we use it. It 
>> seems like it should be so similar to Ruby. It has similar 
>> Object-Oriented structures, it even has blocks. But everything is so 
>> slightly different, from the programming environment, to the 1-based 
>> arrays, to the simple syntax. Using Smalltalk will make you look at 
>> familiar constructs with new eyes. We’ll show you how to get started 
>> on Smalltalk, and walk through some sample code. Live coding may be 
>> involved. You’ll never look at objects the same way again.
>>     http://www.confreaks.com/videos/3284-mwrc-but-really-you-should-learn-smalltalk 
> In this thread and many others there is this debate as to whether 
> Pharo is a Smalltalk or is Smalltalk Inspired.
> I find the Smalltalk Inspired arguments to be unpersuasive. To be 
> Smalltalk Inspired is to say that you are not a Smalltalk. It is to 
> say that Pharo is not Smalltalk but inspired by it.
> I find that reasoning patently false.
> First of all everything in Pharo begins from a Smalltalk image. It 
> comes from Squeak Smalltalk which comes from Apple Smalltalk. etc.
> Pharo has an isA relationship with Smalltalk, not an isInspiredBy 
> relationship. It may change and add features, but as has been stated 
> before, Smalltalk isn't a static idea or artifact. It has always been 
> a dynamic live environment in which to change itself into something it 
> believed to be better. By removing features and by growing them.
> Smalltalk (an instance of SmalltalkImage), SmalltalkImage, 
> SmalltalkImageTest, SmalltalkEditingState are all part of the Pharo 
> Smalltalk image.
> The Pharo image is a Smalltalk image. It says so inside the image itself.
> Where are we hosting are source code?  Would that be SmalltalkHub?
> Lets see something.
> http://www.smalltalkhub.com/#!/~Pharo
> Okay, Pharo might be doing things that would break compatibility with 
> other Smalltalks. And that causes some people pain and grief. However 
> that does not make Pharo not a Smalltalk. Was Smalltalk 76 constrained 
> by backward compatibility with Smalltalk 72? Or Smalltalk 80 with 
> either Smalltalk 76 or 72?  No!
> Is it a requirement of Pharo to be constrained by other Smalltalk 
> implementations in order to still be a Smalltalk. No!
> And then there is the argument of the outside worlds perception of 
> Smalltalk. Since when does the perception of the outside world change 
> whether or not Pharo is a Smalltalk? If the outside world changed 
> their mind and decided Smalltalk is wonderful, does Pharo then all of 
> the sudden become a Smalltalk? Ugh!
> We are who we are. Our roots are our roots. Pharo should be happy and 
> proud to be a Smalltalk. A Smalltalk that is continuing the heritage 
> of innovation. A Smalltalk that is continuing the heritage of 
> inventing the future.
> We have decided to be marketing driven. Marketing is important. But 
> marketing should determine who we are. And we should engage in 
> disingenuous marketing practice trying to hide our roots or who we are.
> Why do we things distancing ourselves from Smalltalk advantages us? 
> Just because there are lots of uneducated people who have the wrong 
> idea about Smalltalk. Clojure embraced its Lisp heritage and is 
> thriving. Lisp has every bit as much baggage.
> This talk which inspired this thread called Pharo as Smalltalk. He 
> said, Pharo Smalltalk throughout the presentation. So in the mind of 
> the presenter and now in the mind of the audience at the conference 
> and of the video, Pharo is a Smalltalk. So now are we to go about 
> re-educating all these people that Pharo is not a Smalltalk but is 
> rather Smalltalk Inspired?
> We don't require the outside world's permission. We don't need their 
> approval. We would like to have a reasonable and sufficient number of 
> them to catch the Pharo Smalltalk vision and become a part of the 
> family. Do we really desire everybody. No. Do we desire those people 
> who are so closed minded that the mention of Smalltalk closes their 
> mind because of their ignorance. I don't think so.
> Smalltalk is different. Pharo is Smalltalk and is different. There 
> will be those who don't like it because of the baggage they bring, not 
> the baggage we bring. And that is okay. All of us think different. 
> People need to embrace what empowers them and quit complaining about 
> what empowers somebody else. We need to embrace empowering people who 
> understand Smalltalk not the people who don't get it for whatever 
> reason. Let those people go and be empowered somewhere else. We and 
> they will both be better off.
> Feel free to shred and destroy my arguments. I am proud to use 
> Smalltalk. And currently Pharo is the Smalltalk I am choosing to use. 
> Currently I am studying C. A C library is required for my project and 
> in order to use Pharo and use this library, I need sufficient C skills.
> My opinion unapologetically.
> And if the powers that be who are in charge of Pharo decide that 
> Smalltalk (in name) is baggage and Pharo is not Smalltalk. And that 
> marketing Pharo as Smalltalk is bad. Then please be honest and change 
> all references in the image of Smalltalk to Pharo. Also change 
> SmalltalkHub to PharoHub or SmalltalkInspiredHub.
> If if not, be sincere and embrace Pharo Smalltalk.
> Long live Smalltalk.
> Jimmie
Thanks for taking the time to write.  You have some good points.  
Looking in from outside it seems that "Smalltalk inspired" is used as 
means to break the shackles of backward compatibility.  At the time of 
the fork from Squeak backward compatibility was probably a big issue 
that felt important to plant that stake in the ground to define the new 
fork.  We all see the world based on our experiences, and our 
frustrations mold our thinking.  I think Pharo has successfully 
cultivated this aspect and maybe the "inspired" has served its purpose 
and is not needed so much.  Personally I don't mind "Smalltalk 
inspired", but actually I whenever I talk of it I find I often naturally 
say "Pharo Smalltalk".  Now if the crux of it is being unconstrained by 
Smalltalk-80, then perhaps a sufficient alternative could be: "More than 
Smalltalk-80"  or maybe being an "Innovative Smalltalk" implies that 
well enough.
cheers -ben

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