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

Jimmie Houchin jlhouchin at gmail.com
Wed Apr 30 14:52:49 EDT 2014

But that is the point. This kind of marketing is false. It denies who we 

As soon as they look at Pharo. Learn to use and then learn that Pharo is 
a Smalltalk and that we are liars.

Did keeping silent about Pharo help in the Reddit thread. No.
Did the current marketing explain well what Pharo is. No.
Read the thread. People were confused.
And regardless of the marketing attempt, the fact of Pharo being a 
Smalltalk did not remain suppressed. So therefore, those who were closed 
minded against Smalltalk have then been alerted, and they can close 
their minds. Attempting to not make it plain was an abject failure.

People who understand the value of Smalltalk and of a modern open source 
implementation will come.

I guess none of the commercial Smalltalks are alive? Nobody knows of 
them. They are going broke?

Gemstone, VisualWorks, ...

What is this new thing that people are using?

Clojure based on Lisp. Not new.
Python 23 years old.
Lua 21
Ruby 19

Clojure based on Lisp but adding modern functional features disproves 
any thought that an old language with lots of baggage can't attract new 
 From the Clojure home page. """Clojure is a dialect of Lisp"""
They embrace their heritage and are better for it. They also detail 
their value proposition and being a Lisp is part of it.

I am all agreeable to attracting people to our community. But falseness 
isn't the way.

Not everybody is closed minded and ignorant. Those that are we can wait 
until they are not.

But Pharo has to offer people the proper value proposition. When it 
does, I believe it will attract sincere people. When the value of Pharo 
meets the needs of the people, it will attact the appropriate people. 
But until then, we can market it however we want and they will not care. 
Right now Pharo is working hard to reach that point that it can offer 
them something they will value. For some it already does. For others not 
yet. That not yet, it a bigger obstacle than Pharo being marketed as a 
Smalltalk and telling the truth.

We need to embrace being a Smalltalk and sell our value proposition in 
terms that mean something to somebody who doesn't already get Smalltalk. 
We failed at that. Too vague, too ambiguous. It confused some of the 
Reddit people. People to whom we are supposedly intending to attract and 
market to.


On 04/30/2014 01:22 PM, Esteban Lorenzano wrote:
> Again… you are missing the point.
> nobody here doubts Pharo is a Smalltalk.
> nobody outside our small world believes Smalltalk is alive.
> And yes… you can argue all what you want. But you are scratching where 
> it does not itch.
> We choose not to *market* Pharo as a Smalltalk, because each time 
> someone outside our small world hear about Smalltalk believes that is 
> a long time dead language. No matter how much effort you put into 
> explain that is not true, people will not believe it. And people is 
> always more willing to try something new than something old (except in 
> the case of wines and fine alcohols, of course).
> So… we prefer to track people to our community and let them notice wat 
> WE ALL KNOW: Smalltalk is not dead, and Pharo is a proof of that.
> Esteban
> On 30 Apr 2014, at 20:07, Jimmie Houchin <jlhouchin at gmail.com 
> <mailto:jlhouchin at gmail.com>> wrote:
>> In the Smalltalk heritage. Pharo comes from Smalltalk 80.
>> But we don't want to be stuck in 1980. We want Smalltalk 2014.
>> Smalltalk 80 was modern for 1980. They didn't want to be stuck in 
>> 1976. ...
>> And Smalltalk isn't unique to this. Is C11 not a C because it is not 
>> K&R, or C89, C90 or C99?
>> Is Python 3.x not Python because it is not fully compatible with 
>> Python 2.x which is dominant?
>> Pharo wants to be a modern Smalltalk able to empower people in this 
>> era to do things that we do in 2014. We need appropriate modularity 
>> in the image. We need the image to be clean. We need to learn the 
>> lessons we as Smalltalker's have learned in the last 24 years and 
>> apply them to Pharo Smalltalk. And I believe that is much of what 
>> Pharo is attempting to do.
>> Noel in his talk said that Smalltalk doesn't play well with others. 
>> And with Pharo it still isn't as easy as in other languages like 
>> Python, Ruby, Lua, etc. But with NativeBoost we have a tool which 
>> enables us to do much. And NativeBoost isn't finished. I believe when 
>> NativeBoost is fully mature and the vm/image has sufficiently changed 
>> to enable us. We will have one of the best plays with others well 
>> stories.
>> I know in the app I am writing, NativeBoost's current condition 
>> struggled with my library. It often crashed. This library has to deal 
>> with a C Thread. Which is why I am spending my current time studying C.
>> Whether or not the Smalltalk Inspired crowd likes it, the moment some 
>> else declares that Pharo is a Smalltalk the Smalltalk Inspired 
>> marketing is tanked. The cat is out of the bag.
>> The Reddit thread demonstrates this. People went to the new website. 
>> They read the current marketing and were confused. What is this Pharo 
>> thing. And in the thread it comes out that Pharo is a Smalltalk. Lets 
>> make that clear up front. Then lets define what it means to be Pharo 
>> Smalltalk.
>> Here is an unfortunate quote from that thread.
>> """
>> emaringolo 1 point an hour ago
>> Pharo is aimed to do serious/business development, and it's been 
>> reshaping itself since its conception (several years ago when it 
>> forked from Squeak).
>> It doesn't want to have any backward or "historic" compatibility with 
>> other Smalltalks.
>> You can see its changelogs and the roadmap for future versions to see 
>> how it is different, and how it will be different.
>> """
>> This makes it sound like Pharo wants remove compatibility simply for 
>> the sake of not being a Smalltalk. As opposed to what I believe 
>> Esteban meant. And yes I understand that English is not his native 
>> language, and there are many for whom it is, who still use it poorly. 
>> What I believe he meant, is that Pharo will not be constrained by 
>> backward compatibility. If a change or feature that is of value to 
>> Pharo Smalltalk. That feature will be done even if it means breaking 
>> backward compatibility with other Smalltalk 80 based Smalltalks. We 
>> are moving forward. But this does not invalidate Pharo being a 
>> Smalltalk. As has been stated before, breaking changes happened in 
>> Smalltalk 76 and 80.
>> Smalltalk has a wonderful heritage. It is not without its issues. 
>> However the good of Smalltalk is enormous. Take a look at this chart
>> http://exploringdata.github.io/vis/programming-languages-influence-network/
>> Smalltalk is a big influence in the history of programming. This is 
>> something worth being a part of. Be proud of it.
>> Pharo needs to define what one vision of a modern Smalltalk is. Let 
>> us educate people of what our vision for Pharo Smalltalk is. And 
>> guess what folks its 2014. Before long it wont be. And before long 
>> the vision of Pharo 2014 will no longer be any more modern than 
>> Smalltalk 80. But neither Smalltalk 80 nor Pharo 3.0 constrain what 
>> it means to be Smalltalk. Smalltalk inspires vision and inspires 
>> people to do things which change the present and the future. Lets 
>> build on that heritage and take it forward. What does a modern 
>> Smalltalk snapshot 2014 mean. Lets educate and communicate. Others 
>> (non-Smalltalkers) don't get to define what Smalltalk is. We do.
>> Let us learn from them what they think Smalltalk is. Where they are 
>> wrong, educate them. Where they are right and we have an issue. Let's 
>> learn a lesson and improve our Smalltalk.
>> Computer science/art is young. This is a journey. Lets make it a good 
>> one.
>> Jimmie
>> On 04/30/2014 11:12 AM, phil at highoctane.be wrote:
>>> Pharo := Smalltalk ++
>>> On Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 5:43 PM, Jimmie Houchin <jlhouchin at gmail.com 
>>> <mailto:jlhouchin at gmail.com>> 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
>>>     <http://www.smalltalkhub.com/#%21/%7EPharo>
>>>     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

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