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

vfclists . vfclists at gmail.com
Wed Apr 30 15:38:44 EDT 2014

On 30 April 2014 19:33, Esteban A. Maringolo <emaringolo at gmail.com> wrote:

> 2014-04-30 15:07 GMT-03:00 Jimmie Houchin <jlhouchin at gmail.com>:
> > 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.
> That's certainly an interpretation.
> I didn't mean it wants to REMOVE compatibility, but I did mean it
> doesn't wan't backward compatibility with Smalltalk per se. Sometimes
> it isn't compatible with previous versions of itself!
> I remember having read exactly that: "we don't want backward
> compatibility".
> > 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.
> This is exactly what I meant.
> > 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.
> As a disclaimer I'm a strong defender of not hiding the "Smalltalk"
> heritage in Pharo.
> However there is no need to name something "Pharo Smalltalk" to have a
> connection with its past, but also no need to avoid any mention of the
> word Smalltalk in the new home page. At least from the SEO point of
> view. :)
> Regards,
> Esteban A. Maringolo

The problem here is that if you downplay the Smalltalk foundations of Pharo
then you only reinforce the impression that Smalltalk is outdated when it
is revealed that Pharo is a Smalltalk. What matters more is whether Pharo
is a "Smalltalk done right", or Smalltalk for the New web 3.0 era, where
none of the popular languages offer a live coding environment.

An open source Smalltalk should really target Python in the areas where
Python is used as a scripting front end to systems written in higher
performance languages, ie stuff like Blender, Unity, Gephi etc. Power users
who need live interactive environments should be the main target of a tool
like Pharo. That also fits with early Smalltalk designers principles which
were focused on helping end users model their stuff, children to a large

For software developers something like Smalltalk/X would probably be a
better bet if the licensing could draw more developers to it, or one of the
other Java based Smalltalk if they were finished. They need better
interoperability and the ability to drop down to C or some other low level
language when they need it. Software developers are not thinking about what
they can do with it now, they are thinking of what they will not be able to
do with it 18 months down the line.

Frank Church

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