Re: Alan Kay's new project
Brian Rice <water <at> tunes.org>
2007-02-12 00:34:51 GMT
On Feb 11, 2007, at 11:47 AM, Mark Haniford wrote:
>> I'm still
>> in wait-and-see mode, personally. Also, don't forget that research
>> projects have absolutely no commitment to be useful or forthcoming to
>> other open-source hackers, so don't take it for granted that we can
>> just join in on the fun
> It was my understanding that the system would be somewhat language
> agnostic. Now whether it is useful for Slate or not is another
> matter, but I don't know why you would think that anybody thinks
> that research projects have some kind of obligation to open source
Don't set me up as a straw man - I don't believe that others *think*
that research projects have such an obligation, but the mere idea
that this would be useful to anyone but those who use their artifact
(the exact piece of code as they release it) means that there is a
social connection which may not be satisfactory because of different
>> - after all, Squeak was "open-source" for 6
>> years before there was a community not directly attached to Alan that
>> had *any* say over its direction.
> If it's open source then anybody has much say over the code as
> they want. I'm not sure what you're getting at, besides maybe
> some grudge against Alan Kay.
The problem for years was that Kay's team moved in whatever direction
they liked without reference to those who were using Squeak outside
of Disney, except to product versioned releases. Sure, we could hack
on Squeak, but the next revision might make everything bizarrely
incompatible or combine compelling additions with algorithmic slow-
downs and complexities in Morphic that were not documented for a
while and which the core team kept resisting suggestions or patches for.
I don't have a grudge, but it bears repeating that a license is not
sufficient for a satisfying community experience.
For example, there are cleanups to Squeak's I/O system from 1997 and
maintained as a fork for all these years that I adopted in Slate
easily but still are not main-line Squeak features. I also spent a
lot of time trying to divine Self's secrets and not getting far
because the released source wasn't clear or concise enough at all.
I guess I should just simply state that there are disadvantages to
the publicity addition of Alan Kay, in that it draws a large and
creative crowd that then doesn't necessarily find a workable social
situation ("too many cooks spoil the broth" combined with multiple
statements by Kay himself that he doesn't care that much about
Smalltalk or Squeak as platforms).
>> I'd prefer a situation where we can take the lessons from there and
>> morph Slate along those lines (and hopefully even re-use some code),
>> and as I've stated before, I don't care how much Slate has to change
>> if it means that the idea succeeds.
> Agreed, and that's why I posted, so that any code that can be
> leveraged in order to implement the ideas of Slate can be looked at.
Cool, well I'm keeping my eye open, and hopefully we'll be able to
see some of the purported advancements and make use of them easily. I
really want this to work, I just have to state my doubts... a lot of
my experiences in the last few years have re-iterated for me that the
most important thing about any project (commercial or open-source) is
the quality of the people and how socially gracious they are, not
just in their words but their actions.
Ian has dropped the ball before on JIT compilers and VM projects, and
Slate also has obviously hit a huge snag with Lee's drop-off in
enthusiasm even though I have faith in the worthwhileness of the idea.
And on the other hand, maybe I'll just figure out how to layer PMD +
Slate-ish syntax on that run-time and be happy with that.
>> Coke/Pepsi also seem very single-dispatch-centric, for the record.
> Yeah I know, it's limiting. I'm off to hack some Dylan code.