From: Hans Franke <>
Date: Wed Dec 16 13:17:46 1998

(I'll add to Doug, since he already scored some points)

> On Tue, 15 Dec 1998, Max Eskin wrote:
> > Well, I'm afraid I didn't understand your reply about how Star was
> > better than other UIs, Hans (sorry I can't quote the message). I can't
> > see how a UI could really completely obscure the hardware of a machine
> > (I think that's what you meant). What if you need to save to a floppy
> > disk? How do you obscure the physical machine in that?

> One of the messages was that Xerox (and Apple, and Microsoft) didn't get
> it. The GUI has come to mean "easy enough for an idiot to use", but the
> original NLS message was "let the machine allow you to be smarter than you
> really are". It's a subtle but important difference, and the NLS mindset
> means that you don't necessarily try to hide the underlying machine or
> make everything WYSIWYG *if there are more powerful ways to work*.

I thought about 'hide' in the sense of not showing technical terms
where they are not needed. For example, with Win you still have a
FD named A: and a HD named C: (or with the Amiga df0: etc.) these
are technical terms that are not necersary for the machine nor the
user either. Or think about file extensions ... etc.

Of course, over the years these artifacts have decreased, but
they are still there and influence new developments (or should
I say hinder ?)

One of the best developments of the last years was the Newton.
Basicly an organizer, but instead of just compressing a desktop
(like WinCE) they developed a new, OO (sorry Doug) way to make
the tool usable - For me it's a notebook that 'thinks' while
I'm writing. They realy designed someting new, exciteing _AND_
usefull, a 'thing' to use and enhance the user, not another
stupid technofilled computer. The Newton was a discovery to me
like my first KIM, Apple ][ and the Star (and nothing like it
was between)

> > I haven't really looked at smalltalk, but here I have a 1983 issue of
> > Popular Computing that describes it. It shows a sample which sadly makes
> > little sense to an unenlightened one :( Is there a free version of
> > Smalltalk for the PC that you would recommend for learning?

I didn't use Smalltalk for years, but a good start might be:
(or better
And from IBM there is almost a course:
IBM supports also with VisualAge for Smalltalk an actual tool with
up to date PC integration (The complete Visual Age series is worth
a try - The best progamming environment fo PCs today). Integration
of Smalltalk into other systems have always been a bit clumbsy,
since Smalltak is selfcontained.

There are several professional (speak made to earn money)
systems available for free (like Smalltalk Express ). I think there
is even a GNU Smaltalk, but I don't know if it can catch up.
Squeak is also free AFAIK.

And for the obscure there is Little Smalltalk - a very tiny, non
graphical system, completely available as source. If I remember
corectly its from a Mr. Budd at the Oregon State Univ.

And classic Smaltalk implementations can run on a 4.77 MHz 8088
with graphical environment in a speed good enough to test it.
And on a 386sx with lets say 2 MB mem its a rocket :)

> Yes! If fact, Alan Kay et al have implemented a new(er) Smalltalk-like
> language called Squeak that was made just for you! (Thanks to Rax for
> pointing this out.)

Squeak is an interesting implementation (and
a good source :). I havn't watched them for a while, but the
web page sounds impressive

> > How does smalltalk compare to LISP? I've got a book on LISP that I haven't
> > looked through due to lack of time.

> I think the only similarity might be garbage collection and no pointers
> (essentially the same thing). They're not related at all, AFAIK.

Exactly - like Pilot and Basic :)

> > Also, you said that OS/2 is more OO than others. Which version? I have 2.0
> > here and not only is it slower than molasses, it's basically the same as
> > Windows 95 in terms of design, implementation, and so on.

> OO stands for Oh so modular and Oh so slow. :-)

Ges what, I'm doing Assembly programming, and the concepts are
OO ... and its as fast as ever ... OO isn't a class of tools,
it's a way of thinking, and I like it.

> There's nothing magic about "objects." The Object Guys emphasize data
> over procedures, and the Procedural Guys vice versa

In fact, there is (almost) no diference between good procedural
and good OO design - at the end there is a machine cycle to be
done - all this concepts are just schools to think and to help
you organize your work. Its just, with all this tools programmers
spend most the time in fighting the concept (and the quirks of
the tool) instead of using it.

> (ooh, more Latin, sorry Sam).

C'mon, English is based 40% on Latin and French (and the rest
is German), so why bee afraid of just two words :)


Ich denke, also bin ich, also gut
Received on Wed Dec 16 1998 - 13:17:46 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:30:49 BST