Self 4.0 Alpha

John.Maloney at Eng.Sun.COM John.Maloney at Eng.Sun.COM
Tue Feb 14 23:27:57 UTC 1995

The Self group proudly announces that Self 4.0 is now available
for alpha testing.  As soon as any remaining bugs have been
shaken out, we will be making this release publically available;
watch this space for an announcement!

Meanwhile, if you are brave, friendly, have some familiarity
with Self and would like to help us by testing the system,
please contact

  john.maloney at

He will put you on our list of alpha testers and send you a
password that you can use to download Self 4.0.

  -- Mario Wolczko, David Ungar, Randall B. Smith, John Maloney

Release 4.0 Highlights

o Release 4.0 contains an entirely new user interface and
  programming environment designed for "serious"
  programming. This environment enables the programmer to
  create and modify objects entirely within the environment,
  and then save the object into files for distribution
  purposes. You no longer have to edit source files using an
  external editor (indeed, it is discouraged). The metaphor
  used to present an object to the user is that of an outliner,
  allowing the user to view varying levels of detail. Also
  included in the environment is a graphical debugger, and
  tools for navigation through the system.

o A new version of the transporter, a facility for saving
  objects structure into files, has been used to modularize the
  system. The programming environment presents an interface to
  the module system which allows for straightforward
  categorization of objects and slots into modules, and the
  mostly-automatic saving of modules into files.  Handwritten
  source files have almost completely disappeared.

o The environment has been constructed using a new, flexible
  and extensible user interface construction kit, based on
  morphs. Morphs are flexible and general-purpose user
  interface components. An extensive collection of ready-built
  morphs is provided in the system, together with facilities to
  inspect, modify and save them to files. We believe the
  morph-based substrate provides an unprecedented degree of
  openness and flexibility in user interface construction.

o Significant engineering has been done on the Virtual Machine
  to reduce the memory footprint and enhance memory
  management. For example, a 4.0 system containing a comparable
  collection of objects to that in the 3.0 release requires 40%
  less heap space. A SELF-level interface to the memory system
  is now available that enables SELF code to be notified when
  heap space is running low, and to expand the heap.

o The privacy syntax has been removed; in the previous release
  it was accepted but privacy was not enforced. The concept of
  privacy still exists, and is visible in the user interface,
  but is supported entirely through the annotation system.

SELF currently runs on SPARC-based Sun workstations using
Solaris 2.3 or later, or SunOS 4.1.x. The compiler is an
improved version of the one used in 3.0.

System requirements

To run SELF you will need a SPARC-based Sun computer or clone
running SunOS 4.1.X or Solaris 2.3 or 2.4. To use the
programming environment you will need to run X Windows version
11 or OpenWindows on an 8-bit or deeper color or gray-scale
display. The X server need not reside on the same host as SELF.

The SELF system requires at least 20Mb of physical memory to run
well (in addition to that required by the operating system and
window system), and at least 32 Mb of additional swap
space. This means that the host machine should have at least 32
Mb of RAM, and preferably more, as Unix and X together typically
take 12Mb of memory.

If you use a machine with 32 - 48 Mb you should use the special
version of the system for these machines (the small
configuration) and close down all other non-essential programs,
otherwise SELF will page heavily. Even a single clock or mail
reader can make a difference you should have only X or
OpenWindows, a shell, and SELF.

The user interface makes substantial demands of the X server. A
graphics accelerator (such as a GX card) improves the
responsiveness of the user interface significantly, and
therefore we recommend that you use one if possible.

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