[self-interest] About the situation of SELF

Jecel Assumpcao Jr jecel at merlintec.com
Mon Sep 13 15:18:05 UTC 2004

"Gustavo Quiroz" <quiroz_gustavo at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Hello. I have a very s–mple question: does anyone knows why SELF is 
> no longer an official project at Sun Microsystems Laboratories? I 
> can't seem to find the answer anywhere. Thank you very much.

I was going to link to some old messages from the previous version of
this list but didn't find anything there. Just the same question (with
no answers) from January 1996:

and this comment from Mario that the Self group was now known as Kanban
(also from January 1996):

Very odd. So we will have to depend on my memory -

About the time that Self 4.0 was released (first half of 1995) Sun
decided to focus on Java on the language side (so killing Self and Tcl -
it don't remember if the unsuccesful spin off attempt for Tcl was after
this or had already happened) and Solaris on the OS side (so killing

The group was able to continue developing Self for a while after that
with the "excuse" of using it to test implementation technologies for
Java (see the Pep project -
http://www.merlintec.com/vmworkshop99/sub.pdf) and by using the remote
shared worlds of Kansas to study distance learning. At this time the
virtual machine was refactored to make it more portable and some changes
were made to make it easier to include an interpreter in the future.
Self was also extended into "Us"
(http://citeseer.ist.psu.edu/smith96simple.html), a subjective
programming language.

None of this was released outside of Sun and eventually those left from
the Self group moved on to working directly on Java. The mailing list
continued for a couple of years, but then the machine it ran on was
eliminated and it simply died. So the current list was created at
eGroups (now YahooGroups). During those years a popular idea was to
create new Self implementations (tinySelf, JSelf, OpenSelf and others)
but since all the sources from Self 4.0 were available under a BSD-style
license in 1999 Gordon Cichon started to port it to Linux on the x86.
That wasn't a trivial task since the compilers were Sparc friendly.
Other people had started this project and given up.

In December of 1999 Dave Ungar released the refactored Self sources and
port for the Mac and effectively restarted the project as you can see
from the release dates and information on the Self project page at Sun.
In 2001 Harald Gliebe restarted the x86 Linux port and finished it.

-- Jecel

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