Self as a Smalltalk (was: Uses of self)

Jecel Assumpcao Jr. jecel at
Sat Mar 8 20:33:21 UTC 2014


> I was surprised when you described Self as a smalltalk.

People have very different and strong opinions about this. There was a
recent discussion where this mattered because of what the European
*Smalltalk* User's Group should support or not for the Google Summer of
Code project. Their name implied they should limit themselves to
Smalltalk, but does that include Self? Slate? Newspeak?

I made my position clear when I changed the name of my project from
Self/R to NeoSmalltalk without making a single technical change.

> The differences seem too great to me, unlike the differences between
> Lisps. (CL,Racket,Scheme)

Perhaps your experience with Lisps it too narrow? Before Common Lisp
there was a lot of diversity like you see in Forth. I used XLisp and
Portable Standard Lisp (REDUCE), for example. But it might be a cultural
thing - these days people use names like Arc or Clojure for what would
be SomethingLisp back then.

Note that I consider "Smalltalk-80" to be just one example of
"Smalltalk", though an extremely important one. The original name for
the Self project at Xerox Parc was "Smalltalk-86", and it was not much
more different from Smalltalk-80 than Smalltalk-76 was. I won't even go
into Smalltalk-72 and -74 since there are plenty of people who would
deny they should be considered Smalltalks.

It is possible to have a very good notion of how different Self and
Smalltalk-80 are from Mario Wolczko's paper:

By creating an alternative parser, a few helper objects and some
graphical tools he was able to load unmodified GNU Smalltalk libraries
and have the fastest Smalltalk in the world. This was showin in the Self
movie, but very few people understand what it implies (they think it
would be like showing a Prolog interpreter running in Smalltalk, for

-- Jecel

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