Squeak 1.x, you could go for a much more recent and appealing version i know…so why ? cause i want to travel in time and fool around with the early Xerox days “thoughts” and “concepts”: metaclasses and VM (Virtual Machine).
Many interesting papers have been written that require for a proper understanding access to an almost original version of Smalltalk-80 as published in the early 80’s by Xerox – for a good reading on Xerox Parc see my other post on Dealers of Lightning – XEROX Parc.
Note: More posts will be made available on interesting papers published since the commercial introduction of Smalltalk-80.
An interesting attempt have been made with the “Hobbes” project – an Zerox Alto emulator running an early image of Smalltalk-80. It was first first developed and released on VisualWorks by Vassili Bykov). I believe from a Youtube clip with Dan Ingalls that himself and Wolfgang Helbig were also involved for a Squeak port.
I had Hobbes code running on an early Version of VisualWorks, on Squeak and Pharo. Stability issue combined with my still not up to date Smalltalk skills made the experience a little embarrassing (crash, user interface issues, etc). I’ll probably get better at Smalltalk and probably venture in the future and give it another chance – there ain’t much comments out there on the web about the project and its – i’ll post some anyway in a future post on Hobbes – check refs at the bottom of the post.
In the 90’s, while doing my master Degree with Jacques Malenfant at the University of Montreal, i had access to ObjectWorks Smalltalk-80 running on a Sun Solaris. (I should have extracted more source code from the experimental image since it had ClassTalk from the INRIA folks in France – that was certainly cool stuff – more on that in another post).
I tried recently to locate ObjectWorks Smalltalk executables but with no success. Cincom (http://www.cincomsmalltalk.com/main/) now has the rights to ObjectWorks environnement and they renamed it VisualWorks. Early VisualWorks would have been interesting but rather hard to find…I’ll also share some thoughts on this in a future post.
Remember i’m searching for early Smalltalk-80 like systems, not recent Smalltalks that were highly modified, enhanced and improved (one beautiful aspect of Smalltalk is its capacity to evolve). Later version of Squeaks and the Pharo project are good example of this splendid evolution.
I tried early version of Squeak since they were, at the very start, an attempt to provide a “free under licence agreement” or “easily available” version of Smalltalk. My reading is that version 1.x main goal was to get it to run and the easiest path would involved reading in the original Smalltalk-80 image, or something real close. They could change it after while of course and that was certainly their may intent (explore version changes of all Squeak versions, and Pharo to realize how much effort went “over” the original Squeak 1.x version.
I’m not going to rewrite about the early Squeak days, i will rather give you a pointer on a paper written by Dan Ingalls and other web pointers on the early Squeak day (see references at the end of the post).
You can download an early Squeak version (and source source code if need be) from this location: (http://ftp.squeak.org/1.3/).
The code you’ll find at this FTP link are for PowerPC Macs (late 90s), Windows XP (probably all Windows versions) and Unix/Linux version (also from the 90s). We’re talking 1996 to 1998 roughly here.
Windows is easily available, running native or in VM environment (like on my MacBook). So that was the first instance of Squeak 1.X that I could experiment (play) with. I’ve installed version 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 to check their content and differences. I decided to focus on 1.3 since it concluded mainly bug fixes. Once i get more knowledge and understanding in versions 1.X i’ll dig the subsequent version (2.X and 3.X) and tell you about them).
Note: I’m going to try the Linux code and see if i can get it to run on Ubuntu (more to come).
Being lazy (waiting for the bootup process of the VM windows XP) and not necessarily a big Window fan i decided to look for a more Macintoshian version of Squeak 1.x. Don’t get me wrong Squeak 1.x on Windows is just fine (Smalltalk can of hide the Microsoft computer feel).
My MacBook running MacOS 1.x is far from the PowerPC (CPU) and System 9.X (one of the Apple OS from the 90s) systems where Squeak was first developed and deployed. BUT we’re not alone ! Great ressources are available on the Web such as the three following:
Macintosh Garden has old mac software (apps, games, systems, etc).
miniVmac is home of a 68K Motorola based Macintosh emulator – when Apple System 6.x and 7.x ruled.
SheepShaver is home of a PowerPC (PPC) Macintosh emulator, when Applle System 9.x ruled.
That’s the entrance on an “old” new world…
Deeper study on these systems will lead you to other “opportunities”. Better understanding will provide more control and more flexibility. I just wanted to get more Smalltalk system to run on my laptop…
But they sure work. You’ll feel pretty alone in this lands – my earlier experience on those old macintosh certainly helped me.
Let me open parentheses here:
if you can get miniVmac to run and emulate an old Macintosh (default settings will do for a start) you’ll be able to run the original Apple Smalltalk-80 (available from the Macintosh Garden). Requires System 6.x and the 68000 emulation (no Mac II). A bug fix is required but explained starting at this page: http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/apple-smalltalk-80.
Just work from there.
By the way there’s also on the Garden: Ambrai’s Smalltalk and Digitalk Smalltalk/V…cool.
Back to Squeak 1.x on SheepShaver
I could not get readily available executable code from Squeak to run on 68X (miniVmac) so i assumed it was a PowerPC based executable (the VM). It ran just fine on SheepShaver (my new best friend – so much thanks to the author).
My next steps (my to do list pretty much) is to explore this early Squeak version, read the info i’ll gather from the papers and wikis of that period, refer to the original Xerox Blue book. By the way there’s this guy here: “Mario Wolczko” with interesting content, among other things errata from the Blue Book (Chapter 4) and ideas on the early VM.
Note: i’m happy i wrote that down, i can now forget about it and concentrate on more fundamental concepts…have fun !
Montreal, January 9th, 2016
More References used in this post
tag Squeak (today)
http://squeak.org/downloads/ (see at the bottom for version 1.x)
tag Pharo (today)
tag Squeaks early days
Video: tags Squeak / Dan Ingalls / Hobbes / Xerox / Kay