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Reviving Smalltalk-78 (2014) [pdf] (freudenbergs.de)
155 points by pmarin 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 21 comments



Consider the size of the interpreter and then go load some other JS pages and measure the size of them. Pretty impressive!


Here's a link to the thing running in a browser: https://bertfreudenberg.github.io/Smalltalk78/


That's very neat. It actually works and from the looks of it has the complete environment including compiler, I managed to mess up the scrollbar on my first try :)

You need to get used to the mouse handling for a bit, it's really old school but it's all there.


Yep. A tip for anyone not used to old-school mouse handling: when right-clicking to bring up a contextual menu, you need to hold down the right mouse button, then (while still holding down the right mouse button) position the mouse on top of the menu item you want, and finally, let go to select it.


it work in my iPhone 7!


I found the video of the presentation that Dan Ingall did on smalltalk-78

https://youtu.be/pTh65b8qSY8


Here's alankay1 ( https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=alankay1 ) presenting the Alto OS as part of his tribute to Ted Nelson:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnrlSqtpOkw


Great video thanks for sharing it.


FTA: "The challenge of porting Smalltalk-76 to a microprocessor with only 256k bytes of memory..."

Should that be bits, not bytes? 256k bytes was massive in 1976. Even at 8 bits, that would be 16k. I don't know that much about Smalltalk, but that still seems like a lot of space for the era.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xerox_Alto

Looks like Alan Kay's baby is loaded with 96-512kb of memory. So it's not a challenge - but seems like an appropriate target.

Mind you the Alto was primo - Kay was prototyping the future using a wonderful resource called cash.


As J. C. R. Licklider put it: "If it is (or were) true that hardware economics double every two years, and if it's true that it takes eight or ten years to get something from the idea stage out into use, it says the researcher who begins working on something has got to be a factor of 16 or 32 ahead of the time in his lavish expenditure of computer resources to do his work, and it takes really enlightened sponsors and supporters to make that possible. And usually it isn't."


I've been told that MIT managed to convince DARPA to buy them a full address space (~1MB) of core for a PDP-10 in the 70s. I have no idea how much that cost, but it had to be absurdly expensive.

Granted this was a timeshare system, not a workstation, so that makes a huge difference.

Also I was talking with someone who wanted to implement a lisp for a microcontroller and we came to the conclusion that it had slightly less storage than the IBM that the original LISP was implemented on in the late 50s, which had a combination of drum and core.


Which is why when people nowadays say that languages with runtime don't fit, that is mostly urban myths as many micro-controllers (naturally not all of them) are like supercomputers in regard to those systems at Xerox and IBM.


https://hblok.net/blog/storage/ says it would have been about $100,000. I don't know if those are in constant dollars, but I suspect they are 1975 dollars.

If so, then $100K(1975) is $500K(2018).

Edit: I found a reference to the 1MB PDP-10 at MIT in 1979! https://www.filfre.net/2012/01/zil-and-the-z-machine/ mentions "Zork, a massive game that consumed 1 MB of memory on the PDP-10".


Seeing all these efforts to revive old SWs, I find it a little sad that the STEPS project released nearly nothing beside papers..


Also comes with the standard test image of Lena Söderberg (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenna_(test_image))


Why was Smalltalk code always written in Comic Sans?


"The Smalltalk font in the screenshots is Cream by Bob Flegal, based on a design by Alan Kay"

Alan Kay: "Actually, Bob Flegal's challenge was to somehow make a script font that kind of looked slanted but was actually straight up. I though he succeeded really well with this design." (http://lists.squeakfoundation.org/pipermail/squeak-dev/2004-...)

It was also the first system font used on the original Mac! (https://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&stor...)


Remember: Smalltalk was invented at PARC where, among other things, they had a broad goal to create systems that didn't exist. GUIs for personal computing prior to this were purely terminal based, with standard monotype faces. These guys were interested in actually printing documents, making animations, music, all kinds of stuff. So they came up with the ability to use different typefaces and used them all over the place.


Comic Sans was released in 1994.

I also wonder about their choice of typeface though...


My guess, first half-jokingly now actually real, that it could be a plea to users to not get too serious with it (at least yet).




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