I believe that the Squeak/Pharo/Cuis communit(ies) share one very special thing, which most of the world has completely missed, and which the world sorely needs if the true power of computing to unleash and evolve the human mind is ever to be realized: a love and appreciation for personal technological augmentation/amplification available to all as represented by the Dynabook and/or its prototype software (Smalltalk as a concept, not any version/implementation e.g. Smalltalk-80).
Like a few survivors after the sinking of Atlantis, we can pick up the remnants of this dream and resume marching toward the objective (or at least keep its memory alive until an auspicious time when it can be realized)… or, like most groups of human beings throughout history who start with a common aim, we can bicker among ourselves about e.g. historical discrepancies, personal slights, and conflicting subgoals, and allow those squabbles to distract us and derail our primary mission. This would be disappointing but not surprising: it is how every war is started.
I have contributed, hacked, conferenced, and visited with many members of our wider community for over a decade now and, maybe because I had the “luxury” of finding Smalltalk after some of the political lines had been well-drawn, I can clearly see that we are fundamentally united. I cringe every time I see cynical, caustic exchanges - both for my participating colleagues who are obviously in pain - probably exacerbated by their passion for our shared endevour - and for the counterproductive effect the antagonism is sure to have on our common goal. Virtually every exchange is between two people who I personally know to be good and competent.
Here is my proposal: Let’s form an informal committee - a United Nations of Smalltalk if you will - including at least one member of each community, who will collaborate on cooperation between the dialects and mediate any friction before it boils over.
I’d be happy to participate, I guess as a representative of the Pharo community. Although I have no official role in the Pharo leadership, I have much of my professional life invested there. I often wish I had the time to keep all my projects compatible with Squeak, but I usually feel like I’m barely keeping up as it is!
I hope I’m not alone in these feelings and look forward to the response of our community (most emphatically singular). This message is being cross-posted to Pharo-Dev, Squeak-Dev, and Cuis MLs (I think I’m still a member of all three - fingers crossed…)