[Edu-sig] Shuttleworth Summit

Dethe Elza delza at livingcode.org
Fri Apr 21 20:30:07 CEST 2006

On 4/21/06, Guido van Rossum <guido at python.org> wrote:
> There's a lot to read in your post and the links you post -- more than
> I have time ofr right now. Let me try to prune some of the ideas.
> I'm not interested in switching to Jython for this purpose; nor am I
> interested in directly linking to code that's part of Squeak --
> unless, perhaps, there's some low-level code that is independent of
> the rest of the Squeak environment while providing some functionality
> we need. I'm also not interested in making Python an entirely
> self-contained system such as Squeak is -- much of Python's strengths
> come from its capabilities as a glue language, seamlessly integrating
> with other software on many different platforms.
> But, after encouragement from Alan Kay, I *am* interested in producing
> a Squeak-like environment *on top* of Python. Alan suggested using a
> slightly different starting point than Squeak; modern graphics cards
> have a wealth of functionality that can be accessed directly. I'm no
> graphics expert, but I believe OpenGL and perhaps SVG could be the
> right basis to get started.

The Mozilla project has some of the best cross-platform widget-level
toolboxes, including SVG (and they are looking at OpenGL support). 
The funny thing about most cross-platform graphics toolkits is that
the ignore the platform with the best graphics: OS X.

> The approach that seems to make the most sense to me (but I'm open for
> alternatives) is to start out by producing a solid low-level graphics
> package like this that can work across platforms (Linux, Windows and
> OSX preferably); once that is settled, we could build an application
> resembling Squeak's UI.

That's a huge project to start from scratch.  Mozilla-the-toolkit is
adding support for Python in the next major version, perhaps Python
can leverage that?

> There's probably more to it; but typing this email at a busy
> conference my thoughts are a bit distracted.
> --Guido

More on the Smalltalk-Squeak-OS X interplay:  Squeak may be
"cross-platform" but it's always been unusably slow on OS X when I've
tried it.  I'm used to building GUIs with the PyObjC bridge and native
Cocoa widgets, which are generally as fast in Python as they are in
Objective-C. Also, Objective-C is based directly on Smalltalk, but
meshes *really* well with Python, and there is a cross-platform
version of much of the Cocoa library: GnuStep.  GnuStep isn't all the
way there, but it could be a good place to start if the Mozilla
libararies aren't chosen.


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