[Edu-sig] Freedom: some Smalltalk history and Python implications

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Thu Aug 10 21:13:56 CEST 2006

On 8/10/06, Andreas Raab <andreas.raab at gmx.de> wrote:
> kirby urner wrote:
> > How will Smalltalk help me with simple sequences, e.g. the triangular
> > and then tetrahedral numbers?  That's all I want to know.  And the
> > answer I usually get is:  first, you must go to a special world called
> > Squeakland.  In Python, I just boot IDLE, enter the function, and run
> > it.  Oh, so I should have my school go out and buy commercial grade
> > SmallTalk instead?
> I don't get that point. Why would you have to go and buy a commercial
> grade Smalltalk? For Squeakland, what you need to do is to go to
> http://www.squeakland.org/detect.html for download and install. Once
> done, you start it, open a workspace type in 3+4 and print the result.
> What am I missing?
> Cheers,
>    - Andreas

Paul refers to various implementations of Smalltalk, some cushier than
others, when it comes to bells and whistles (Python is like that too
-- many different environments, some you're supposed to buy).

So I was wondering if my curriculum could be implemented in
Squeakland, starting from simple sequence generators (triangular and
tetrahedral numbers) and moving up, step by step, to the associated
computer graphics.

Given Python doesn't specify a GUI, the graphical add-ons are
multifarious.  However, with Smalltalk, it's pretty important to
regard the entire experience as seamless, so you have to be clear from
the outset which Smalltalk we're talking about (they're not all the

I don't want to get involved in a bait and switch situation, where the
Squeak people lead me on to expect I can write the rule for 1, 12, 42,
92... but then when it comes time to make the balls actually appear
(as in POV-Ray, VRML, VPython, Panda3D or whatever), that suddenly I
have to switch to a different SmallTalk.

I realize Paul isn't just on edu-sig to answer my questions as a gnu
math teacher.  I just want to be clear that I'm (a) doing work in the
field and (b) have to remain at a practical level (I have real
students at Portland State).  PataPata doesn't solve any problem I
happen to be working on at the moment.


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