Whitespace as syntax (was Re: Python Rocks!)

Bijan Parsia bparsia at email.unc.edu
Wed Feb 9 02:35:05 CET 2000

Paul Prescod <paul at prescod.net> wrote:

> Thomas Hamelryck wrote:
> > You mention Squeak. If Squeak
> > continues to mature I think it will be a formidable competitor for python.
> Not a chance. Smalltalk is doomed for the same reason Lisp is doomed.

Er...Doomed, huh. Thank's for letting me know ;)

Frankly they both seem rather healthy to me. I watch Smalltalk more
closely, and it seems to be doing rather well, as a whole. I could go
into detail, if you *really* want to, but why bother? Python success
certainly doesn't require Smalltalk or Lisp failure.

> Smalltalk programmers think that their way of doing things is so much
> better than everybody else's that the whole world should reorganize
> themselves around the language.

Gosh, how did you *know* that's what we think! Just the other day, I
said to my fellow cultist, "Y'know, Smalltalk should rule. The
Pythonistas will be the *first* up against the wall, with their lame
psuedo-Smalltalkd derivative!"

> Tim Berners-Lee was once late for a
> keynote speech because he was arguing with Alan Kay about how the web
> "should" work.

Do I really need to respond to this? I see, no one should discuss how
the web could be, since it is what it is. And since Alan Kay make Tim
late, and Alan Kay is the father of Smalltalk, all Smalltalkers are
domineering pigs.

I think you let your rhetoric get away from you there ;)

> In contrast: Guido says, "this is the Web, this is
> Python. Let's make them work together"

Whatever. Once we get into the cult of personality phase of the
discussion, I sorta tune out.

> > At the moment, it lacks the huge amount of modules that are available for
> > python (which is one the most attractive features of the language).
> So we have a thirty year old language (Smalltalk) with a poor set of
> libraries and you want to attribute that to chaos theory? 

Er...Smalltalk implementations, overall, have fairly massive sets of
libraries. I mentioned in another post that they generally don't slide
well with certain sorts of tasks, but that's a different issue, isn't

>Give me a
> break. The smalltalk community squandered a 15 year "head start" on
> Python. The Lisp community's head start was even larger. They must take
> responsibility for that.

<sigh/> And if they do? And if they try to change things? Nah, can't be,
because they want everybody *else* to change.

> Languages (or operating systems, or word processors) achieve popularity
> or obscurity for *reasons*. Not all reasons are technical, but there are
> always reasons.


But let's not *make up* reasons :)

I *know* Squeak to be a reasonable alternative to Python for a lot of
tasks. I use both. I don't see much point in claiming it's doomed and
all that. If it is, it is, and you don't need to shout it ;)

Ok, ok, I'll back off a little. But, really, just because someone
invokes Squeak in the context of other cluelessness is no reason to come
out walloping a community that, AFAICT, has done you and intends you no

Bijan Parsia.

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