Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lack of excitement for Pharo 1.4 seems symptomatic

Here's Lukas Renggli, the working horse that pulls Smalltalk behind him, announcing his plans for Pharo 1.4, or his lack thereof:
Just to repeat myself: With Pharo 1.4 having uncountable changes in core parts of the system and with the system including more and more forked and increasingly incompatible versions of packages (AST, RB, FS, Shout, Regex, …) I am unwilling to go through the same pain as with Pharo 1.3 again. In the current state, I don't see any of the code I am involved with (including Seaside, Magritte, Pier, OB, PetitParser, …) to move forward. I suspect that moving to another development platform soon causes less pain than to move to adopt the next Pharo :-(
In a word, nobody wants to upgrade to new versions of Pharo. But that was the whole point of Pharo: progress, moving ahead. There isn't a Smalltalk with traction right now. You can watch the Smalltalk community fail to answer which part of the Smalltalk universe is worth looking at at Stackoverflow.
Compare this with the spirit in the Objective-C/Cocoa world:
It’s OK to support only the newest version of iOS.
Now, you might say that this isn't a fair comparison, because writing iOS apps is the key to a new and exciting and fast-growing market, the mobile platform. But I think that's the same argument that Eric Schmidt is getting wrong about Android: “Whether you like Android or not, you will support that platform”. As Gruber points out, he's having cause and effect backwards: developers love programming for iOS, and only therefore is iOS as exciting as it is.
Smalltalk simply isn't as inviting to developers as it used to be.


  1. I'm sorry, but I don't follow your reasoning: because one person, albeit an important one, thinks keeping up to date with the evolution of Pharo is too much work you claim nobody wants to upgrade to new versions of Pharo?

  2. Also the comment by Eric Schmidt is wrong. See here:

  3. Niko,

    Criticism is eternal. If you change you will be criticized. If you don't change you will be criticized.

    Criticism means that folks care and that is important.

    From the outset Pharo has declared that it is about changing and about changing quickly. There should be no surprises.

    Change is hard. The fact that "noone wants to upgrade" means that those folks should be happy to stay where they are ... If they want to upgrade, then there must be a reason for wanting to upgrade and if upgrading is hard then there is an opportunity to solve a hard problem ...

    If you thought that "progress and moving ahead" was going to be easy, then you apparently didn't think too hard about the implications of "progress and moving ahead" ...

    From my perspective there are still 31 year old issues with Smalltalk that have yet to be addressed, so I think that there is quite a bit more change in store ... So I say, strap on your seat belts it _will_ be a bumpy ride ...



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.