Re: Squeak: Smalltalk is still fun!

Ron Resnick (
Sun, 03 Jan 1999 16:22:25 +0200

Dan Connolly wrote:
> > > IBM alphaworks has done enough cool stuff with Java and XML
> >
> > Yes.
> Actually, no. After I went to all the trouble to bring
> Java back to life on my desktop, I discovered the IBM
> stuff isn't released with source.

Hmmm. So the definition of "cool stuff" must necessarily include
"open source"? That's a tad strong, no?

Eg, it implies that no-source-provided software, which later
inspires open-source versions, is "uncool". Eg, is original
AT&T Dennis Richie Unix (source-less) "uncool", even though
it eventually inspired Minix & Linux ("cool")?

What about "uncool" Photoshop, without which who knows if we'd
ever have "cool" The Gimp?

There are other precedents, of course. Motif/lesstif, and much
of "things that inspired" gnu comes to mind. I dare say the
first C compiler came source-less.

I.e., if you like what
IBM is doing, and they're not releasing source, that's a reason
to (a) petition them to release source (b) get a grassroots
activity to do what they've done - with source. Not a reason
to slam the door on them.

> Hence I'll be removing it from shortly.

<shrug> loss to viewers of that page, I guess.

> > is the "definitive" JDK on Linux,
> yeah... but that doesn't mean it actually works. I am
> yet to get any interesting apps to build and run.
> (Actually, I cheated: I haven't installed the blackdown
> JDK. I installed Kaffe, cuz the download time wasn't
> as scary. I'd like to hear a 1st-hand success story
> before I spend the time/disk space to deal with the
> blackdown JDK)

Kaffe, AFAIK, is *just* a VM, not a full developer kit,
though they do have class libs. If
you want compiler, debugger, javadoc, etc., you are pointed
elsewhere, eg the front-end gnu compiler effort.

Blackdown is a full JDK port, including development tools
(hence the 'D').

As to stability/working, I can only report what I know - this
is by no means a thorough exercising of features. I've been
developing with Blackdown1.1.6 (Redhat5.1) for a couple of months
(green threads) - servlets, applets, some distributed stuff
using RMI, and iBus. I'm also aware of people developing distributed
stuff with Voyager & VisiBroker on blackdown VMs.

As to "big" apps, I've successfully loaded (& even used!) the
NetBeans IDE. It's a pure Java app, so you load it up on top
of the blackdown VM, and then use it as your development
environment. It's awfully slow, so that's why I don't bother
with it, but it didn't appear unstable.

What else? I've got the JServ module loaded into Apache as
my servlet engine; it runs instances of the Blackdown VM to execute
its servlets. imho apache+JServ is easier to get running & manage
than jigsaw - I wrestled with jigsaw for about a week last summer,
and just gave up on it after a while.

In short, I've had success both running & developing using blackdown,
and I'm still using old 1.1.6 stuff. I've avoided upgrading to
1.1.7/nativethreads, since I'm just waiting for 1.2 at this point.

> In fact, I didn't see much Open Source Java anywhere.
> (are there *any* Open Source Java projects besides

Sure there are!

The Apache JServ engine comes with sources (
There's at least one open source IDE project -
IBM has released sources to their Jikes compiler - check alphaworks
Sun has released Jini with sources, and are rolling out a
comprehensive "Sun Community License" under which they will be
releasing Java itself, - the whole kit & kaboodle - with some
form of "free" source license. The meaning of "free' is still being
disputed - check slashdot for lots of discussion of this - but
there's no doubt that Java is being strongly pulled in the direction
of open source.

As I said, blackdown has lots of links to these and other projects.

> > though OpenGroup
> > has a port too. Currently supported is JDK1.1.7 on x86,PPC, with
> > older JDK1.1s on Sparc & Alpha. Green& native threads as of 1.1.7.
> Which one works?

Um. All?