[squeak-dev] Call For *Your* Opinion

Casey Ransberger casey.obrien.r at gmail.com
Mon Apr 19 20:12:02 UTC 2010

On Mon, Apr 19, 2010 at 3:49 AM, Ian Trudel <ian.trudel at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear Squeakizen,
> I would like to call for your opinion(s) in regard to contributions. I
> am a firm believer in surveying the community in order to improve our
> sense of direction, our culture, and bonding as a community.
> 1. What are your biggest hurdles preventing you from contributing to
> Squeak?
These are mostly my own problems (e.g., lack of platform experience, time,
etc.) One place we could use to improve, I think, is in current written

2. What would it take for you to contribute more?

I have a big disorganized pile of images and no easy way to look into them
without loading them and digging around, which is time consuming. There's at
least one bug that I fixed which is sitting in one of those images.

Where I'm going with this: image-management is an issue. In systems where
one keeps one's code in files, this is pretty straightforward, as your
operating system exposes lots of tools for searching for code in files.

It would be neat to make the image more searchable (including a search bar
by default is of course a great start!) And it would be neat to have a way
to load up one image, and than use it to search another (without executing

> 3. What are your expectations in regard to contributions?

If you break the build, your commit should be reverted and you should be
required to wear a hamburger hat for a full day.

> 4. What are the reasons behind the low level of contributions from
> other community members, according to you?

I'm not sure that this is an actual problem? A year and a half ago, I was
despondent, as I'd fallen in love with a dead system. Right now, I feel like
Squeak is perhaps more alive than it has been since it's inception as a
Smalltalk implemented-in-itself. I think there are some communication issues
in the community, but I think we can overcome that.

I will admit that Monticello can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but I don't
think changesets are the solution to a distributed development model and a
growing developer community. I think we should improve Monticello.

> 5. What would you improve in order to increase the number of
> contributions and the number of contributors?

Documentation, discoverability (especially on the web,) awareness, and

> 6. How would you rate your sense of social identification to the
> Squeak community, on a scale from 1 to 10. (1 is the lowest, 10 the
> highest)

11. I'm in love with these people.

> 7. What is your rating based on?

The warm fuzzy feeling that I get knowing that some really excellent people
will endeavor to prevent me from doing something really stupid to the trunk.
This makes me less afraid to submit to the inbox.

The culture of education is strong here. Rarely have I asked a question on
another mailing list and gotten such patient, helpful, enlightening
responses. In particular, I'm very happy with the way Squeakers will often
answer a question by explaining how one arrives at the answer. What I'm
saying is: the culture isn't of merely feeding new comers, but of teaching
them to fish.

> 8. Anything else?
I'd like to make images from scratch. I'd like namespaces or a similar idiom
(I'm interested in the way Self handles "slot" access.) I wonder if we
shouldn't nix pools.

Best regards,
> Ian.
> Post scriptum:
> For the record, Squeak Oversight Board should conduct such surveys in
> the future. I trust the board to understand the community or otherwise
> take actions in order to do so. However, I'd like your help to prove
> the board that this is the right way to go and to be heard. So,
> please, everybody, contribute with your opinion (even if you are a
> timid person).
> --
> http://mecenia.blogspot.com/
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