[squeak-dev] Call For *Your* Opinion

Juan Vuletich juan at jvuletich.org
Tue Apr 20 13:15:11 UTC 2010

Hi Ian,

Thanks for doing this! I believe it will be very useful.
(answers below)

Ian Trudel 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?

I use mainly Cuis, and devote almost all the time I have to it. When 
something I do for Cuis is also appropriate for Squeak (or Pharo), 
somebody (perhaps me) integrates it in Squeak (and/or Pharo). This 
happens for just about 5% (I guess) of what I do for Cuis.

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

It would need Cuis and Squeak to get closer.

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

I expect them to be close to the Cuis objectives :)
- Remove complexity (not increase it)
- Be worth their weight (by giving large benefits with little 
complexity, risk of new bugs, and memory/cpu usage)

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

- Way too much noise in squeak-dev list. People that is too vehement in 
their opinions, intimidating others. Especially people who only 
"contribute" opinions and not code.
- People having a hard time to understand that Open Source is more about 
helping than about complaining (i.e. there is no vendor to complain to).
- People having a hard time to understand that Smalltalk is about 
understanding the actual implementation of things, not just about using 
an application (users that won't learn) or just using an api 
(programmers that won't learn)
- A system that doesn't help understanding as much as it should. It is 
too big and complex. It has too many aspects that nobody understands and 

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

Turn Squeak into Cuis :)

> 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)


> 7. What is your rating based on?

I've been in this community for 13 years. I believe we are the keepers 
of the Smalltalk-80 heritage, including the intentions and ideas behind 
it. I believe that the opportunity to be part of this is the greatest 
gift I was given in my professional life. So my identification with 
Smalltalk-80, Squeak and Cuis is 10. But as I don't always agree with 
the ways the community choses, my identification with the community is a 
bit lower.

> 8. Anything else?

Choosing simplicity and good design over features lists and 
compatibility is going back to the "Design Principles Behind Smalltalk" 
paper. It is also the way to encourage understanding and collaboration.

> 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)

I agree, and thank you.

Juan Vuletich

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