[squeak-dev] Call For *Your* Opinion

K. K. Subramaniam subbukk at gmail.com
Tue Apr 20 16:13:39 UTC 2010

On Monday 19 April 2010 04:19:32 pm Ian Trudel wrote:

> 1. What are your biggest hurdles preventing you from contributing to
> Squeak?
Information about Squeak is spread all over the Web. It took me a lot of time 
to collect them (text, video, active essays) and sift the current ones from 
the obsolete ones. I wish squeak.org were a one-stop reference for the latest 

Dis-orientation. I got drawn to Squeak because of my interest in helping young 
learners (the spirit behind ST-80 and Etoys). I guess I walked willy nilly 
into the Squeak forks and splits. Too many mails in squeak-dev :-(. I took 
quite some time to sort it all out.

Lack of Modularity. Squeak is no longer a small image and it is hard to 
isolate code into packages and work on them separately. There was too much 
volatility in the basic VM, plugins and image.

Lack of Plugin Dev kit. I started off on a small plugin and got sucked into VM 
and plugin build related issues. This was very discouraging in the beginning. 
Plugins development shouldn't be this hard.

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

Consolidate and edit documents - text, audio, video - into wiki. Weed out 
obsolete references (or atleast mark them as obsolete).

The new trunk system is good and makes it easy to converge code between 
different images.

Separate plugin development from the rest of the VM and plugin builds. If I 
have to create a plugin for TeX, then I should not have to setup build 
environment for, say, font libraries. What seems obvious to the experts is not 
at all so for beginners.

SFC membership is a milestone. Helps us integrate into the FOSS eco-system.

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

Discuss non-trivial code in mailing list or chat before putting them into 
trunk/inbox. This gives others a chance to study the impact (say on 
multilingual support or handheld form factors) and pitch in their 

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

Mailing list is not a good medium for resolving social conflicts. That requires 
a chat line. I believe, if the postings to this mailing list tilts more 
towards code than it is now, contributions will automatically increase.

If Squeakers are used to using MLs for resolutions, should there be a squeak-
conflicts mailing list ;-)?

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

Reach out to the young - schools and colleges. Create a separate mailing list 
(squeak-edu) for discussions about squeak in curriculum, term projects, 
research topics etc.

> 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?
Squeakers are one of the smartest bunch of developers I have met so far. 
Responses are quick and to the point. I do feel put off when the conflicts break 
out and skip over the postings for a few days.

> 8. Anything else?
Thank you for reaching out to the community. We need to take the same open 
approach to the larger non-dev community too.

Is it possible to put a RSS feed to squeak.org home page so that non-
developers can sign up for major News and Announcements?


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