Author Archive

Meeting Report for April 19, 2011

April 19, 2011

This was a transition meeting with the brief presence of Andreas and Craig, and the participation of Juan. The new board thanked the departing members for their work.

The new board was fully present: Bert, Chris (Muller), Chris (Cunnington), Colin, Jecel, Levente and Randal. Randal explained his progress with backing up the Squeak sites and several hosting options were discussed. The “welcome” packet written by Andreas last year was read and updated.

Meeting Report for March 1, 2011

March 4, 2011

Bert, Craig, Jecel and Randal were present at this week’s Squeak board meeting.

Brad from the SFC reported that the funds ESUG had been generously holding for the Squeak project have now been transferred to the SFC account. Craig has done the same with the amount he had been holding. This puts Squeak in a far better position to spend on servers and other needed resources.

Since Squeak has found a legal home as a member of the Software Freedom Conservancy, it can now receive your donations, too. Paypal and Google donation buttons will be added soon to the site.

The Squeak Oversight Board election process is a little late this year. There was some discussion about how to move it forward. Last year we discussed to have a membership model for Squeak. Only registered members would be able to vote in that case, which might be more representative of the current Squeak user base than the informal email list we have been keeping so far. If you are interested in helping organize the elections, please join the elections team mailing list.

Merik Voswinkel and Lawson English proposed to host a mirror for SqueakSource (and, in the future, for other Squeak-related sites). This proposal was well received, having backups is important. SqueakSource is generously hosted by the University of Bern.

The Pharo Board sent anĀ email to the squeak-dev list today, announcing plans to build a legal infrastructure. The Squeak Oversight Board supports the Pharo initiative to create a “User and Industrial Partners Consortium”. We share the goal of continuous improvement in the common base of all Squeak-derived systems.

Meeting Report for December 21, 2010

December 21, 2010

The last meeting of the year had Chris, Craig, Bert, Jecel and Juan present.

Our focus was the 4.2 release, with an initial discussion about the “Welcome to Squeak” projects. The actual steps in the release process were quickly reviewed and Matthew Fulmer was consulted (on the Open Cobalt chat in Skype) about the effect of a release of the current state of Trunk on his ongoing effort to merge Cobalt changes back into Squeak.

At the end there was a quick chat about the status of the various projects that the board members are working on, and a general feeling that 2010 was a good year for Squeak and for Smalltalk in general.

Meeting report for 6/16/2010

June 16, 2010

Andreas, Bert, Craig, Chris, Jecel , Juan and Randal participated in this week’s meeting.

As part of joining the SFC, we discussed the several funds currently associated with the Squeak project and how these should be transferred to the new account.

The exact way of announcing the final joining of the SFC was discussed and Andreas will write a short press release and send it to them for approval before publishing. Obviously, this post is an informal announcement of that event.

The discussion on the squeak-dev list about using the Mediawiki as a part of the documentation effort was evaluated.

garbage collecting the Wiki

June 13, 2009

The wiki is a fantastic resource for the community. Any search involving “squeak” will certainly have a link to a wiki page among the top results. And when answering questions on IRC, I nearly always end up pointing out some wiki page as the source for additional information.

Unfortunately, a significant portion of the information available there is obsolete. It is very easy for less experienced Squeakers to waste a lot of their time following advice they found on some page without realizing that it no longer applied to any Squeak newer than 2.5! One way to solve this is for a team to scan the wiki looking for stuff like this and then updating the information. In practice this is simply too much work and is unlikely to happen in a larger scale than what has been done so far. An alternative, inspired on garbage collection algorithms like those implemented in the Squeak VM, is to start a new wiki and move only current information there. This might seem like even more work, but it can be done incrementally: any person searching for information and not finding it in the new wiki can copy it from the old one.

If access to the old wiki remains as it is now, nobody would have any incentive to copy information to the new one. The most radical solution would be to simply eliminate normal access to the old wiki – you would have to explicitly log on to it or something like that. This would quickly make it vanish from the search engines. At the other extreme, it would be simple to add a warning to all old wiki pages saying that the content is obsolete. That could be done with the “message of the day” mechanism (lately it has been broken and only showing one quote from me anyway). This is too easy to ignore, however. A slightly more complicated solution would be to patch the swiki code to show a warning that would be far harder to ignore. It might be interesting to include a link to the new wiki for any page which has content that has been moved there. One way to encourage moving content to the new wiki would be to disable editing of the old one (except for adding links to the new).

The goal is to eventually have a new wiki, possibly based on some more modern Squeak technology, that document the system as it is now. The best way to achieve this would be for the board to issue a request for proposals so that people interested could form a team to create the new wiki and patch the old one. This team would not be responsible for the content, except moving a few key pages themselves to get the process started. The details that I have mentioned above are only examples – the candidates would be free to suggest any solution they want as part of their proposals.

Personally, I am very interested in Squeak’s history and would not like to see the old information vanish entirely from the web. But I do agree that as things are now the noise is getting in the way of the signal and we need to cause a better first impression to people interested in Squeak and Squeak based projects.