25 November 2007

Feel Free to Squeak

I don't know much about the open source programming language Squeak, but it does sound rather cool:

Squeak is a highly portable, open-source Smalltalk with powerful multimedia facilities. Squeak is the vehicle for a wide range of projects from educational platforms to commercial web application development.


Squeak stands alone as a practical environment in which a developer, researcher, professor, or motivated student can examine source code for every part of the system, including graphics primitives and the virtual machine itself. One can make changes immediately and without needing to see or deal with any language other than Smalltalk.

Our diverse and very active community includes teachers, students, business application developers, researchers, music performers, interactive media artists, web developers and many others. Those individuals use Squeak for a wide variety of computing tasks, ranging from child education to innovative research in computer science, or the creation of advanced dynamic web sites using the highly acclaimed continuation based Seaside framework.

Squeak runs bit-identical images across its entire portability base, greatly facilitating collaboration in diverse environments. Any image file will run on any interpreter even if it was saved on completely different hardware, with a completely different OS (or no OS at all!).

Now, though, it seems there is no excuse not to find out more:

To help more people get familiar with Squeak's very powerful programming environment, the new book Squeak by Example is now being made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. It's intended for both students and developers and guides readers through the Squeak language and development environment by means of a series of examples and exercises. This is very useful to those who wish to become more familiar with the Croquet programming environment. You can either download the PDF for free, or you can buy a softcover copy from lulu.com.

What a classic combination: CC digital download, or an analogue version from Lulu.com.

Update 1: Alas, it seems you can't squeak freely - see comment below.

Update 2: Or maybe you can - see other comments below.


Unknown said...


Alas, it's not a free license for Squeak:



Squeak license

As applied to software, this is not a free software license because it requires all users in whatever country to obey US export control laws. As applied to fonts, it also does not permit modification.

In addition, it has a requirement for users to indemnify the developer, which is enough to make many users think twice about using it at all.

Glyn Moody said...

Oh, that's a pity - thanks for pointing it out.

I stupidly thought that when someone wrote "Squeak is a highly portable, open-source Smalltalk" they were telling the truty: silly me.

Anonymous said...

Just because the license isn't hair shirt enough for the FSF doesn't take away from the fact that Squeak is really cool and, like Smalltalk in general, doesn't get any where near as much attention as it deserves.

Glyn Moody said...

It does indeed sound cool, and I agree it deserves to be better known - but it's a pity that it misrepresents itself as open source when it is not, as far as I can tell from the OSI site.

Anonymous said...

[Taken from the Squeak website on the license page]:

On 23 September 1996, Apple Computer Inc. released Squeak V1.1 under the "Squeak License" (SqL).

On May 8, 2006 Apple agreed to relicense original Squeak V1.1 under the Apple Public Source License.

On October 12, 2006 Apple granted permission to relicense under Apache license 2.0.

Even the hair shirters at the FSF accept the Apache license 2.0 as being "open source" & "free software".

>"but it's a pity that it misrepresents itself as open source when it is not, as far as I can tell from the OSI site."

Me'thinks you owe an apology to the squeakers for saying they've been misrepresents themselves as open source

Come on Glynn all you had to do was haul your arse over to the squeak site & look at the license page. But I guess it is Monday morning :)

Regards, Jack

[I'm not anonymous BTW I'm Jack Hugghes from The Tech Teapoot I just can't remember my signin to your infernal comments system.]

Glyn Moody said...

OK, I apologise. But I think the licence page is confusing. It leads with the Squeak licence, and then gives the details at length below: as a result, I skated over the intervening relicensing stuff, hence my error.

Given the popularity of the Apache licence it would have been advisable to lead with that, and then mention the Squeak one.

Unknown said...

Agreed, the Apache license stuff is new to me and a welcome surprise. I had looked at Squeak a couple of years ago and indeed it looked cool, but the license was horrible. I wrote it off and forgot about it. However, I did send off an e-mail to the Squeak folks asking them to reconsider their license, but I did not have high hopes.

Apple being Apple and the fact that they have moved back in the direction of non-FLOSS I never even considered that they may make such a move. This indeed is a good thing.

As for the comments about nit-picking on free licenses, there are some, even some who are not members of the FSF who do value the same ideals. There is really cool software that is completely non-FLOSS as well, simply not interested.

The news about Skweak is good, and I am thankful to be corrected/updated.

Glyn Moody said...

All's well that ends well.

Unknown said...

Sorry, one last update. Squeak is, as of today, still under the Apple Public Source License (APSL) 2.0, which is considered a "free" (libre) license (although not GPL compatible)


Apple has granted the right to transition to the Apache v2 license. Apparently, the folks behind Squeak are trying to make this happen.

Again, both of these items are good news.