[linux-audio-user] Re: Squeak (was Software suitable for children)

Brad Fuller brad at sonaural.com
Mon Dec 11 14:47:24 EST 2006

David Baron wrote:
> Just installed it. A very creative but frustrating package. As with too many 
> of these things, one must be able to read and that in English (or a few 
> European languages?). Fine print abounds in what at first looks like a very 
> sparse UI.
> The program abounds with objects and widgets. Some very creative and 
> versatile, others frustratingly crude. Graphic objects like squares cannot be 
> resized 

I don't know what you mean by this. If you are referring to morphic 
objects (most of what you see are morphic objects) then you can do a lot 
with them. Hover over the object and press the right mouse button (or 
ctrl-right) (you might need to press your middle button, depends on if 
you have your buttons swapped or not - see preferences) and you will 
see, what are called, halos. Various halos do different things. Just 
hover over them and a popup will appear to inform what each does. You 
can resize, move, change the color, etc... even inspect the object (the 
wrench tool.) You have full control of the morphic object right on the 

> (nothing stops one from reprogramming them and then dutifully 
> uploading the scalable versions for others to enjoy--smalltalk was once the 
> rage.)
> Smalltalk 80 is, well, 26 years old. Before Unicode so is incompatable with 
> mutlingual keyboard choices. No Hebrew for my daughter, not in UI and cannot 
> type it in to text objects either. Truetype fonts (newer than smalltalk80) 
> are beatutiful but they are also Unicode based nowadays.

I'm not a language expert, to say the least. I don't know about Hebrew 
usage in Squeak. But, Unicode and multilingual support is supported (I 
think from version 3.7 on, don't know.) If it isn't translated to Hebrew 
yet, why not help us by doing so! I believe squeak in German, French, 
Spanish and Japanese are available.

Today's True type fonts are also supported.

Some links:
Unicode in Squeak: http://minnow.cc.gatech.edu/squeak/857

A design and implementation paper on Multilingualized squeak:

Multilingualized squeak: 

HowTo Squeak in Russian: http://minnow.cc.gatech.edu/squeak/5773

> I think most kids would enjoy trying various widgets but run out of patience 
> doing anything more with them. Most adults would as well.

Squeak is used successfully in classrooms around the world. You might 
check out the squeakland.org site for more info. Especially the 
tutorials. Click on "Site Map". Also check out the book "Powerful Ideas 
in the Classroom" on a progressively hands-on approach for teachers. 
It's very good.

You might also download the OLPC etoys version of etoys to see a how it 
is configured for the OLPC project.

here are some etoys projects. You'll need to install the squeakland 
plugin (which is essentially squeak run in a browser):

Some excerpts from a previous email from Alan Kay about etoys may be 
helpful as well (the original poster was asking about the use of etoys 
and high schoolers):

> Etoys was designed for 9-11 year olds, and it has 
> worked very well with them. However, even 8th 
> graders are able to use more features, and high 
> schoolers should be using a pretty complete 
> programming environment (like Squeak).
> Squeak itself is very easy -- as Tony Hoare once 
> said about Algol, Smalltalk was a great 
> improvement, especially with its successors! -- 
> the problem for beginners is that the library has 
> only one organization, which kind of lumps 
> everything together, and this is a large lump. 
> This is powerful but can be quite frustrating 
> (other comprehensive systems have similar 
> problems). Etoys is kind of a demo that quite a 
> bit can be done with much much less in the 
> end-user's world, but the aim at 10 year olds 
> limits its range. Our original plan was to wind 
> up with a more Hypercard-like system, still small 
> and simple, but much more comprehensive.

You can find out more at:


brad fuller
  +1 (408) 799-6124

More information about the Linux-audio-user mailing list