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27 November 2012, 12:32

Redline Smalltalk developer appeals for 1.0 funding

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The developer behind Redline Smalltalk are looking to the community to help fund the initial release of the nearly complete open source implementation of the Smalltalk language on the JVM. Smalltalk is an influential language which originated at the Xerox Learning Research Group in the 1970s; it introduced the concepts of object orientation, dynamic typing and reflective programming in one language.

But, despite Smalltalk's influence on language development, it has tended to stay out the the mainstream for various reasons, not least of all because Smalltalk was designed to be the operating system too, not just a language which ran upon an operating system. James Ladd, the developer of Redline Smalltalk, wants to change that by bringing Smalltalk to the "stable and performant" JVM which he hopes will trigger a "renaissance in Smalltalk development". To do this, though, he needs to finish it and has estimated he needs $20,000 to spend six months working full time on the project. To get there, he has turned to an IndieGoGo crowd-funding campaign to raise the money.

The video appeal for funding for Redline Smalltalk 1.0 development

Ladd is hoping to deliver a system which combines the familiar toolset of the Java Virtual Machine with the elegance of Smalltalk; the team has assembled a suite of supporting utilities including build tools, package managers and a lightweight web framework as part of the package. Redline Smalltalk is already available to download, under an MIT licence, at where documentation and other resources are available.

Redline Smalltalk is currently the only open source project for Smalltalk on the JVM. GE Energy's Smallworld subsidiary has ported its Smalltalk-esque language Magik to the JVM. Magik was developed in the 1990s as a language to support GE's geomatics software. Oracle reported on the successful port earlier this month, but, unlike Redline Smalltalk, Magik is a proprietary language.


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