[Haskell-cafe] Re: [Haskell] Re: 20 years ago

Richard O'Keefe ok at cs.otago.ac.nz
Wed Jul 15 21:38:14 EDT 2009

On Jul 15, 2009, at 5:25 PM, Benjamin L.Russell wrote:
> it interesting that you should use the biological term "disease";
> according to a post [1] entitled "Re: Re: Smalltalk Data Structures
> and Algorithms," by K. K. Subramaniam, dated "Mon, 29 Jun 2009
> 11:25:34 +0530," on the squeak-beginners mailing list (see
> http://lists.squeakfoundation.org/pipermail/beginners/2009-June/006270.html) 
> ,
>> Concepts in Squeak [a dialect and implementation of Smalltalk] have
> their origins
>> in biology rather than in computational math....

That posting is wrong.

Smalltalk's roots are very firmly planted in Lisp,
with perhaps a touch of Logo (which also had its roots in Lisp).
The classic Smalltalk-76 paper even contains a meta-circular
interpreter, which I found reminiscent of the old Lisp one.
The "biological" metaphor in Smalltalk is actually a SOCIAL
metaphor: sending and receiving messages, and a "social"
model of agents with memory exchanging messages naturally
leads to anthropomorphisms.

The other classic OO language, which inspired C++, which
inspired Java, which inspired C#, is Simula 67, which has
its roots in Algol 60.  While Simula 67 was sometimes used
for simulating biological processes, the main background
was discrete event systems like factories and shops; there
are no biological metaphors in Simula.

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