Monday, June 09, 2008

My VA Smalltalk Experience

  1. You need to register to download an evaluation copy. Strike one.

  2. The setup program complains about the non-existence of '/usr/local/VASmalltalk/7.5', which needs to be created manually.

  3. Run the setup program; hit error "Runtime Error -- couldn't open file with UnixProcess". Readme.txt says you need csh, or you can try fooling the installer by creating a symbolic link to bash and naming it as 'csh'. Strike two.

  4. Not wanting to cut corners, you install csh. The error goes away, and you are able to complete the installation.

  5. OK, how do we start VA Smalltalk? Turns out you are not done with the installation yet. Need to run a program called 'vasetup'. This creates a copy of the image and other files.

  6. You try starting VA by running the command 'xterm -sb -e abt&'. Nothing happens, except for the screen flickering for a moment. Go back to the documentation, and find that there are a number of things you still have to do, starting with tweaking the abt.ini file followed by changing the ownership of the manager -- whatever that means -- and a whole lot of other things that may be necessary with Linux.

  7. By now you are pretty much at the end of your tether and decide that it's simply not worth it. Strike three. rm -rf /usr/local/VASmalltalk
It's 2008, and the fact that I'm using Linux shouldn't mean that I need to jump through so many hoops. These guys need to make things way, way simpler. They can look at how VisualWorks does things, for starters.