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[Help-smalltalk] How to jump start a VisualWorks veteran?

From: Travis Griggs
Subject: [Help-smalltalk] How to jump start a VisualWorks veteran?
Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2011 02:01:44 -0700

Every time, I read about GST over the years, I love what I see. And I go to 
play with it. And it never has enough pressure to move beyond short play.

That may be about to change. I've been asked to help put a minimal web 
interface (but will grow over time of course) on an embedded linux board (runs 
some flavor of debian on an arm chip, still getting particulars, has enough 
juice to host gcc locally tho). I'm not a huge web guy (maybe some day). I know 
there's Iliad for GST, not clear what the status of Seaside is for it. So i'm 
looking for some feedback on how easy this will be to do. I'm of course 
familiar with Smalltalk. What I'd love it is if there was a sort of "oh, so 
you're a long time VW guy, and you know debian linux pretty well, but not that 
familiar with the nuances of GST yet and doing a web UI in it? well here's your 

I thought I'd try to use the Iliad tutorial 
( to have a go at it. First I 
used synaptic to download and install gnu-smalltalk and gnu-smalltalk-browser 
debian packages (along with prereqs of course, version 3.2-1 of each).

Then I tried what the tutorial suggested:

gst-package --download grease -t ~/.st

But I get the following in my terminal:

Object: nil error: Invalid value nil: object not indexable
SystemExceptions.NotIndexable(Exception)>>pass (
optimized [] in UndefinedObject>>executeStatements 
SystemExceptions.NotIndexable(Exception)>>activateHandler: (
SystemExceptions.NotIndexable(Exception)>>signal (
SystemExceptions.NotIndexable class(SystemExceptions.InvalidValue 
class)>>signalOn: (
UndefinedObject(Object)>>checkIndexableBounds: (
UndefinedObject(Object)>>at: (
File class(FilePath class)>>isAbsolute: (
File class(FilePath class)>>fullNameFor: (
File class>>name: (
PackageFiles>>addURL: (/usr/share/gnu-smalltalk/scripts/
optimized [] in PackageCommand>>runOnAll: 
OrderedCollection(SequenceableCollection)>>do: (
[] in PkgInstall(Command)>>executeOnAll: 
BlockClosure>>on:do: (
CurrentCommand class(DynamicVariable class)>>use:during: (
PkgDownload>>runOnAll: (/usr/share/gnu-smalltalk/scripts/
[] in PkgDownload(Command)>>executeOnAll: 
BlockClosure>>on:do: (
CurrentCommand class(DynamicVariable class)>>use:during: (
PackageManager>>run (/usr/share/gnu-smalltalk/scripts/
optimized [] in UndefinedObject>>executeStatements 
BlockClosure>>on:do: (
gst-package: Invalid value nil: object not indexable

Hoping it's something easy to fix. Looking forward to learning more about GST 
and using it. For now, I'll go stay up late reading the doc without the benefit 
of actually doing what it says and hope for a fast answer.

I am curious what the implications of writing a commercial end user app with 
this are. Obviously the company is comfortable building (L)GPL software, or 
they wouldn't be looking at embedded Linux boxes. Does a user app written in 
GST have to be made publicly available to end customers? Or just mods to GST?


Travis Griggs
"An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain 
itself." - Charles Dickens 

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