On to the broader question of Ruby vs. Smalltalk, there was a lot of discussion of image-based vs. file-based environments. But, I think the one we need to keep in mind is the following quote from Enrico Schwass:
I guess smalltalk and especially squeak get now the chance to spread
wider. Why? Because of the growing ruby community. Smalltalk is
mentioned everywhere. Most of the newer ruby guys are curious enough to
take a look. Like me. This could start a smalltalk renaissance. If you
welcome them friendly :)
The key point is that we should understand that programmers are coming from other backgrounds. We should show them what Smalltalk has to offer and not why we think their language is inferior. We all have things to learn from one another. We need to embrace them with open arms. Smalltalk is cool because it is image-based, but it's a hard sell to a lot of programmers. It presents an alien world that is both strange and unfamiliar. Ruby allows most programmers to stay comfortable in their file-based world, yet take a peak into a pure OO world. One step at a time, I think Ruby prepares programmers for an image-based world. Also, I think they will come to Smalltalk with a different mindset and this will push boundaries. This is a good thing. I am continually amazed at how inventive and creative members of the Ruby comunity truly are. They will be a welcome addition to our community. Besides, who says one language has to rule them all? Let's embrace Ruby for what it's good for and do the same for Smalltalk. I enjoy programming in both and love being a part of their communities. Of course, I enjoy programming in a lot of different languages. Each one has it's pluses and minuses. So, instead of bickering about which one is better, let's learn what's great about each one.