The title makes it sound more antagonistic than it is.
An operating system is a collection of things that don’t fit into a language. There shouldn’t be one.
The title makes great sense as smalltalk pioneered the notion of virtual machines or little computers.
Programming languages are the wires connecting the interior lighting, but Smalltalk is the car.
If we compare programming language + library bundles as cars we can certainly up the argument.
The problem with smalltalk and the ilk is the predominantly GUI and visual metaphor, as guiding forces of creativity.
I disagree on the need for visuality.
UNIX + shell is extremely creative. In all probability smalltalk will suck at parsing log files.
There are other advantages of text. I can have 80 lines on my screen. You can’t have more than 10 widgets on a screen.
A fascinating article.
I think this connects with recent arguments about whether programming should be something everyone should learn, essentially whether it is a skill comparable to literacy.
It seems reasonable to argue that if you have an environment where programming is a basic part of what the ordinary user does, then programming can be part of basic literacy.
Oppositely, if changing the parameters of a basic system is an opaque process requiring specialized skills, then programming becomes something alien to the average user (and the web has turned a substantial part of the human race into computer users at the least).
We might consider how, as the web expanded, the skills needed to build “cutting edge” websites expanded by an apparently equivalent proportion. Oppositely, as literacy expanded, the skills needed to be a writer expanded but not at the same pace as the number of the literate.