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Smalltalk Challenge: Post 1 - Installing GNU Smalltalk

That's right... I'm the one who challenged my coworker Josh to open his mind beyond Java by spending time with a new language and blogging about it. l At first I challenged him to learn Oz, a language that combines the imperative, object-oriented, functional, logic, constraint, distributed, and concurrent programming paradigms (whew!). Unfortunately, apparently the 64-bit version of Mozart on Gentoo is broken at the moment and he didn't want to, as he put it, "build random shit on his box." So I proposed OCaml as an alternative. While it may not combine seven programming paradigms, I'm positive functional programming will be enough to show him there's more to life than what Java offers.

In return, for him to accept my challenge I had to agree to spend some time learning a language of his choosing too, and he set the number of required blog posts to 10. That's not too bad in my opinion since I enjoy looking at different programming languages anyway, but 10 posts seems a bit excessive (I would have been happy with 3). His first suggestion was Shakespeare. Really? I made him pick a more serious language, which turned out to be GNU Smalltalk. Yes, let the record show I rejected his first proposal, but he also rejected mine... and also let the record show that I'm not afraid to use a compiler.

My first attempt to install Smalltalk was through apt-get since I'm using an Ubuntu system right now, and of course I met up with the usual Ubuntu package bullshit...
sudo apt-get install smalltalk
E: Unable to locate package smalltalk

sudo apt-get install gnu-smalltalk
Package gnu-smalltalk is not available, but is referred to by
another package. This may mean that the package is missing,
has been obsoleted, or is only available from another source

E: Package 'gnu-smalltalk' has no installation candidate
It was the SpiderMonkey fiasco all over again. Apparently GNU Smalltalk was removed from Ubuntu back in Lucid Lynx. I had to go to smalltalk.gnu.org instead and download the source. In just a few minutes I had a working binary using the usual configure, make, make install mantra.

There was one minor snag during compilation, though. Initially libtool reported that it couldn't find the name of the link library for libc.la. A quick Google search showed all I had to do was remove libc.la and run make again.

Now it's time to learn some Smalltalk!

Update (6/29/11): I was able to compile GNU Smalltalk without experiencing the libc.la issue by running autoreconf -vi before configure.

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