Smalltalk Implementations

"The SmalltalkLanguage is so great! Where can I get it?"

Except for VisualAgeForSmalltalk?, all implementations listed are believed to provide a FreeAsInBeer version sometimes with a degree of license limitations.


SqueakSmalltalk has excellent support for Internet-related technologies, and a lot of practical support via various class libraries that people have written. In addition to the very practical stuff, it also has a lot of experimental code written for it. The UI can look a bit funky at first, but it is easy to modify - for instance, with one package, you can load IceWM themes. Contrary to what was written here before, there is support for various OODBs (Magma, MinneStore?, GemStone/S, GOODS), ORM support, improved programming team support (via Monticello + SqueakSource?), and the RefactoringBrowser can be installed within a two minutes of downloading a virgin image using the SqueakMap package loader, which is sort of like Debian's apt-get (but without dependency resolution - soon, though!).


VisualWorksSmalltalk has excellent support for Internet-related technologies, has good and growing support for programming teams, has the RefactoringBrowser, but the only transaction-based persistence engine I have been able to find is GemStone. GemStone bothers me a bit because you must first develop in VisualWorks and then export to GemStone. The idea of developing on one platform and exporting to another seems troublesome to me. Now owned by CincomSystemsInc?.

This is the one I'll stick to. -- FalkBruegmann


VisualAgeSmalltalk has some support for Internet-related technologies, but seems to lag VisualWorks in this regard (no XSL support, for example). The RefactoringBrowser is available for it, but with reduced (albeit minor) functionality. VAST seems to have at least a couple of transaction persistence engines (Tenacity and VOSS).

This "product" is insanely expensive (like many thousands per seat) when you get a quote from IBM. According to the website, VisualAgeSmalltalk (enterprise edition, which is the only way to get Envy/Developer) costs $7,431. That's right. One seat. Seven Thousand.

Oh, and by the way, support has been "extended" through 2006.

Is VAST otherwise dead? I used it as an intern at Progressive Insurance and have been wondering if they- and VAST shops like them- have migrated to another Smalltalk or switched to something else? -- AaronReichow?


GnuSmalltalk, though free (GPL) does have the relatively fatal legalism that any of the image files you create with it are automatically GPL whether you want it or not. It might make sense for smalltalkers interested in using a *nix smalltalk to lobby the FSF to rerelease it under the LGPL, particularly since there seems to be a fairly sizeable community that would be interested in it.

I don't think this is a "flaw", since it appears to be quite intentional. Besides, you can still ship your own code around as .st-files under any licence you like. RichardStallman likes to do what ever he can to encourage others to see the world the way he does. He especially tries to leverage this view when equivalent tools are scarce or non-existent, and encourages others to do the same.

Besides, what's so bad about shipping your code under the GPL? Just refuse to service it for Machines without a support contract, or something along those line. You just need to be a bit more flexible in thinking about how to set your pricing. Maybe we need a page on DoesGplWorkForAllPrograms?

GnuSmalltalk is supposed to be ANSI-compliant FWIW.

The latest version also includes an IDE based on Tk. But it is rather slow, I believe that Smalltalk is passing strings to an embedded Tcl/Tk interpreter...

SmalltalkMT (SmalltalkEmTee) (

SmalltalkMT is a very different take on Smalltalk (limited reflection capabilities, for example), but I am considering using it for a WindowsCE application - they have a free 30-day version.

BuddsLittleSmalltalk: A small and simple Smalltalk. Written with the intent that any single programmer would be able to know of each class and method in its implementation. It is very far from a full-blown Smalltalk-80 system, and doesn't implement the ANSI standard. Little Smalltalk has a few derivatives (Public Domain Smalltalk [PDST], Susie, Chi Parla) which are generally being developed by one person in their spare time, but Little Smalltalk itself is no longer in development and has no community base of support. The book of the same name teaches the reader how they could implement such a small Smalltalk system. More recently development of Little Smalltalk has been taken over (with permission from the original developer) by a community-run project. SmalltalkExpress: Please post comments.

CincomSmalltalk: Please post comments. ObjectStudio from CincomSystemsInc?: Please post comments.

Smalltalk/X (SmalltalkEcks) ( A full blown Smalltalk system - free for commercial use. DolphinSmalltalk:

It looks and feels like a real Windows application unlike some other Smalltalks. It has the RefactoringBrowser and everything for networking, XML etc. because you can use the Windows stuff.

PocketSmalltalk: Please post comments. BistroLanguage: a Smalltalk-ish compiler that runs on top of Java. (Looks interesting, haven't tried it:)

SharpSmalltalk ( ): for DotNet; please post comments

AmbraiSmalltalk: ( A MacOsx Smalltalk. New Smalltalk implementation In Beta VistaSmalltalk: ( [BrokenLink - try] A Smalltalk that runs on top of the .Net CLR. In development now, but has some nice demos of it running in IE7 and on the client side.

AmberSmalltalk: ( Web and command line based Smalltalk which compiles to JavaScript. There are two IDEs for which work in the browser.

See SmalltalkEnvironmentComparisons

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