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Starting with Squeak
Squeak is a beautiful and amazing free programming environment that exists since 1996. It is created and developed by the original creators and developers of Smalltalk. I discovered it on July 7, 2001.
It is special in many ways:
Squeak is a programming environment and a programming language bundled together.
It is different from anything you know - even if you think you know it. You can program with it. You can draw with it. You can write with it. You can make music with it. You can do mathematics with it. You can make presentations with it. You can play games with it. You can browse the internet with it, e-mail with it, chat with it, and generally communicate with it through your computer. You can do anything with and in it a computer can do, display, express, or help to present or understand, including your own new ideas.
In short: It is a universal environment for doing art, science, programming and having fun using computers creatively. It is total computing.
Squeak is free. Squeak is written in itself. You get the full source code for everything you can do with Squeak included with Squeak, written in Squeak, and for you to play with, use, learn, and change as you see fit - which itself is pretty unique: Nothing is hidden or kept secret for you in Squeak, and everything is free and open source:
In Squeak, everything you do with it and everything it displays comes with its own free open source-code, that enables you to understand and change everything about it. In simple intuitive terms, "free" means "without payment"; "code" is "the textual form of programs that may be run on a computer"; and "open source" means that "you get the code for the programs you run with the programs you run" (so that you can see and come to understand why the programs do run as they do, for this depends on their coding).
Also, Squeak is rapidly being developed by some 25 - 100 people working in their own time without payment, and is very much at the frontier of programming.
In any case, whether you are new to programming or quite experienced: Try out Squeak and see how its environment, language and approach differ from e.g. Java, C++ or C#.
It is true, though, that Squeak is especially for intelligent people who like their programming to be fun, and is therefore a minority effort: If you like unreadable code or a programming language that is boring, ugly and mainly useful for making money commercially, Squeak is NOT for you.
If you are intelligent and curious, and not afraid to dedicate some effort to learning a new language and environment, you may find you will be much enlightened and enjoyed by Squeak.
I wish you pleasurable and instructive reading and computing!
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