Little Smalltalk

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Little Smalltalk
ParadigmsImperative, object-oriented
Designed byTimothy Budd
DeveloperDanny Reinhold
First appeared1984; 38 years ago (1984)
Stable release
5, SmallWorld / 2014; 8 years ago (2014)
Typing disciplineStrong, dynamic
ScopeLexical (static)
Implementation languageJava
PlatformVAX-780, IA-32
LicenseVarious: Proprietary, public domain, freeware for non-commercial use, MIT style
Influenced by

Little Smalltalk is a non-standard dialect and runtime system, a virtual machine referred to as "system", of the Smalltalk-80 programming language implemented by Timothy Budd at University of Arizona in 1984 along with a group of his students.[1][note 1] It was originally described in a book "A Little Smalltalk" (1987),[1] and was created as result of lack of cheap access to Smalltalk-80 runtime at the time; it was initially intended to run on Unix on a VAX-780.[1]: 5 

The Little Smalltalk system was the first Smalltalk interpreter produced outside of Xerox PARC.[citation needed] Although it lacked many of the features of the original Smalltalk-80 system, it helped popularize the ideas of object-oriented programming, virtual machines, and bytecode interpreters.

In 1994, Timothy Budd rewrote Little Smalltalk in Java, and distributes it as the SmallWorld system. Little Smalltalk source code wasn't touched since then.

The original releases are under a variety of licenses. They are now maintained by Danny Reinhold via the Little Smalltalk project. Recently work on a new major version has begun. This differs from earlier releases by providing support for graphical applications, a foreign function interface, and many integrated tools.


Little Smalltalk is intended to:[1]: 5 

  • Closely resemble Smalltalk-80 description
  • Run on Unix accessed by conventional terminals
  • Run on 16-bit machines with separate instruction and data memory, on a small memory size[1]: 5 
  • Be written in C language


Licenses, copyright[edit]

  • Version 1 – Must attribute original source and keep copyright notice in source files
  • Version 2 – Public domain
  • Version 3 – Public domain
  • Version 4 – Free for non-commercial use
  • Version 5 – Released under an MIT style license


  1. ^ Over 15 people contributed to the project.[1]: 6–7 
  1. ^ a b c d e f Budd, Timothy (1987). A Little Smalltalk. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-10698-1. OCLC 14359883.

External links[edit]