Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I know very little about Smalltalk but I noticed that there's a frequent mention of the "kernel". Dan Ingalls prime maintainer of several implementations of Smalltalk also worked on a Javascript environment called "Lively Kernel" and in Peter Siebel's book he kept mentionning the "kernel".

I cannot help but think that it is no coincidence that the creators of Smalltalk used the name of a (central) part of operating systems to refer to a particular component of their language.

Was it because Smalltalk intended to act as an operating system? Was it because theory behind programming languages and operating systems have a lot in common?

What is the reason behind the common appelation of the two components?

share|improve this question
Fredholm integral equations are therefore similar to the operating systems and programming languages. Interesting. – SK-logic Aug 31 '12 at 12:22


These are two different meanings of the same word.

But you are correct to observe that Smalltalk has a lot of an operating system. This is because early Smalltalk systems predate today's operating systems and thus Smalltalk offers many services that are typically offered by the operation system today.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.