Running Squeak, Etoys, Scratch or maybe even OpenCroquet or OpenCobalt on a Nokia N900

Recently, I’ve been writing a lot about the Nokia N900. This is Nokia’s latest cellphone or Internet Table, which is actually a pretty nice little computer. I’ve been testing out what works and what doesn’t, and one of the most interesting projects has been trying to get Squeak running on it.

Squeak is a modern, open source, full-featured implementation of the powerful Smalltalk programming language and environment. Squeak is highly-portable - even its virtual machine is written entirely in Smalltalk making it easy to debug, analyze, and change. Squeak is the vehicle for a wide range of projects from multimedia applications, educational platforms to commercial web application development.

One project for Squeak was Etoys.

Etoys is an educational tool for teaching children powerful ideas in compelling way, a media-rich authoring environment and visual programming system, and a free software program that works on almost all personal computers.

It is also the basis for Scratch,

Scratch is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web.

The other day, I downloaded the source code for Squeak and compiled it in my Scratchbox on my Linux laptop. It compiled cleanly, and I moved it over to my N900. It ran fine there, with the exception of the screen being so small that it was hard to get much of anything done. You can download my zipped tar file at If you unzip the file, change to the Squeak- and run ./ passing a valid image file, you should get Squeak running on your N900.

The first image file that I tried was a copy of the Squeak3.9 image. You can get a zipped version of that from my site at It should be a pretty clean image, but I was testing around in it, so if things are a little off, it might be a residual of my testing.

The second image that I tried was the Etoys image. As I write this post, the etoys website is down, so I can’t link back to the original source. My etoys image is at I was pleased to see the little car driving around on the front page, but again frustrated at the smallness of the font.

Today, I tried a third image, I lifted this image from the Linux Installer for Scratch. This came up the same way that Scratch came up on my Linux laptop. In this case some of the font was small and hard to read, and some of the workspace spilled off of the screen.

The N900 is much more expensive than the OLPC, and there is still a lot of work necessary to get the Squeak/Etoys/Scratch, or even more interesting version in OpenCroquet or OpenCobalt running on N900s, but the potential is there, and it looks very interesting.

Are there others out there interested in exploring Smalltalk, Squeak, and the many different images available to see what can be done with it on the N900? Drop me a note if you’re interested.

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