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GNU Smalltalk User's Guide

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2. Features of GNU Smalltalk

In this section, the features which are specific to GNU Smalltalk are described. These features include support for calling C functions from within Smalltalk, accessing environment variables, and controlling various aspects of compilation and execution monitoring.

Note that, in general, GNU Smalltalk is much more powerful than the original Smalltalk-80, as it contains a lot of methods that are common in today's Smalltalk implementation and are present in the ANSI Standard for Smalltalk, but were absent in the Blue Book. Examples include Collection's allSatisfy: and anySatisfy: methods and many methods in SystemDictionary (the Smalltalk dictionary's class).

2.1 Memory accessing methods  The direct memory accessing classes and methods, plus broadcasts from the virtual machine.
2.2 Namespaces  Avoiding clashes between class names.
2.3 Disk file-IO primitive messages  Methods for reading and writing disk files.
2.4 The GNU Smalltalk ObjectDumper  Methods that read and write objects in binary format.
2.5 Special kinds of object  Methods to assign particular properties to objects.
2.6 Dynamic loading  Picking external libraries and modules at run-time.
2.7 Packages  An easy way to install Smalltalk code into an image.


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