Patrick Logan on using lots of processes in Smalltalk:
I’d thought a little about this for Smalltalk when I worked at Gemstone. I don’t know enough about the Squeak VM to talk about it. Like Erlang’s and Gambit Scheme’s VMs, it would require the ability to create many 1000’s of non-OS threads very quickly and run them all fairly. I think Cincom’s commercial Smalltalk VM might approach these numbers.
VisualWorks can most certainly handle that. In BottomFeeder, the default update loop spawns a process (Smalltalk) per feed, and executes an HTTP query for it (assuming, based on various update algorithm parameters, it should). I have 318 feeds in my Bf right now, and it does just fine spinning that many off.
Read the rest, where Patrick points out how Smalltalk processes and Erlang ones differ - but in terms of what Smalltalk can handle, lots of processes isn't a problem.