The Scorpion System, Version 5.0, now released (Rick Snodgrass)
10 Apr 91 22:01:18 GMT

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The Scorpion System, Version 5.0, now released (1991-04-10)
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Newsgroups: comp.lang.idl,comp.compilers
From: (Rick Snodgrass)
Followup-To: comp.lang.idl
Keywords: tools, IDL
Organization: Compilers Central
Date: 10 Apr 91 22:01:18 GMT

Version 5.0 of the Scorpion System is now available for distribution.
It runs on the following machines under Unix: Sun-3, Sun-4, DEC Vax,
DEC 3100, NeXT, Sequent Symmetry, and HP 9000. The system is entirely
in the public domain, and all source code and documentation is

Scorpion is a medium-scale software development environment. It
contains some 20 closely-interacting tools, totalling about 110K
source lines of code (the vast majority in C, with some Pascal, lex
and yacc code thrown in). The Scorpion System is a meta-environment,
that is, a software development environment (SDE) tailored to the
production of target SDEs. Scorpion supports communication of
fine-grained data between tools in the target SDE.

The Scorpion System has been used to construct a variety of
specialized programming environments, including those that support
change management (the Infuse System developed at Bell Labs and
Columbia University), parallel programming (Georgia Tech), design
format transformation (Purdue University), ECAD (RECAL/REDAC),
conventional compilation (University of New Hampshire), microcode
optimization (University of North Carolina), silicon compilation
(Columbia University), database query analysis (University of
Arizona), software development in Modula-3 (DEC SRC), and, of course,
the Scorpion System itself.

Scorpion currently uses the Interface Description Language (IDL) as a
data specification formalism. IDL allows graph structures containing
attributed nodes to be described. It provides a class type system
with multiple inheritance. IDL specifies only the data component;
method components are supplied by multiple conventional programming
languages. IDL was designed to specify structures, such as parse
trees, symbol tables, and computation graphs, that are commonly passed
between tools in an SDE. These descriptions get translated into target
language data declarations and library routines, so that the
application can read and write data instances. Basic type generators
are sets and sequences, from which iterators are generated. Multiple
representations, e.g., of sets as linked lists or as arrays, are

There are two ways to get the system.

1. Obtain an order form either from the following address or by email
(; please provide your postal address.

The Scorpion Project
Department of Computer Science
Gould-Simpson Building
The University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721
(602) 621-8448

Shipments include a 1/2" magnetic tape at 1600bpi or a Sun DC-300
cartridge, plus optional printed copies of the documentation
(consisting of some 13 documents comprising about 500 pages; sources
of all documents are included in the tar file), and an optional copy
of "The Interface Description Language: Definition and Use", by
Richard Snodgrass, which is an essential introduction and reference
text for using Scorpion. This book, published by Computer Science
Press in 1989, is also available through your bookstore (ISBN
0-7167-8198-0). The system is available for a nominal distribution
fee; for example, the system on 9-track tape with full documentation
(the book and all manuals) costs $100.00, including shipping and

2. FTP the code to your site over the net by typing the following
bracketed text without brackets. You should see similar output (the
number of bytes is only approximate). Converting to binary mode to
transfer the compressed tar file is crucial.

% [ ftp ]
Connected to
220 megaron FTP server (Version 4.185 Thu Feb 7 12:22:26 MST 1991) ready.
Name ( [ anonymous ]
331 Guest login ok, send ident as password.
Password: [ mylogin@myhost ]
230- Guest login 1 of 25 accepted, access restrictions apply.
        Welcome to anonymous ftp area. Get the "README"
        file for details.
ftp> [ cd scorpion ]
250 CWD command successful.
ftp> [ get README ]
200 PORT command successful.
150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for README (15192 bytes).
226 Transfer complete.
local: README remote: README
ftp> [ get ]
200 PORT command successful.
150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for (80750 bytes).
226 Transfer complete.
local: remote:
ftp> [ get installation.txt ]
200 PORT command successful.
150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for installation.txt (48480 bytes).
226 Transfer complete.
local: installation.txt remote: installation.txt
ftp> [ binary ]
200 Type set to I.
ftp> [ get scorpion5.0.tar.Z ]
200 PORT command successful.
150 Opening BINARY mode data connection for scorpion5.0.tar.Z (4752821 bytes).
226 Transfer complete.
local: scorpion5.0.tar.Z remote: scorpion5.0.tar.Z
ftp> [ quit ]
221 Goodbye.

At that point, you can print out the README file and the installation
instructions (they come as raw text and as a postscript-format file).

Questions should be directed to, or
to the address above.

Richard Snodgrass
Associate Professor
Department of Computer Science
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721


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