"Thomas" system now available

Fri, 25 Sep 1992 19:00:23 GMT

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"Thomas" system now available info-thomas@crl.dec.com (1992-09-25)
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Newsgroups: comp.compilers,comp.object,comp.lang.functional,comp.lang.scheme
From: info-thomas@crl.dec.com
Organization: DEC Cambridge Research Lab
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 1992 19:00:23 GMT
Keywords: OOP, FTP

Thomas, a compiler written at Digital Equipment Corporation's Cambridge
Research Laboratory, is now available to the public. Thomas compiles a
language compatible with the language described in the book "Dylan(TM) an
object-oriented dynamic language" by Apple Computer Eastern Research and
Technology, April 1992.

The Thomas system is written in Scheme and is available to run under any
one of three public implementations of Scheme: MIT's CScheme, DEC's
Scheme->C, and Marc Feeley's Gambit. It can run on a wide range of
machines including the Macintosh, PC compatibles, Vax, MIPS, Alpha, and
680x0. Thomas generates IEEE compatible Scheme code. The entire system
(including sources) is available by anonymous ftp from:


In building Thomas, our goals (in order of priority) were:

(1) To learn about the Dylan(TM) language, by building an
        implementation based solely on the description in the book.

(2) To help others learn about the language by producing source code
        for an implementation that was well structured, easy to read, and
        was publically available.

(3) To build a system we could use to actually write small Dylan(TM)
        programs, to get a feel for the language through using it.

We feel we have met these three goals as well as can be expected in a four
week project with three people. It was never our intention to produce an
implementation that performs well, and Thomas has no optimizations of any
kind. It does not perform well. This reflects our goals and not
necessarily the design of the language itself.

Thomas is NOT Dylan(TM). We have not received approval for the use of the
trademark, and we have not received a copy of a test suite other than the
examples from the book itself. We may, at some future date, pursue these
issues with Apple. The Thomas system was built with no direct input, aid,
assistance or discussion with Apple. All design and implementation
decisions in Thomas reflect choices by the Thomas implementors based on
reading the book published by Apple. These decisions must not be
construed in any way as deriving from Apple Computer Corporation or its

We have made every effort to minimize the differences between Thomas and
Dylan(TM), and to remove bugs, but help from others would be greatly
appreciated. The original development team consisted of:

Matt Birkholz (Birkholz@crl.dec.com)
Jim Miller (JMiller@crl.dec.com)
Ron Weiss (RWeiss@crl.dec.com)

In addition, Joel Bartlett (Bartlett@wrl.dec.com), Marc Feeley
(Feeley@iro.umontreal.ca), Guillermo Rozas (Jinx@zurich.ai.mit.edu) and
Ralph Swick (Swick@crl.dec.com) contributed time and energy to the initial

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