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"Thomas" system now available
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 employees.
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
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