Plans at Sun

This text was posted to Usenet by John Ousterhout 27 June 1994.

I'm putting together a group at Sun to make Tcl and Tk into a uniform platform for programming the Internet. We hope to make it possible to write scripts that will run on virtually any machine in the Internet (workstations, PCs, and Macs) and to use Tcl/Tk scripts as the "coin of the realm" for neat new applications such as active mail, active documents, and agents.

My short-term plans include four things:

I expect all of these things to happen in 6-12 months (and I hope more like 6 months). Everything except the graphical designer will be released freely like the current Tcl and Tk; Sun will impose no restrictions on them. The graphical designer will probably be free in the early releases and include source code, but eventually I hope to see it turn into a Sun product, at which point sources will no longer be available and you'll have to pay for it (pricing is likely to be cheap like Visual Basic).

Over the longer term (1-2 years) I hope to improve the internationalization in Tcl and Tk to support Asian fonts, build an on-the-fly compiler for Tcl to get 5-20x in performance, and perhaps build some neat network applications like active documents.

Overall I hope that my move to Sun will not change the basic process by which Tcl and Tk evolve (we'll still discuss changes openly on comp.lang.tcl and solicit your input), but I hope it will provide a better support structure and allow Tcl and Tk to evolve more rapidly. I also hope this will make Tcl and Tk appear more legitimate so that it's easier for you to get them accepted by your organizations and your customers. It's very important to me that everyone in the current Tcl/Tk community continues to be happy with the systems, so I hope you'll let me know if any problems arise from my being at Sun.

Keith Waclena
The University of Chicago Library

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