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SunLabs Announcement

A message from Bert Sutherland, Director of Sun Microsystems Laboratories

"John Ousterhout's decision to pursue a new Tcl-related endeavor may generate questions about the future of Tcl, as well as about support of Tcl by Sun Microsystems, Inc. John remains strongly committed to Tcl, and I applaud his decision to form an independent company that will focus exclusively on Tcl. He appears to be positioning his new company, Scriptics, to realize the enormous potential of Tcl.

Sun Microsystems, Inc. has a long-standing tradition in open, cross-platform computing, and John came to SunLabs in 1994 to participate in that tradition. He built a team to explore whether Tcl, which had previously run only on Unix, could be ported to other platforms and evolved into a universal scripting language for the Internet. I am both pleased with and proud of their achievements, which include Windows and Macintosh ports, the Safe-Tcl security model, Internet tools such as a browser plugin and a Tcl Web server, and improvements to Tcl itself including a bytecode compiler, internationalization, a new I/O system, and connectivity to the JavaTM computing platform. As a result of these activities, Tcl truly has become one of the world's premier cross-platform development environments. At Sunlabs, we continued U. C. Berkeley's tradition of making Tcl freely available to its extensive user community; this practice helped motivate Sun's decision to release Java technology to the network in December, 1994. The Tcl user community was of tremendous value to SunLabs through its willingness to try new Tcl capabilities, provide feedback, and suggest further improvements. As improvements have been incorporated into Tcl, the user community has grown dramatically.

The future evolution of Tcl will be determined primarily by John Ousterhout, his team at Scriptics, and the Tcl user community in a dynamic process of evolution, with transitional support provided by the Tcl team within SunLabs. At present, Tcl is similar to the Internet in that it has moved beyond the control of any one person or organization. The collective body of users will ultimately control the destiny of Tcl through their network interactions and communication. Tcl fans around the world will continue to use and evolve valuable and useful features of the Tcl system. John will be visible and active in Tcl's future, and will continue to provide leadership, inspiration and wisdom for the process of Tcl evolution.

John has proposed to shift the development of the Tcl/Tk core from Sun Microsystems, Inc. to Scriptics. I agree with this decision, and remain a fan of John and Tcl. To support the smooth transition of Tcl technology to Scriptics, SunLabs intends to donate some computer equipment to Scriptics in order to help Scriptics become the primary distribution site for Tcl ( Tcl has become economically beneficial for the markets served by Sun Microsystems, Inc., due in large part to Tcl's unique capability for scripting both legacy code and Java applications. I anticipate that Sun will continue to derive important benefits from Scriptics' new products, and eagerly look forward to seeing those products introduced."

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