Cameron Laird's personal notes on commercial aspects of Tcl
When I began this document in 1995,
it was far more urgent than it is now in 2000, as I write
this preface. By 1998, industry reaction to Tcl was not
so swiftly and uniformly dismissive, and so it became less
compelling to maintain the list below. I now update this
page only a handful of times annually.
Table of contents
Tcl is meant to be used commercially.
has repeatedly made this clear; for example, in article
<4sdrd8$6qp@engnews2.Eng.Sun.COM> of mid-July 96, he wrote
Anyhow, the intent is not to restrict usage in any way by anyone. The
only reason for the copyright notices in the first place is to prevent
anyone else from claiming ownership and thereby restricting usage.
Please feel free to use and redistribute Tcl and Tk without concern.
Thus, not only are there sound engineering
reasons to use Tcl, but it's legal.
Consider these three categories of commercial application built on
a Tcl base:
This document, whose home is
aims to cover the second of these three categories.
Early in its history,
it seemed possible to catalogue all products known to
on Tcl. The number now appears to be at least many
thousands, and so the current ambition of this document is
illustrative, not comprehensive. Sun's Tcl Evangelist
Brent Welch covers some of the same territory in his
- the owner of the application has explicitly approved
its inclusion in Gerald Lester's famous
on commercial products which rely on Tcl;
- the owner has not explicitly approved inclusion in
Mr. Lester's FAQ, but reliance on Tcl is a matter
of public record;
- there is no publicly-available information which
confirms that the application relies on Tcl.
A related but distinct category is that of
applications built on Tcl. Some of these appeared
in this index at one time, but their natural home is
An issue for some organizations is commercial support at a
level--training, development consulting, the world-wide
pool of employable Tcl practitioners (which Dr. Ousterhout
in the several hundreds of thousands, in article
<54h5bu$luu@engnews2.Eng.Sun.COM>) ...--for a particular
language. This document focuses only on products, though.
Commercial developers have turned to Tcl repeatedly in a few
devotes one section of
to spotlighting organizations which rely on
3Com does software quality assurance with Expect. Silicon Graphics
uses it to do network measurements such as echo response time using
telnet. The World Bank uses it to automate file transfers
and updates. IBM uses it as part of a tape backup production
environment. HP uses it to automate queries to multiple heterogeneous
commercial online databases. Sun uses it to sweep across their
in-house network testing computer security. Martin Marietta uses
it to control and extract usage statistics from network routers.
. . . [A dozen more] . . . The whole list is truly astonishing,
and it continues to grow rapidly.
Some Expect-based products have gone commercial, including
Folks who engineer electronic circuits often use Tcl, sometimes
without realizing it. Among the products in
electronic design automation relying on Tcl are ones
from Cadence, National Semiconductor, Mentor Graphics,
... [much more to explain. later]
The interesting DMH package
doesn't do EDA, but rather plays a role in fabrication.
Tcl has an exceptionally distinguished pedigree in
Among the market-leading organizations which operate
in this domain are:
[Lots of explanation here.]
Welch has collected a
of industrial and research applications of Tcl.
Larry Virden and
spotted several other Tcl-based products:
Each of these offers at least one visible product:
- Apple has used Tcl in many roles, including
a testing framework for the Copland kernel.
specializes in "scalable testing" of
"mobile applications"--that is, programs
enabled by telecommunications. Its
is a test harness for distributed and
mobile systems. Test objects are generated in
and can include any valid Tcl code.
Laird's notes on
commercial aspects of Tclemail@example.com