Open Dylan 2011.1 released

Dear Dylan Hacker,

It is a pleasure for us to finally announce a release of Open Dylan.

The last release with an announcement was beta4, in April 2007. Since then we have decided to use another versioning scheme: $year.$count; this release version is 2011.1. We will be doing more regular releases and are already hard at work on 2012.1 for next month!

One of the most important changes from the last four years is that the remaining rights holders of Functional Objects (the original developers of what became Open Dylan) agreed to re-license all of their code for the compiler and runtime libraries under the MIT license.

We have also moved to GitHub:

Another big effort was made to decrease the size of the code base in order to improve its maintainability. In this release, compared to (the unannounced) beta5, we removed about 1/3 of the code base, from 1,200,000 lines of code down to 850,000 (according to

This is the first joint release on all major platforms:

  • Windows (32-bit only, this is the only platform with the IDE right now, native back-end)

  • Mac OS X (32-bit, Intel (10.6+) and PPC (10.5) using the C back-end)

  • Linux (32-bit (with the native back-end) and 64-bit (with the C back-end))

  • FreeBSD (32-bit only, native back-end)

The C back-end currently does not support multi-threaded programs.

We also developed a SLIME ( back-end, so you can develop in Emacs and get cross references, M-. and arguments.

The library functional-dylan has been phased out. It was mainly importing and exporting dylan and common-dylan. Use dylan or common-dylan as appropriate.

The release also includes several bug fixes and improves error reporting. However, many bugs and issues with error reporting remain. Please report problems that you have in our issue tracker:

You can get it from our website, . On Windows there is an installer, on UNIX systems unpack into /opt.

Now follows a more detailed list of changes:

Notable compiler changes

The command-line compiler is now called dylan-compiler instead of minimal-console-compiler (or opendylan).

The ‘remove build products’ command has been renamed to ‘clean’, which is more common and intuitive.

We fixed the error reporting in several ways: cleanup handlers are called correctly now (no “Attempting to build during another build!” anymore). Also, when an error is caused, the reporting does not error. Additionally warnings and errors from subprojects are now reported (rather than only put into the log file).

We support output of internal debug messages via a dylan-compiler argument (internal-debug, set to a list of debug-targets, like project-manager, linker,…). Additionally Harp, DFM and assembler output of the compiler can be written to the build directory (via harp, dfm, assembler command-line flags).

The dylan-compiler supports -version and -shortversion flags.

In Deuce, a buffer which is modified is now marked with an asterisk.

On application shutdown, a list of closures is called, which can be registered via register-application-exit-function. Also the GC is properly shut down.

The build system both on UNIX and Windows has lots of improvements and is even less code. There is no longer support to checkout code via CVS, though.

The runtime lives in dylan-support.o, which is linked into libdylan, rather than a _glue.o which was emitted for every application. The system library contains offsets into C structures (like stat) for all major platforms, including 64-bit versions.

The function closure-size no longer lives in dfmc-execution, but in dfmc-flow-graph. The library dfmc-execution was removed.

Library Improvements

We consolidated file and standard-io under the same buffered file-accessor. We also improved the run-application function, which now can spawn asynchronous processes, redirect standard-input, standard-output and standard-error, set the working directory and environment variables.

If write is interrupted (by EINTR), we call write again until it has written all bytes.

The function join now works on an empty sequence.

The function position takes start and end keyword parameters, and its performance was improved.

A new function, integer-length, is now in common-dylan.

The function directory-contents now returns the contents of the directory.

We now support a with-input-from-string macro in the streams module.

A new library, ssl-network, wraps openssl and integrates into the already existing network library.

The element-setter for the forward-iteration-protocol of <ordered-key-collection> has been fixed.

Shift operations on machine words are inlined now.

The <smtp-error> class contains a slot with the error-code.

Testworks has been vastly improved, and improved test suites are provided for the Dylan library, common-dylan and jam.

Mac OS X

The support on Mac OS X improved immensely; the code which retrieves the path to the running application now uses _NSGetExecutablePath. Also, setting environment variables is now supported on Mac OS X. The system library is renamed on Mac OS X to odsystem to prevent interfering with the built-in System library.


In the native back-end we pass integer and floating point exceptions to the Dylan runtime on Linux and FreeBSD platforms.

In the C back-end we emit volatile for all the variables inside of a bind-exit block which need to be volatile.

We defer the back-end selection to the end of the compilation of the compiler to reduce the compilation time for compiler hackers.

Removed code

The majority of the removed code was not used, on the one hand code for the LispWorks emulator, on the other hand (half-finished) support for outdated platforms: namely a native PPC backend, a half-finished Java backend; Mac OS (Classic), IRIX, SunOS, Solaris and OSF3 platform support.

It also included the separation in three disjoint releases, basic, enhanced and enterprise - which was useful back when the compiler was developed commercially, but is no longer.

The amount of applications for the command-line compiler has been decreased from eight to four, namely dylan-compiler, dylan-environment (including execution and debugging) and dylan-*-with-tools, which includes the tools interface (remote debugging, scepter, OLE).

Also, the old pentium-dw (DylanWorks) application was removed since it is no longer used and is unnecesary..

We unified the dfmc-shell/command-shell and environment-commands/commands libraries, which are the interactive shell. (Previously the otherwise obsolete dfmc-shell was used in the interactor).