Dead Languages

What languages do we wish were still maintained? My list starts:

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FL, Backus's successor to FP


LLNL abandoned it but there is an effort to bring Sisal back to life.

And don't forget Plankalkül. :-)


Does Self count as being "dead"?

Cayenne -> Agda

The Agda theorem proving environment is based off of a revision of Cayenne... so calling it dead isn't quite right. Here are three more languages that are essentially dead:


Of the three, Modula-3 has the largest existing codebase, much of which is really quite interesting.

dylan dead?

I thought that Dylan was somehow revived with the donation of Functional Developer to the gwydion dylan group.
Sure, they're a small group, but there seem to be a bit of activity still.

I stand corrected

Yup, Gwydion Dylan is active. And it's great that the functional developer stuff has been donated.

There are also people that have the complete Critical Mass's Modula-3 codebase, and have permission to release it. Hasn't happened yet though. Many of the Digital SRC applications would be prime targets for archeology and restoration.

Cayenne -> Agda

While it is true that Agda I being actively worked on it is not a programming language. It is a logical framework for doing mathematics. You cannot run your Agda programs in any practical sense of the word. So I would say that Cayenne really is dead. Which is a bit sad since I really liked it. Especially its module system.

But I've tried to push various people to revive Cayenne or some variant of it. They are generally positive about the idea but no one wants to do the dirty work.


O'Haskell was succeeded by Timber. When I looked at what information was available for Timber a while back it seemed mostly additions to O'Haskell preserving most of the interesting aspects.

Is there anything in O'Haskell that Timber does worse or lacks?


There is some additional information on Timber at Luleå University of Technology. The interpreter (ti) is still available from OGI but it has not received much attention in the last couple of years.

The compiler (timberc) is currently in a state which makes it unusable for third parties. I hope that there will be some documentation, some examples and a useful compiler before 2006.

Reading the articles listed on those pages should give a pretty good insight about many of the ideas behind Timber.

As for what O'Haskell does better or worse than Timber I can not answer, if someone is interested I could point Johan Nordlander to this place and he could answer once he gets back from his vacation.

Some of the differences between the two are that Timber is not lazy and it is possible to do WCET analysis for Timber programs.

On the implementation side Martin Kero has implemented a garbage collector as a part of his master thesis and that should appear in the CVS rather soon. Another implementation difference is that one should not need to write glue code in the run time system to make it work with for example TK, like one had to with O'Haskell.


The program-and-proof developing system Expander2 ( has been written in O'Haskell. The core is Haskell code, but for implementing the graphics and the GUI of the system, O'Haskell's templates and Tk interface were once the best choice. Then O'Haskell developers also fulfilled my requests for slight extensions of the interface. However, since about 2 years, O'Haskell and its successor Timber seem not be maintained any longer. So which new Haskell derivative offers the same features as O'Haskell and, therefore, could be an alternative implementation language for Expander2?

O'Haskell alive successor: Reactive Objects

Peter Padawitz wrote
So which new Haskell derivative offers the same features as O'Haskell
Perhaps the following system?

Reactive Objects for Haskell by Stefan Heimann and Matthias Neubauer

From the abstract

Only a few programming languages exist that make the concept of reactive objects available to programmers. Unfortunately, all those systems seem to be either not actively maintained anymore or not really matured yet. In this paper we demonstrate how reactive objects can be incorporated into the existing general purpose programming language Haskell by making use of common extensions to Haskell. Our implementation is heavily inspired by the O'Haskell programming language. While O'Haskell is a standalone programming language not compatible with Haskell, our implementation comes as a Haskell library that smoothly integrates the concept of reactive objects into the world of regular functional programming.


Your perception that Timber is not maintained is fortunately wrong. The interpreter hasn't gotten much attention in the last years, however the compiler is actively being worked on. There is also a technical report and two articles written about Timber in the last couple of years.

Where is Timber?

Is there a publicly available Timber compiler?

Re: Where is Timber

The compiler is available via anonymous CVS as described here. As stated in an earlier comment, its current state makes it pretty unusable though.

Another couple of dead languages - Rebol clones

( Apologies - I posted this in the wrong place yesterday... )

I have two dead languages that I would *love* to see "come to life" again. Both are open-source clones of Rebol (which itself is closed-source). They are -

R-sharp ( )

Freebell ( )

R-sharp definitely works (I've tried it). I don't know if Freebell is working or not, but there is code (and lots of it) in CVS there.

I'm a huge fan of small-but-powerful programming languages, and Rebol is very much in that category, having a full graphical environment and an extremely succinct-but-powerful syntax.

Both r-sharp and freebell are a couple of real gems,
well worth a look.

P.S. - I see axilmar has had a look at Rebol - good on you! It's certainly an amzing example of the "data is code" approach (mentioned elsewhere here).

- obsidian


I've just checked out REBOL...what I can seems like an excellent programming language. It seems a lot like what I am thinking about. Of course I did not see some things that I wanted to see; for example, support for large applications, how it supports packages and modules etc. I suppose it's there though, and I just how missed it.