[TUHS] sml/nj and unix/plan9

Andrew Koenig ark-mlist at comcast.net
Fri May 8 00:58:08 AEST 2020

> Was sml/nj part of UNIX at some point? was it considered as a language to
> (proof tools may be)?
> I was wondering if there is any history in common between the two. I've
> unable to find anything :-?, please share your stories! :-D
> Is it true that the language was too slow to be generally useful? There
seems to be
> commentaries along these lines on the internet.

To my knowledge, sml/nj was never part of the Unix distribution, though it
was definitely available thereon (and also on SunOS). One of the main people
behind SML/NJ was Dave MacQueen, who was in the same general organization as
the Unix people.

As for sml/nj being too slow to be generally useful, Rob Pike (I think) once
wrote a desk-calculator program in C. I took that program and rewrote it in
sml/nj. Compared to the C version, it ran about twice as slowly and the
source code was about half the size. So no, I don't think sml/nj was slow.

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