FrobTADS is a new version of TADS for Unix, written by Nikos Chantziaras.
Before FrobTADS, the Unix version of TADS had always been based on code written by Dave Baggett in the late 1980s to support TADS version 1 on Unix. The longevity of that code is pretty amazing, and says a lot about the quality of Dave's original work and the dedication of the people who've added to it and kept it working over the years. But the code has finally been showing its age of late, and it's become increasingly difficult to maintain it and to extend it to take advantage of the latest features in TADS and in Unix.
FrobTADS is a complete rewrite of the Unix version. It adds support for a number of relatively recent TADS user interface features that were missing from the old Unix version, including full support for text and background colors, TADS 3 banner windows, and timed input. It's also much more portable and more easily maintainable, as it's built to modern Unix standards. And installing FrobTADS is greatly simplified compared to the old Unix port, thanks to automatic configuration.
FrobTADS vs. QTADS
Nikos is also the author of another recent Unix TADS interpreter, QTads, so you might wonder what the difference is between FrobTADS and QTads. Both are text-only TADS interpreters, which means that they only support TADS's text features, not the extended graphical features of HTML TADS (so they can show colored text, boldface text, and TADS 3 banner windows, but they can't show different fonts or text sizes, or display pictures, or play sounds, or handle HTML table layout). Both are Unix-based, and both are new code bases that follow modern Unix portability practices.
So what's the difference? The difference is in which part of the operating system they use to show their user interfaces. FrobTADS is a character-mode application, which means that it runs in a terminal window and can only display a monospaced font. QTads, on the other hand, is a GUI application; it runs under the native window system (such as X Windows), and it can use proportionally-spaced fonts.
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What's New in This Release:
- Embedding resource directories with t3make was broken in version 1.2.1 if the files to be embedded belonged to a different user.
- This has been fixed.
- The Tads 3 test suite could not be built in 1.2.1 due to linker errors, and in the case of GCC 4.7, also compiler errors.
- This should no longer occur.