6.1  The Folks Who Made It Happen

“If I have seen further than others, it is
by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
Isaac Newton

Ten thousand years ago, DVDs were called "campfire stories". Every night before sleeping, as the stars wheeled overhead and eyes unknown gleamed then vanished out in the darkness, someone sitting in the circle would say, "Tell us a tale." Each generation listened rapt to their grandparents, reworked the stories, and retold them to their grandchildren. When young Walt Disney wrought his Snow White, he mined a cultural vein from millennia uncounted.

Today the folktale is an art largely lost, but open source code carries on the folk culture tradition. Such code is folk code, reworked by each successive generation until the names are lost and only the code itself lives on.

Mythryl is a rewrite of the SML/NJ compiler which is the work of many, many talented hands building on work earlier yet; I know the names of but few of these digital storytellers.

The original ML language was designed and implemented by Robin Milner, wellspring from which all subsequent developments flow.

The seminal SML document is The Definition of Standard ML by Robin Milner, Mads Tofte, Robert Harper, and David MacQueen, all of whom have made other major contributions, Robert Harper for example going on the head the Fox project at CMU to test SML/NJ as a practical programming language, to pioneer mechanical verification of critical SML/NJ formal properties and to supervise a succession of major PhD theses on fundamentals of ML semantics.

The co-founders of the SML/NJ compiler project were

By 1991 contributors already included:

As of roughly 2005, the core Fellowship of SML/NJ development team officially consisted of the following. (I’ve added specific areas of contribution to the best of my knowledge; corrections and additions most welcome.)

Other contributors I know of:

I’ve no doubt that through sheer ignorance I’ve left out more SML/NJ contributors than I’ve mentioned; I again apologize for all oversights.

Contributors to the ML and fp communities — and thus indirectly to SML/NJ and ultimately Mythryl — number in the hundreds if not thousands; I could not hope to enumerate them, but it would be a crime not to mention at least:

If you ever find Mythryl useful for any task, if you ever derive any enjoyment from Mythryl coding, if you ever learn anything about programming from using Mythryl, then you owe these gentlemen gratitude, a round of applause, and perhaps a beer should you meet one in person. Without them Mythryl would not exist.

Contributors specifically to Mythryl include (alphabetically):

Comments and suggestions to: