Perspecta

Perspecta Software was a start-up company founded in 1992 by John Ousterhout and Larry Rowe. Its first, and only, product was Perspecta Presents!, software for Unix workstations to create and display presentations. (Think PowerPoint!)

They even had an advertisement in an issue of "Workstation" back in 1992 or 1993.

The product was Tcl/Tk-based, even though the canvas widget had not been released at the time. A similar widget to the canvas, called a spot widget, was embedded in the executable.

A paper on the language Rush [1], a derivative of Tcl, states:

  • in Tcl, the programmer is forced to write such functions in C, negating some of the benefit of using Tcl in the first place. For example, the Perspecta Presents! slide-making program consists of ~29,000 lines of C code and only ~13,000 lines of Tcl code.

There is one example of a presentation made with Perspecta Presents! (version 1.09). It was made by JO and is a talk about Tcl back in 1993: http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/~dil/tcl/over.2up.ps

There is some old information about Perspecta Presents! at http://www.rpi.edu/dept/rcs/packages/ppres/1.10/ containing much of the library Tcl code, some pictures. There are also executables of SPARC and AIX versions.

Several Tcl'ers would be interested, for historical reasons, if the code could be released.


I had a license for Perspecta Presents! back in the 90's - it was indeed a product with a lot of potential.

Re the source code - I had a discussion with Larry Rowe at OSCON in 2001 and I seem to recall him saying the source code was still around and might be available if someone was willing to have a look (I reserve the right to be wrong on this :)) - stevel