FrobTADS is a full version of TADS for Unix, Linux, and Mac OS X, by Nikos Chantziaras. It includes everything you need for playing and writing TADS games, including a text-only TADS interpreter and the compilers for both TADS 2 and 3.

The latest text-only TADS features are supported, including colored text and backgrounds, TADS 3 banner windows, and timed input. FrobTADS is easy to install, with automatic configuration on all Linux versions, a pre-built install package for Mac OS X, and auto configuration on most other Unix systems.

Downloads - Latest Release

FrobTADS - The main source distribution, with the full source for the combined Unix TADS 2 & 3 interpreter, and the compilers and other tools for both TADS versions. [FrobTADS 1.2.3 - TADS 3.1.3/2.5.17; May 17, 2013; 5.0 MB download, 23 MB installed]

FrobTADS installer for Mac OS X - a pre-built install package for Mac OS X. [FrobTADS 1.2.3 - TADS 3.1.3/2.5.17; May 17, 2013; 3.7 MB download]

Note to Linux users: If your Linux distribution's repositories don't contain an up-to-date version of FrobTADS, you can usually find recent Debian and RPM packages on

Gentoo Linux users might be interested in the 'interactive-fiction' overlay, which can be accessed with the 'layman' utility.

Work in Progress

You can get the latest "work in progress" version here:

FrobTADS vs. QTads

Nikos is also the author of another Unix TADS interpreter, QTads. You might wonder what the difference is between FrobTADS and QTads. Both are Unix-based, both run on most Unix and Unix-like systems, and both are new code bases that follow modern Unix portability practices.

The difference is that FrobTADS is a text-only interpreter that runs in a terminal window, whereas QTads is a full Multimedia TADS interpreter, with full support for fonts and colors, images, sound, and all the other Multimedia TADS features. QTads runs as a graphical application under the local Unix window system (such as X Windows).

The difference is most obvious when you compare screen shots for the two systems.

FrobTADS gives you a little more flexibility because you can run it in a terminal window. When you have a graphical terminal with a window system available, though, QTads gives you full Multimedia TADS feature set.

Contacting the author

If you have comments or questions or bug reports regarding FrobTADS, you should contact Nikos. His email address is

The old Unix versions

FrobTADS supersedes an older Unix port of TADS, originally created by Dave Baggett in the late 1980s and maintained over the years by several successors. Unix and TADS have evolved since Dave's original work, and it eventually made sense to rebuild the TADS Unix version from the ground up, to follow modern Unix standards and to offer the latest TADS user interface features.

The old Unix port is no longer being maintained, but if you're interested in it for historical reference or other reasons, it can still be found via our Downloads page.