[TUHS] Resurrecting the B (which came before C) programming language

Angelo Papenhoff aap at papnet.eu
Mon Jan 9 05:09:19 AEST 2017


On 08/01/17, Nelson H. F. Beebe wrote:
> I was amused this morning to see a post on the tack-devel at lists.sourceforge.net
> mailing list (TACK = The Amsterdam Compiler Kit) today from David Given,
> who writes:
> 
> >> ...
> >> ... I took some time off from thinking about register allocation (ugh)
> >> and ported the ABC B compiler to the ACK. It's now integrated into the
> >> system and everything.
> >> 
> >> B is Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie's untyped programming language
> >> which later acquired types and turned into K&R C. Everything's a machine
> >> word, and pointers are *word* address, not byte addresses.
> >> 
> >> The port's a bit clunky and doesn't generate good code, but it works and
> >> it passes its own tests. It runs on all supported backends. There's not
> >> much standard library, though.
> >> 
> >> Example:
> >> 
> >> https://github.com/davidgiven/ack/blob/default/examples/hilo.b
> >> 
> >> (Also, in the process it found lots of bugs in the PowerPC mcg backend,
> >> now fixed, as well as several subtle bugs in the PowerPC ncg backend; so
> >> that's good. I'm pretty sure that this is the only B compiler for the
> >> PowerPC in existence.)
> >> ...

Some explanation: I wrote abc (https://github.com/aap/abc/) a few years
ago as a toy and because I was annoyed there was no B compiler around.
David and I met at VCFE Z├╝rich in november where I told him about it.
He then proceeded to port it to the ACK.


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