Moving to COFF where this probably belongs because its less UNIX and more
On Tue, Nov 23, 2021 at 3:00 AM Henry Bent <henry.r.bent(a)gmail.com> wrote:
What language were the PL/I compilers written in?
I don't know about anyone else, but the VAX PL/1 front-end was bought by
DEC from Freiburghouse (??SP??) in Framingham, MA. It was written in PL/1
on a Multics system. The Front-end was the same one that Pr1me used
although Pr1me also bought their Fortran, which DEC did not. [FWIW: The
DEC/Intel Fortran Front-End was written in Pascal -- still is last time I
talked to the compiler folks].
I do not know what the Freiburghouse folks used for a compiler-compiler
(Steve or Doug might ), but >>I think<< it might not have used one.
Culter famously led the new backend for it and had to shuttle tapes from
MIT to ZKO in Nashua during the development. The backend was written in a
combination of PL/1, BLISS32 and Assembler. Once the compiler could self
host, everything moved to ZKO.
That compiler originally targeted VMS, but was moved to Unix/VAX at one
point as someone else pointed out.
When the new GEM compilers were about 10-15 years later, I was under the
impressions that the original Freiburghouse/Culter hacked front-end was
reworked to use the GEM backend system, as GEM used BLISS, and C for the
runtimes and a small amount of Assembler as needed for each ISA [And I
believe it continues to be the same from VSI folks today]. GEM based PL/1
was released on Alpha when I was still at DEC, and I believe that it was
released for Itanium a few years later [by Intel under contract to
Compaq/HP]. VSI has built a GEM based Intel*64 and is releasing/has
released VMS for same using it; I would suspect they moved PL/1 over also
[Their target customer is the traditional DEC VMS customer that still has
active applications and wants to run them on modern HW]. I'll have to ask
one of my former coworkers, who at one point was and I still think is, the
main compiler guy at VSI/resident GEM expert.
Wikipedia claims that IBM is still developing a PL/I
compiler, which I
suppose I have no reason to disbelieve, but I'm very curious as to who is
using it and for what purpose.
As best I can tell, commercial sites still use it for traditional code,
just like Cobol. It's interesting, Intel does neither but we spend a ton of
money on Fortran because so much development (both old and new) in the
scientific community requires it. I answered why elsewhere in more
is Fortran used these days
and Is Fortran still alive
My >>guess<< is that PL/1 is suffering the same fate as Cobol, and fading
because the apps are being/have been slowly rewritten from custom code to
using COTS solutions from folks like Oracle, SAS, BAAN and the like. Not
so for Fortran and the reason is that the math has not changed. The core
of these codes is the same was it was in the 1960s/70s when they were
written. A friend of mine used to be the Chief Metallurgist for the US Gov
at NIST and as Dr. Fek put it so well: * "I have over 60 years worth of
data that we have classified and we understand what it is telling us. If
you magically gave me new code to do the same thing as what we do with our
processes that we have developed over the years, I would have to reclassify
all that data. It's just not economically interesting." *I personally
equate it to the QWERTY keyboard. Just not going to change. *i.e.* *"Simple
economics always beats sophisticated architecture."*