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Thread: C compilers - were there any between the first one (Unix) and the CP/M ones?

  1. #11
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    DECUS C is a conversion of Unix V6 assembly language C compiler to MACRO-11 done by Dave Conroy

    Whitesmiths was the first company to produce a C compiler outside of Bell Labs. It was created before the Standard I/O library, so
    it has its own version which is unlike either V6 or V7. There was a version for the 8080/Z80.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitesmiths

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    I suspect that BDS C wasn't the first C for CP/M.
    Not first C, may have been first C compiler for CP/M. https://www.drdobbs.com/c-programming/184408483 gives a DDJ biased account of early C on micros but none of the magazine indexes show an earlier C compiler for CP/M.

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    There were, IIRC, a couple of stripped-to-the-bare-bones C interpreters, weren't there?

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    Thanks for the further information, Al. Whitesmiths C is credited as the first commercial C compiler, and you're absolutely correct that it was also the first that wasn't derived from the Unix C.

    Later, in 1980, Small C was first released. An interpreter version was done as well. It's not strictly a CP/M C compiler, but certainly came after Whitesmiths and BDS-C.

    But as far as the original question, the answer is simply that yes, there were C compilers available in the window between the first C on Unix and the several on CP/M.

    Incidentally, K&R wasn't published until 1978.
    --
    Thus spake Tandy Xenix System III version 3.2: "Bughlt: Sckmud Shut her down Scotty, she's sucking mud again!"

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    The Wikipedia page on Whitesmiths is fascinating. Apparently it was also a cross compiler and they build a Pascal to C front end for it too. They were involved in ANSI C as well.

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    In the mid 80s, I was involved in a venture to produce a supercomputer Fortran-90 (standard still being haggled over in X3J3). Changing languages was mostly a matter of rewriting the front end; the back end took a tree structure as input. We also produced an optimizing C compiler using the same back end.

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    There were IBM 360 and Honeywell L66 implementations of the V6 compiler but as far as I can tell non still exist, although until recently their influence still persisted in the "C" standards, for example the limits on the length of external names...
    Dave
    G4UGM

    Looking for Analog Computers, Drum Plotters, and Graphics Terminals

  8. #18
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    The earliest mention of the C language I can find in Dr Dobbs is a news release 22nd June 1978 which appears in issue #27, August 1978 titled "TINY-C INTERPRETER FOR THE 8080 and PDP-11" (see page 309 of http://6502.org/documents/publicatio...nal_vol_03.pdf).
    Up till then, DDJ's first two years was completely enthralled with all matters of BASIC, Tiny BASIC, MINOL, BASEX with the odd reference to micro APL's.
    As a side note DDJ's first mention of UNIX was in Volume 2, Issue 7 August 1977.

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    Tiny-C is very limited: 16-bit integers, no floating point, no for statement. It is barely enough of a C interpreter to run introductory C programs on a micro.

  10. #20
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    To be fair, Tiny C was intended as a teaching tool.

    Both the PDP-8 architecture and the 8080 one are not well-suited to C, as they both lack instructions for procedure-local storage. At least the 8080 has a stack, but no direct stack-relative addressing modes.

    Pascal was starting to generate some real interest in the 8-bit community in the late 70s.

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