[TUHS] C compiler

Wesley Parish wes.parish at paradise.net.nz
Tue Sep 27 17:45:03 AEST 2005

B!  I would like to have a look at that - that, and NB.

Does anyone know if they're still extant, or their documentation at the very 
least?  (I've seen BCPL, and read some of its documentation, but it's still a 
hop-skip-and-a-jump away from C.  Some BCPL things do seem a little bit 
strange to a C user ... ;)

Wesley Parish

On Tue, 27 Sep 2005 10:04, Warren Toomey wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 26, 2005 at 03:28:33PM -0400, Bill Cunningham wrote:
> >     In some of the eary versions of unix if I'm correct you had to
> > generate the C compiler. Now how was that done? Was the compiler written
> > in assembly and the assembler generated crt0 crt1 and so on?
> If you had a distribution tape, then it came with C compiler binaries and
> source. You used the compiler binaries to rebuild the compiler.
> Obviously, to get to that point was a bit harder.
> A good reference to this is "The Development of the C Language" by
> Dennis Ritchie, available at
> http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/who/dmr/chist.html
> A quick read seems to indicate that Ken created a language called B which
> was patterned on BCPL, with a compiler initially in assembly language. Then
> Ken rewrote the B compiler in B and bootstrapped it using the existing
> compiler. Then Dennis extended the B language to become NB, which then
> evolved to become C.
> Along the way, new language features were added in to the compiler,
> but the features couldn't be used _in_ the compiler until they worked.
> As noted on this page,
> http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/who/dmr/primevalC.html, Dennis says "Evolving
> compilers written in their own language are careful not to take advantage
> of their own latest features."
> Cheers,
> 	Warren
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