[TUHS] PCC for the i386

Charles H Sauer sauer at technologists.com
Fri Jul 12 05:39:48 AEST 2019

Dell SVR4 included both pcc & gcc. gcc was used to build the system.

I think Richard Wirt's group at Intel contributed to optimization for 
486, IIRC, probably for gcc, possibly for pcc.

I assume AIX/386 used pcc, but Clem likely knows for sure.


On 7/11/2019 12:05 PM, Clem Cole wrote:
> Yup, that was Steve Ward's folks in the MIT/RTS group - it was the NU 
> computer work.  John Siber did most of the compiler work (funny, Steve 
> Johnson and I were talking about some of that work last night at the 
> UNIX50 party last night).  tjt wrote the 68K assembler ward's folks 
> used.  I don't remember where the Z8000 assembler came, but I'm petty 
> sure that the Intel assembler and some of the tools other John had 
> brought back from his summers in MH.
> I think (but don't know for sure) the Intel 8086 assembler was done at 
> AT&T first.  IIRC it may have come out of Dale's group in Columbus.   I 
> do know Dale's group had done a Z80 C Compiler using the Ritchie 
> Compiler at some point in 1978 timeframe (and at one time I had, but can 
> not seem to find it, in my archives).
> When Intel released the 386, I believe the AT&T 8086 assembler was 
> updated for the new 32 instructions; although who did that/where was 
> done, I'm not sure.
> Steve is probably the best source for most of this as he managed the 
> team in Summit doing the different AT&T front and back ends when they 
> tried to centralize the compiler work for UNIX.
> On Thu, Jul 11, 2019 at 12:48 PM Warner Losh <imp at bsdimp.com 
> <mailto:imp at bsdimp.com>> wrote:
>     On Thu, Jul 11, 2019 at 10:31 AM Clem cole <clemc at ccc.com
>     <mailto:clemc at ccc.com>> wrote:
>         By the time of 4.2 the switch from the  Ritchie and Johnson
>         compilers at UCB had begun.  Remember the primary output of Rms
>         at that point was emacs and gcc.
>         CSRG wanted the different backends for C.   ThAts it.  Besides
>         the vax, Rms had done 68000 and 386 back ends then.
>         With the original system V, all of AT&T, Intel and IBM paid
>         Interactive Systems Corp (aka ISC) to port the System V/Vax code
>         to a 386 ps/2 and an Intel reference system that used an ISA
>         bus.  This would be eventually released in source at the 386
>         port from AT&T.   As part of the contract summit supplied the
>         compiler
>         I know the AT&T assembler with it’s backwards syntax from Intel
>         was done before rms did his.  He was compatible with the summit
>         assembler.  I don’t remember who’s 386 backend came out first. 
>         I think is was the summit compiler but you needed a system v
>         license which UCB did not have. 
>     There's also a fair amount of work at MIT to do Intel code
>     generation for 8086 (small mode) that was extended by Queens College
>     London (I think, I gotta grab the tapes again) to do large mode.
>     I've run into this looking for a compiler for the Venix source
>     restoration project I've been tilting at. I found those based on a
>     cryptic comment I found somewhere online about the tech behind Venix
>     that wasn't from AT&T. I don't know if ISC started with them as a
>     base or not, nor really how the MIT compilers came about, but they
>     claim to be PCC based somehow. Don't know if this helps you on your
>     quest... BTW, I found these when I found the latest pcc-restoration
>     sources didn't have a working i86 backend anymore (there was once
>     one for Minux, but when I built it I couldn't get it to generate
>     sensible code at all).
>     Warner
>         Clem
>         Sent from my PDP-7 Running UNIX V0 expect things to be almost
>         but not quite.
>         On Jul 11, 2019, at 8:50 AM, Jason Stevens
>         <jsteve at superglobalmegacorp.com
>         <mailto:jsteve at superglobalmegacorp.com>> wrote:
>>         That would make sense.   I was able to find some info on PCC2 here
>>         http://doc.cat-v.org/unix/unix-before-berkeley/
>>         I'm guessing along with the adoption of emacs the csrg must
>>         have been further gnu synergy...  Or maybe PCC2 just wasn't
>>         available outside of the labs?
>>         Or maybe by '88 gcc was already usurping many of the c
>>         compilers of the era.
>>         On Thu, Jul 11, 2019 at 11:37 PM +0800, "Clem cole"
>>         <clemc at ccc.com <mailto:clemc at ccc.com>> wrote:
>>             I believe the pcc/386 came out of Steve Johnson team at
>>             Summit with the PCC2 work.
>>             Sent from my PDP-7 Running UNIX V0 expect things to be
>>             almost but not quite.
>>             On Jul 11, 2019, at 7:53 AM, Jason Stevens
>>             <jsteve at superglobalmegacorp.com
>>             <mailto:jsteve at superglobalmegacorp.com>> wrote:
>>>             Does anyone know where the 386 port from PCC came from?
>>>             __ __
>>>             While trying to build a Tahoe userland for the i386, it
>>>             seems that everything was built with GCC…
>>>             Was there a PCC for the i386 around ’88-90?  It seems
>>>             after the rapid demise of the Tahoe/Harris
>>>             HCX-9 that the non Vax/HCX-9 platforms had moved to GCC?____
>>>             __ __
>>>             Also anyone know any good test software for LIBC?  I’ve
>>>             been tracing through some____
>>>             strange issues rebuilding LIBC from Tahoe, where I had to
>>>             include some bits from____
>>>             Reno to get diropen to actually work.  I would imagine
>>>             there ought to have been some____
>>>             platform exercise code to make sure things were actually
>>>             working instead of say____
>>>             building as much as you can, and playing rogue for a few
>>>             hours to make sure____
>>>             its stable enough.

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