Seems an appropriate moment to ask this.... although I'm not aware of any
paper by Wirth himself stating this principle.

I'm curious...

You are known for writing "fast" compilers... (ie. compilers that compile

What do you make of Wirth's "Oberon" criteria for optimization passes?

(ie. The idea that "Optimization passes should pay for themselves" or
"compiling the compiler with a version with the new optimization pass
should be faster than compiling the smaller / simpler compiler with the
less optimized version of the compiled compiler")

Seems intuitively appealing to me... except somewhere along we end up
comparing relative amounts of chalk and cheese...

ie. I think there is a sound mathematical principle down there
somewhere.... but I'm not sure it has been properly stated.

On Sat, Mar 15, 2014 at 6:38 AM, Walter Bright

> On 3/14/2014 10:24 AM, Paulo Pinto wrote:
>> Sadly the world at large ignored what was happening at ETHZ during the
>> mid 90's
>> and decided to invest in optimizing C compilers instead.
> The shift away from Pascal/Modula2 happened earlier than that. The
> beginning of the end of Pascal was in 1987 - when Zortech C++ was released.
> Why do I say that?
> Far and away, the most popular platform for programmers was the PC. Before
> ZTC++, C++ was unusable on the PC. ZTC++ caught the OOP wave right on the
> upside, and it was a huge hit on the PC. It was successful enough that
> Microsoft decided they needed to do a C++ too, as well as causing Borland
> to turn away from Borland Pascal towards C++.
> (One of the big problems with the Pascal family of languages is the code
> was not portable between platforms, or even between vendors. There was no
> large library of 32 bit code one could port to the PC. There was with C. C
> and C++ could compile and run on 16 bit PCs and 32 bit workstations.)
> By the time Modula2 came around, the battle was already lost for the
> Pascal family of languages.
> So really, you can arguably assign significant blame on yours truly for
> the failure of Modula2. (At a software trade show in 89 or 90 or so, one of
> the compiler devs for Stepstone M2 ruefully told me that he'd "backed the
> wrong horse".)
> So why did I do a C/C++ compiler initially rather than Pascal/M2? Simple -
> I'd used Pascal in the late 70's, and hated it. I just couldn't get
> anything done in Pascal, it had too many frustrating restrictions, as well
> as simply looking ugly on a page. C and me was love at first sight.

John Carter
Phone : (64)(3) 358 6639
Tait Electronics
PO Box 1645 Christchurch
New Zealand


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