Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bootstrapping a compiler...

Bootstrapping a compiler...  This story about a modern effort assumes that the reader will think that bootstrapping a compiler is something unusual or odd.  But back in the early days of microcomputers (mid '70s to early '80s), I and many others did this as a matter of routine.  In those days, the “computer hobbyists” (of which I was one) had ready access to computer hardware, but the software tools that existed were prohibitively expensive.  So ... if we wanted a compiler (or assembler, for that matter), we bootstrapped it.  My favorite route was to bootstrap a simple assembler, then use that to add a macro package, then use the macro assembler to write a simple compiler (usually for C, sometimes for Pascal), then write the actual target compiler in that.  I've lost track of how many times I followed that path, but it was at least a half dozen times...

This is what it feels like to be a geezer geek :)

But being a geezer EE is even more fun, 'cause then I get to talk about vacuum tubes!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so jealous. Deepest I ever went was assembly programming on a PDP 11/70