Compilers should be free. There, I said it!

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theusch wrote:

I'm going back to "blue box" days circa 1980 for 8086/80186/8088 work...

 

Ah, another Blue Box user.

 

theusch wrote:

I cannot remember exactly when C86 came out, but it would have been in the '80s...

 

The user manual is dated 1983 and it appears in handbooks from that era. It's certainly listed in the 1985 Development Systems Handbook.

 

#1 This forum helps those that help themselves

#2 All grounds are not created equal

#3 How have you proved that your chip is running at xxMHz?

#4 "If you think you need floating point to solve the problem then you don't understand the problem. If you really do need floating point then you have a problem you do not understand." - Heater's ex-boss

Last Edited: Fri. Feb 19, 2016 - 04:31 PM
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Ah, there's interesting...

 

#1 This forum helps those that help themselves

#2 All grounds are not created equal

#3 How have you proved that your chip is running at xxMHz?

#4 "If you think you need floating point to solve the problem then you don't understand the problem. If you really do need floating point then you have a problem you do not understand." - Heater's ex-boss

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Brian Fairchild wrote:
Ah, there's interesting...

Indeed.  Perhaps a close relationship during chip development, as with Atmel, AVR, and IAR?

 

So now you got me digging.  While the Wikipedia page says ISIS is Intel-only, the linked reference http://www.retrotechnology.com/d... has the mention of Gary Kildall/Digital Research and the PL/M compiler.  No mention of C there...

 

http://www.retrotechnology.com/d... mentions "IC86".  Couldn't find any more.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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Kartman wrote:
MIPs is prominent in wireless routers and dvd players.
MIPS does have some design wins in tablets and SoM or CoM but that's usually ARM.

Linux Foundation

Linux.com

Top 10 Best Linux and Android Hacker SBCs of 2015

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 15:24

by Eric Brown

http://www.linux.com/news/embedded-mobile/mobile-linux/873718-top-10-best-linux-and-android-hacker-sbcs-of-2015

...

The under $30 price range was previously inhabited only by barebones, low-powered MIPS (typically Atheros AR9331) SBCs running OpenWrt that were often more like computer-on-modules than workable hacker boards.

Yet even these WiFi-equipped MIPS boards have grown more sophisticated, and offer more for the money.

For example, one of our winners -- MediaTek’s $16, Seeed Studio built LinkIt Smart 7688 Duo, which runs OpenWrt on MediaTek’s 580MHz MT7688AN SoC, offers kit expansion with low-cost options like a $6 Grove sensor breakout and $13 Arduino breakout.

...

All our Top 10 boards are ARM-based except for the MIPS-based LinkIt SBC.

There are plenty of good low-cost MIPS boards, as well as Imagination’s pricier Creator series, and ...

However, LinkIt was the only major new non ARM product in 2015.

...

The LinkIt without the AVR mega32U4; one might have a different AVR on it : 

Seeedstudio

Buy LinkIt Smart 7688 [102110018]

http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/LinkIt-Smart-7688-p-2573.html

The operating ambient temperature rating is -20C to 55C.1

Kartman wrote:
There's a mature gcc for this architecture.
And LLVM2 and variants of GCC3.

 


1 MediaTek MT7688 Datasheet, http://labs.mediatek.com/fileMedia/download/9ef51e98-49b1-489a-b27e-391bac9f7bf3

2 http://llvm.org/Features.html

3 https://community.imgtec.com/developers/mips/tools/compilers/

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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It was a few years before I joined, but the second company I worked for was Whitesmiths Ltd, and we produced the first commercial C compiler outside of Bell Labs. PJ Plauger is a very smart man, and he ported the cross compiler to MS-DOS very soon afterward.  Written from scratch too. I heard stories about certain "Unix compatible" vendor (coughMWcoughcough) where a couple Bell Labs guys went to their trade booth, invoked some commands and found Bell Labs copyright in the binaries that were supposedly cleanroom implemented. Ooops.

 

The Days of "pure-play" compiler vendors are limited. There are values to paid compiler, mainly in user-friendlier features and other tools (e.g. GDB vs. anything else). On the ARM Cortex-M, we are betting a clean API that is 1000 times (OK, may be I exaggerated there) better than the vendor supplied libraries, a fast IDE/compiler, and tie in with key hardware module such as the new wifi2go (STM32F411+TI CC3100) will make a dent.

Richard Man http://imagecraft.com

Beyond Arduino - When you're ready to get serious...
JumpStart C Tools, The Better Alternative.

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imagecraft wrote:
... I heard stories about certain "Unix compatible" vendor (coughMWcoughcough) where a couple Bell Labs guys went to their trade booth, invoked some commands and found Bell Labs copyright in the binaries that were supposedly cleanroom implemented. Ooops.
That is a nice story, but it is not true. Early on, AT&T sent Dennis Ritchie to MWC in Chicago to investigate. He reported that the authors most likely studied the Unix source, but that Coherent was an original enough effort. (I may have saved his original post somewhere, with headers. I will see if I can find it.).

 

This thread, archived by Google, has his post to alt.folklore.computers. Although MWC's building smelled of paint, the company downstairs actually made plastic beer signs.

 

- John

Last Edited: Thu. Feb 25, 2016 - 08:26 AM
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I worked for was Whitesmiths Ltd,

I have had a Whitesmiths 68HC11 C compiler on my shelf for about 20 years, it's price at that time was about the same price as my mortgage repayments! (hmm I wonder why I stuck to ASM all this time)

 

The sales guy left here for evaluation and it is still sitting here! surprise.....does anyone remember the HC11?.......

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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When you looked at the quality of code generated by MWC compilers, I would suspect that it was home grown.

From memory, Lexx and Yacc were available very early on in the history of Unix. So building a serviceable C compiler was not impossible.

Building a good C compiler was a more difficult proposition. And surely commercial pressures drove the Compiler Wars. The end result was good and cheap.

Building a serviceable operating system was likewise not impossible. You only have to look at Minix. Most utilities were written by students. The ideas were there from a teaching perspective. It only needed Mr Torvalds to look at the principles and design Linux from scratch.

David.

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JS, the high price of the Whitesmiths HC11 compiler was the impetus that I started ImageCraft! I wrote a Subsumption Architecture Based Multitasking Kernel for my master's thesis, then decided to commercialize it. Of course it's stupid to charge big $$ for a research OS (we sold a couple copies, notable one to the Canadian Forestry and on my shelf is a VHS copy of a GIANT walking robot using the OS) so eventually I wrote ICC11, and some guy in Silicon Valley by the name of Chuck McManis (he was at Sun and involved in Java at that time) said that I should go ahead and sell that... and thus ImageCraft was born.

 

John, thanks to the link to DMR story.

Richard Man http://imagecraft.com

Beyond Arduino - When you're ready to get serious...
JumpStart C Tools, The Better Alternative.

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Surely Whitesmiths needed to charge $$$ for their HC11 Tools to recoup their development costs over a relatively small market.
TurboC was successful at a low price because the market was huge.

It is free Tools that put the kybosh on commercial development.

David.

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david.prentice wrote:
Surely Whitesmiths needed to charge $$$ for their HC11 Tools to recoup their development costs over a relatively small market. TurboC was successful at a low price because the market was huge. It is free Tools that put the kybosh on commercial development. David.

 

Yes, I agree.

Richard Man http://imagecraft.com

Beyond Arduino - When you're ready to get serious...
JumpStart C Tools, The Better Alternative.

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david.prentice wrote:
When you looked at the quality of code generated by MWC compilers, I would suspect that it was home grown....
Indeed it was. As to the code generated by some early '86 compilers, as some used to say: Don't blame God for large model. :)

- John

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The thing is, there is no such thing as 'free'. Everything has a flip-side. Between 'free' and 'expensive' is a range of possibilities, all with varying flip-sides.

 

I can have 'free' food if I walk into my local store and steal it. The flip-side is that I may well end up in prison.

I can have 'cheapest' food if I grow my own. The flip-side is the work I need to put into growing it.

I can have 'cheap' food if I shop in budget stores. The flip-side is that the quality is not the best and your favourites might not be available week-to-week.

I can have 'normal' price food if I shop in mainstream stores.

I can have 'premium' price food if I shop in premium stores. The flip-side is that I will pay more for it.

 

And then there's food that is healthy/organic/ecological/etc/etc. All of which have flip-sides.

 

 

When it comes to IDEs and compilers I can have 'free' in the form of Atmel Studio. The flip-side is, that on my PC, it takes well over a minute to load, takes an age to do anything, has a bloated UI, and hacks me off every time I try it. And don't get me started on what is does to USB drivers to mess up other applications.

 

I could sit down and fix it. It'll likely mean a faster PC which means it certainly is no longer free. It'll certainly take a couple of days at least to fix it (if it can be fixed), time which I could spend earning money. So for me, Studio certainly isn't free.

 

I could install Eclipse and configure it to use GCC. Except I hate Eclipse. It's a big pile of does-everything bloat. It's not an IDE for 8-bit development.

 

How many buttons do you really need on a IDE? I reckon 90% of what you do can be done with 10 buttons.

 

I know there's a certain amount of nostalgia creeping in but I used to have so much more fun developing on Intel MDS 'Blue Boxes'. It was all command line driven with a basic, but functional, text editor. Knock up a batch file at the start to control the compile/link/locate operation and you were good to go.

 

I currently use one of the two mid-priced C compilers. As a compiler it works fine. I have some issues with the UI having too many buttons but the support is good and a couple of my feature requests have been incorporated into the product. But I still have to use Studio for debugging which means I tend to debug by dumping out a serial port, writing to an LCD, flashing an LED, or wiggling a pin connected to a 'scope.

 

As it's licence renewal time I've just installed the other mid-priced C compiler/IDE, the one which does have debugging built in. It's currently starting up 6 times faster than Studio with a much smaller memory footprint. Time will tell.

#1 This forum helps those that help themselves

#2 All grounds are not created equal

#3 How have you proved that your chip is running at xxMHz?

#4 "If you think you need floating point to solve the problem then you don't understand the problem. If you really do need floating point then you have a problem you do not understand." - Heater's ex-boss

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Brian Fairchild wrote:
I know there's a certain amount of nostalgia creeping in but I used to have so much more fun developing on Intel MDS 'Blue Boxes'. It was all command line driven with a basic, but functional, text editor. Knock up a batch file at the start to control the compile/link/locate operation and you were good to go.

Those days haven't gone - you can have a lot of fun driving avr-gcc from the command line ;-)

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Brian Fairchild wrote:
... When it comes to IDEs and compilers I can have 'free' in the form of Atmel Studio. The flip-side is, that on my PC, it takes well over a minute to load, takes an age to do anything, has a bloated UI, and hacks me off every time I try it. And don't get me started on what is does to USB drivers to mess up other applications.

 

I could sit down and fix it. It'll likely mean a faster PC which means it certainly is no longer free. It'll certainly take a couple of days at least to fix it (if it can be fixed), time which I could spend earning money. So for me, Studio certainly isn't free.

 

I could install Eclipse and configure it to use GCC. Except I hate Eclipse. It's a big pile of does-everything bloat. It's not an IDE for 8-bit development.

 

How many buttons do you really need on a IDE? I reckon 90% of what you do can be done with 10 buttons....

I have been pretty happy cross-developing with Apple XCode then compiling for the final target with avr-gcc. Older XCode versions (I have not needed later ones) are thoroughly capable, free, and do not have many buttons:

 

xcode_debug_window

 

XCode's main drawback is it likely needs Apple products, which Apple does not support like they used to.

- John

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I think we should have free everything.  I'm a hippie.smiley

 

OS9 for the Motorola 6809 came with a C complier.  OS9 for the 68000 came with a C++ compiler too.  It came with a lot of info including correspondence between the people at CERN that ported it to OS9.

 

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js wrote:

anyone remember the HC11?.......

 

I've still got one.  I also programmed it in asm.  That's the last of many CPUs I programmed in asm.

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There's free, and then there's free.

Does it really need to be repeated to this bunch?  OK:

"Think free as in free speech, not free beer"

 

I know there's a certain amount of nostalgia creeping in

Here's mine.  Want a taste?  Load the EDTASM binary (above the 'Load Bin' button) into this in-browser HTML5 Coco 2 emulator.

 

Those days haven't gone - you can have a lot of fun driving avr-gcc from the command line ;-)

And I do!

 

BTW, Coherent went open source last year.  I wonder if it can be ported to AVR ;-)

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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Excuse the dust smiley

 

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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js wrote:

Excuse the dust smiley

If you'd keep those books in a cardboard box like I do, they wouldn't get dusty.

 

I don't see your HC11 manual.  Want to borrow mine?