BCPL/Talk

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Please please please do not delete from Wikipedia, unless the text you are deleting is incorrect or libelous. I couldn't fill the back of a postage stamp with my knowledge of BCPL but I can see that the last person who edited this removed at least two pieces of information. If it's not outdated, and therefore inaccurate, please restore it. Also, when you're removing something, please explain why. It allows discussion and causes less grief for people with time invested in an article; some of our contributors have been feeling rather discouraged lately-- and for good reason--because of rash editing. --Koyaanis Qatsi


I just didn't think the Jargon file was a good source. Compilers may have been as small as 16KB but I find no source for it. The smallest one I have used was 32 KB.

Entries from the Jargon File do not in general make good encyclopedia (wikipedia) entries. They are slanted towards frivolity and amusement rather than neutrality and solidity.

Regardless, you are right, I should have probably left in the comment about small compilers.

Yes, I should have explained what I was doing.

I have used weasel words in the revised version. Which I will attempt to remove with some fact finding.

--drj


Yes, I've banged around the Jargon File some too and find it a bit frivolous, but I think that can generally be dealt with since it is freely modifiable. Even the CIA World Factbook and Dept. of State info on various countries, which one would expect to be simple, direct, and factual, bleeds through the occasional bias about what a country "should" be doing. I usually try to remove these, with comments why (in the summary... tsk, tsk--better to start a /Talk page). All I meant by it was that usually we can just remove the bad parts, though in some instances it would take less effort to write an entirely new one. Anyway, thanks for restoring. --KQ


Okay. I think we both think the current entry is okay. Say so if not! --drj


It looks fine. Thanks for your patience.  :-) --KQ


I would like to look over a 32K BCPL compiler. If you could record links to some of your findings here, It would be nice.


My 32KB compiler example is Acornsoft's BCPL for the Acorn Model B Microcomputer. It is proprietary, copyright, and only available in binary form. Alas. The 1980 Book (see head article) has the source for the compiler front end (lexer and syntax analyser).

Martin Richards has released a distribution of his BCPL compiler (compiling to CINTCODE I believe): http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/users/mr/BCPL.html --drj


I'd be a bit surprised if a full BCPL would run in 16K, though maybe someone did a stripped down version that would. The early C compilers ran in about 12K. Dennis Ritchie has said that some BCPL features were left out of B and C because there just wasn't room. (Of course C has since grown.) That said, the Jargon file is usually very accurate and well researched, despite its dubious and often strange style. I would trust it much more than other more sober sources, simply because it was written by people who were there, and cared, and in many cases have otherwise unavailable evidence stored in their attic.


BCPL is a very simple language (you should read the book!). 16KB sounds _about_ right for a well written hand-crafted compiler. It might be multipass in that little memory. Certainly it should be easier to write a BCPL compiler than even an early C compiler. I'd just like to know which one. --drj