Microsoft open sources GWBASIC

Paul Koning paulkoning at
Fri May 29 19:01:47 CDT 2020

> On May 29, 2020, at 5:24 PM, Jim Brain via cctalk <cctalk at> wrote:
> On 5/29/2020 4:06 PM, Paul Koning via cctalk wrote:
>>> On May 29, 2020, at 4:25 PM, Norman Jaffe via cctalk <cctalk at> wrote:
>>> C is portable by design and runs on many architectures.
>>> It doesn't need 512Kb of RAM and it doesn't depend on Unix.
>> Yes.  But the same is true for many languages.  Fortran is a particularly good example, but there are plenty of portable languages (Algol, Basic, LISP, Python, COBOL, Ada, RPG, ...).  Some more than C; for example, C doesn't like one's complement machines (though it has been ported to at least one) and things get somewhat interesting if the machine doesn't have byte addressing.
>> Since C aims to be a system implementation language, unlike Fortran or Basic or Algol, it tends to expose, or at least let you see, machine details.  That can get in the way of portability.  One small example is that C thinks address 0 is a null pointer rather than a valid pointer.  On modern systems that is true (partly because C says so) but on a PDP-11 it isn't.
>> 	paul
> At the risk of fanning the language fire, C seems to be a smaller step up from native machine language than most other languages.  It's like 80% of the portability with 20% of the effort of writing directly in ASM.
> Jim

True.  "High level assembly language" is one tag applied to C.  It also means it has weaker safety properties than most high level languages.  Being "feebly typed" is one example.

There are certainly other, lesser known, languages that have similar properties.  FORTH is one.  Two that are not inherently machine-specific but were only found on one architecture are ESPOL (Burroughs mainframes) and SYMPL and CYBIL (CDC 6000 series mainframes).  And of course BLISS, on a number of DEC machines.


More information about the cctech mailing list