Programming language failings [was Re: strangest systems I've sent email from]

Peter Cetinski pete at
Sat Apr 30 08:58:06 CDT 2016

> On Apr 30, 2016, at 9:39 AM, Diane Bruce <db at> wrote:
> Now wait a minute here. C is a very old language. When it was first written
> as a recursive descent compiler, compiler technology was very primitive.
> K&R style code with primitive compilers pretty much resulted in high level
> assembler. Look at the keyword 'register' and the rationale given for it.
> Now on that we furiously agree. One problem has been getting that through
> to people who insist that C is still a high level assembler and has
> not changed from the time when it was a hand crafted recursive descent
> LR to the modern compiler with all the lovely optimisations we can do.
> Diane
> -- 
> - db at db at

A good example from my area of vintage computing enthusiasm is the Misosys C Compiler for the TRS-80.  It will compile pure K&R C into intermediate assembly language files that you would then feed into the Misosys MRAS assembly language development system just as if you were developing the assembly from scratch.  Of course, the entire process is deathly slow on original hardware and the level of optimization is no where near what you could achieve with hand-written assembly, both of which are critical concerns on 2 Mhz Z80 systems for any non-trivial applications.

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