Why Modula-2?

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strictly noreply

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Jun 23, 2009, 6:48:07 AM6/23/09
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Google Groups reports 60 something subscribers for this group. I
wonder what everybody's interest in Modula-2 is. Are you simply
interested because you have to maintain legacy code or are you
actually doing new development in Modula-2, if so which area? system
development? embedded? GUI apps? Web? Or is your interest only due to
being taught M2 at university and you're out of here as soon as the
course finishes?

Chris Burrows

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Jun 23, 2009, 8:42:08 AM6/23/09
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"strictly noreply" <beekay....@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:20fd74b4-b56c-45dd...@12g2000pri.googlegroups.com...

> Google Groups reports 60 something subscribers for this group. I
> wonder what everybody's interest in Modula-2 is. Are you simply
> interested because you have to maintain legacy code or are you
> actually doing new development in Modula-2, if so which area? system
> development? embedded? GUI apps? Web?

My interest is mainly historical / nostalgic - Oberon and Component Pascal
have taken the place of Modula-2 in my development activities.

However, I still occasionally reuse Modula-2 code - it takes very little
effort to convert it over. Just this week I've been porting some graphics
processing code that I originally wrote in Modula-2 about 20 years ago to
Oberon-07 running on an ARM processor. Current 32-bit microcontroller-based
embedded systems have limited capabilities and resources similar to those of
the Modula-2 platforms of the 1980's.

> Or is your interest only due to
> being taught M2 at university and you're out of here as soon as the
> course finishes?

If only it had been taught when I was at university ...

--
Chris Burrows
CFB Software
http://www.cfbsoftware.com/modula2


Marco van de Voort

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Jun 23, 2009, 8:44:53 AM6/23/09
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I've used (Topspeed) Modula2 in the past, and work nowadays with Delphi and
Free Pascal. I still monitor the group because it is Pascal's closest
cousin.

Gaius Mulley

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Jun 23, 2009, 10:54:22 AM6/23/09
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strictly noreply <beekay....@gmail.com> writes:

Hi,

yes: to new development in M2 (gm2/gdb), maintaining legacy code
and new development in other projects. Embedded gm2 with (avr).
Hope to explore X11/OpenGL with gm2/python in the future.

regards,
Gaius

Georg Lokowandt

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Jun 23, 2009, 1:07:24 PM6/23/09
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"strictly noreply" <beekay....@gmail.com> wrote in message
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At some point in time I was tired of porting my pet project (compiler area)
from one language version to the next, so I stay with iso-m2 for the next
years. Legacy and new development.

Regards, Georg


Rob Solomon

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Jun 26, 2009, 7:25:40 PM6/26/09
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I do not make my living programming, so I am free to code in whatever
language I like. I still do new projects for myself in Stony Brook
Modula-2. It works, produces fast small .exe files, and the debugger
works well (in its own virtual machine).

However, I have become interested in Ada and have started to play with
it. After all, a language required by our DoD will not go away any
time soon. It is a very active newsgroup, even 20+ years after its
initial release.

I would take the numbers reported by Google Groups w/ a GRAIN of sand.
I do not access this group thru google, and I suspect others do not
either.

--rob

Chris Burrows

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Jun 26, 2009, 9:17:39 PM6/26/09
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"Rob Solomon" <use...@drrob1-noreply.com> wrote in message
news:eola451oih359fko5...@4ax.com...

>
> I would take the numbers reported by Google Groups w/ a GRAIN of sand.
> I do not access this group thru google, and I suspect others do not
> either.
>

AFAIK it doesn't matter whether you access the group via Google as to
whether you get counted or not. Google is just extracting the information by
analysing the messages. e.g. the number of *recent* authors is given as 31.
Unlike the Usenet feeds which typically only keep recent messages, it has
all of the messages posted to this group since November 1986. The busiest
month was October 1995. For a month by month count see:

http://groups.google.com/group/comp.lang.modula2/about

Christoph Schlegel

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Jun 27, 2009, 8:41:33 AM6/27/09
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Chris Burrows schrieb:

> "Rob Solomon" <use...@drrob1-noreply.com> wrote in message
> news:eola451oih359fko5...@4ax.com...
>> I would take the numbers reported by Google Groups w/ a GRAIN of sand.
>> I do not access this group thru google, and I suspect others do not
>> either.
>>
>
> AFAIK it doesn't matter whether you access the group via Google as to
> whether you get counted or not. Google is just extracting the information by
> analysing the messages. e.g. the number of *recent* authors is given as 31.
> Unlike the Usenet feeds which typically only keep recent messages, it has
> all of the messages posted to this group since November 1986. The busiest
> month was October 1995. For a month by month count see:
>

The posts from net.lang.mod2 are also still available (1983.1986).

http://groups.google.com/group/net.lang.mod2/topics

net.lang.mod2 was renamed to comp.lang.modula2 in 1986.

First archived post from 1983:

http://groups.google.com/group/net.lang.mod2/browse_thread/thread/9f317651b100cf8b

Chris Burrows

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Jun 27, 2009, 9:22:04 AM6/27/09
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"Christoph Schlegel" <mod...@gmx.net> wrote in message
news:975b4$4a46137d$557f9732$26...@news.inode.at...

>
> The posts from net.lang.mod2 are also still available (1983.1986).
>
> http://groups.google.com/group/net.lang.mod2/topics
>

Interesting - thanks for the link.

In those days most of the Modula-2 related correspondence I read was via
snail-mail in the "MODUS Quarterly", the newsletter for the Modula-2 User
Society and the "Journal of Pascal, Ada and Modula-2".

I still have my copies of JPAM and a couple of hundred pages or so that I
kept from various issues of the MODUS Quarterly in my office. One day I
might get around to scanning some of the more interesting articles /
letters.

Martin Brown

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Jun 27, 2009, 12:38:18 PM6/27/09
to
Rob Solomon wrote:
> I do not make my living programming, so I am free to code in whatever
> language I like. I still do new projects for myself in Stony Brook
> Modula-2. It works, produces fast small .exe files, and the debugger
> works well (in its own virtual machine).

It is also worth having a copy of the now free XDS M2 compiler. Its
static dataflow analysis of code is quite impressive for compiling
legacy programs and finding latent bugs in them at compiler time. It has
extensions to allow old JPI code to compile with minimal alterations.
ISTR StonyBrook was rather closer to PIM3.


>
> However, I have become interested in Ada and have started to play with
> it. After all, a language required by our DoD will not go away any
> time soon. It is a very active newsgroup, even 20+ years after its
> initial release.
>
> I would take the numbers reported by Google Groups w/ a GRAIN of sand.
> I do not access this group thru google, and I suspect others do not
> either.

I think they also count the number of distinct authors. General rule is
there are 12 lurkers for every regular poster in most newsgroups.

Regards,
Martin Brown

Olafur Gunnlaugsson

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Jun 27, 2009, 4:46:07 PM6/27/09
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New dev, both in Modula and related languages

lk

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Jun 29, 2009, 3:15:21 PM6/29/09
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"strictly noreply" <beekay....@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:20fd74b4-b56c-45dd...@12g2000pri.googlegroups.com...

In my case I learned Modula-2 way back in 1992-93 at Uni. Loved it. Not
sure if it was just a great language (particularly for teaching) or the
platform we learned it on (Sun Sparc workstations running OpenWindows and
solaris) or the Sun Modula-2 compiler - which was brilliant.

Nowadays I write in java which I don't much like but of all the oo languages
it's convenient - besides which the compiler and ide is free!

I come here from time to time to see if there's any renaissance in m2.


Nemo ad Nusquam

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Jun 30, 2009, 2:43:20 PM6/30/09
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I write new code (as well as maintain legacy code) but as a hobby. I no
longer develop code commercially.

I learned M2 after several years as a commercial developer and found it
far, far superior to C. Due to commercial constraints, I could only
write a few applications in it. That increased my respect for the
language. (The software world would be a very, very different place had
M2 taken off rather than C.)

--
Posted via NewsDemon.com - Premium Uncensored Newsgroup Service
------->>>>>>http://www.NewsDemon.com<<<<<<------
Unlimited Access, Anonymous Accounts, Uncensored Broadband Access

strictly noreply

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Jul 2, 2009, 8:13:29 AM7/2/09
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interesting replies, keep it up folks, there ought to be more M2 users
than a dozen or so :-)

Nemo ad Nusquam

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Jul 2, 2009, 10:08:51 AM7/2/09
to
strictly noreply wrote:
> interesting replies, keep it up folks, there ought to be more M2 users
> than a dozen or so :-)

You might try asking on the gm2 mailing list. (You need not join to ask.)

Chris Burrows

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Jul 2, 2009, 9:05:03 PM7/2/09
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"Nemo ad Nusquam" <ne...@invalid.invalid> wrote in message
news:4a4cbee1$0$5349$b9f6...@news.newsdemon.com...

> strictly noreply wrote:
>> interesting replies, keep it up folks, there ought to be more M2 users
>> than a dozen or so :-)
>
> You might try asking on the gm2 mailing list. (You need not join to ask.)
>

Also on the XDS Modula-2 forum:

http://www.excelsior-usa.com/forum/index.php?board=6.0

... and the Mocka and Modula-2 mailing list:

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mocka/

... and the GPCP mailing list (also used for GPM2):

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/GPCP/

Christoph Schlegel

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Jul 3, 2009, 1:48:06 AM7/3/09
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strictly noreply schrieb:

I had to learn Turbo Pascal in school in the early 90s. We used TP 3.0
with its outstanding IDE. Looking through some boxes of 5,25 shareware
disks I found a copy of Fitted Soft Modula-2 which was very similar to
Turbo Pascal in terms of usability. After years without Modula-2 I
played with Gardens Point Modula-2 for DOS and got reinterested in the
language. Since then I do small projects for home use in Modula-2,
mostly using XDS Modula-2, CGI and a browser to get nice interfaces for
my programs. Every now and then I play with the really impressive GNU
Modula-2 and I maintain the Free Modula-2 Pages since 2002 when it was
very quiet around the language.

Christoph Schlegel

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Jul 3, 2009, 12:29:32 PM7/3/09
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Chris Burrows schrieb:

Also interesting. I'd be glad to help you in making this available but I
think I am located on the opposite side of this planet...

Rainard Buchmann

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Jul 3, 2009, 1:46:46 PM7/3/09
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"strictly noreply" <beekay....@gmail.com> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:20fd74b4-b56c-45dd...@12g2000pri.googlegroups.com...

> I wonder what everybody's interest in Modula-2 is.


I'm programming in modula-2 since 1984.

First with a compiler of my own on a special german Z80-hardware,
porting my older Pascal-software from 1978 to this system and
making a client-server database and textsystem with this compiler,
then with a port of this compiler to a special M68020-system,
making an operating system in modula-2 for this hardware and
porting the database and textsystem with this compiler to it.

Since 1994 I'm using Stony Brook modula-2 on PC's, beginning
with 16-bit-DOS-version, then 32-bit-extender-version, since 1997
with Windows-versions (thanks to Richard Gogesch and Norman Black).

Nowadays I would say I'm programming 80% of my time in modula-2,
using VB6 when the focus is on GUI-programming, and some other
languages like Java, Perl, C, ASM - depending on the wishes of
my customers.

Whenever possible I work with modula-2 :

No other language makes it so easy for me to maintain great
projects over long times (the oldest projects really are from
1984 - always being changed and developed forth ...)

I have worked with other languages since 1970, beginning
with RPG, Cobol, Fortran, Algol60, PL/I, Algol68, BCPL,
Pascal, some Assemblers for different hardware ...

I don't know any compiler, that is able to generate such
compact and efficient code like the Stony Brook compiler
(except ASM - sometimes I'm using it, but it is a little bit
terrible :)

Over the last 25 years I have programmed a lot of stuff in
modula-2 - not just for fun but for money.

So I'm living mainly by programming in modula-2.

Rainard

Fruttenboel

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Jul 3, 2009, 3:27:11 PM7/3/09
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On Jun 23, 12:48 pm, strictly noreply <beekay.nore...@gmail.com>
wrote:

> wonder what everybody's interest in Modula-2 is. Are you simply
> interested because you have to maintain legacy code or are you
> actually doing new development in Modula-2, if so which area?

Well, I just LOVE Modula-2. I use it for all my programming (since
1998; before that I was into assembly language).

I'm a Linux guy so I use Mocka 0608m. Here you can read more about my
subjects:

http://fruttenboel.verhoeven272.nl/cgi/index.html
http://fruttenboel.verhoeven272.nl/AVR/avrdis.html.gz
http://fruttenboel.verhoeven272.nl/framestomp.html
http://fruttenboel.verhoeven272.nl/m4m/index.html
http://fruttenboel.verhoeven272.nl/mocka/index.html
http://fruttenboel.verhoeven272.nl/Prog/chall2.html
http://fruttenboel.verhoeven272.nl/Prog/chall3.html

plus all other quick and dirty test programs.

This http://fruttenboel.verhoeven272.nl/mocka/random.html is my latest
product.

M4M is a simple compiler for microcontrollers based on Wirth;s PL/0
sample language. It's finished, apart from the code generator. I'll do
that tomorrow.. ;o)

Modula-2 is my kind of language. I like to be treated with respect by
a compiler. Mocka helps me find my own weaknesses, instead of just
producing bad code.

For GUI apps you'd better start with Murus or embed Modula-2
executables in a TCL/TK script. Done that, works fine.

Let's say I'm addicted.

Terry Ross

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Jul 5, 2009, 4:06:56 AM7/5/09
to

Interesting. I don't know if it's possible, due to copyright
restrictions, but it would certainly be wonderful to have everything
scanned, like at http://www.atarimagazines.com/ and http://
www.cyberroach.com/analog/default.htm

--
Terry "qnr" Ross | http://www.aliboom.com
1024D/E5796C4D | Key BE84 EC1D FC94 D97B 9063 AD15 0F38 193A E579 6C4D
Source Mage GNU/Linux http://www.sourcemage.org

Martin Brown

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Jul 5, 2009, 5:09:06 AM7/5/09
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Terry Ross wrote:
> On Sat, 27 Jun 2009 22:52:04 +0930, Chris Burrows wrote:
>
>> "Christoph Schlegel" <mod...@gmx.net> wrote in message
>> news:975b4$4a46137d$557f9732$26...@news.inode.at...
>>> The posts from net.lang.mod2 are also still available (1983.1986).
>>>
>>> http://groups.google.com/group/net.lang.mod2/topics
>>>
>>>
>> Interesting - thanks for the link.
>>
>> In those days most of the Modula-2 related correspondence I read was via
>> snail-mail in the "MODUS Quarterly", the newsletter for the Modula-2
>> User Society and the "Journal of Pascal, Ada and Modula-2".
>>
>> I still have my copies of JPAM and a couple of hundred pages or so that
>> I kept from various issues of the MODUS Quarterly in my office. One day
>> I might get around to scanning some of the more interesting articles /
>> letters.
>
> Interesting. I don't know if it's possible, due to copyright
> restrictions, but it would certainly be wonderful to have everything
> scanned, like at http://www.atarimagazines.com/ and http://
> www.cyberroach.com/analog/default.htm

Is there anyone left from the original Modus group to give a copyright
waiver and allow the articles that survive to be made freely available?
There were some gems but my copies stayed with the company I worked for
at the time (and will be long gone by now).

Might be worth crossposting a request to the other related groups. There
might be someone who knows someone still out there.

Regards,
Martin Brown

strictly noreply

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Jul 5, 2009, 6:36:10 AM7/5/09
to
The reason I started this thread was to get an idea whether the
interest in Modula-2 is mostly nostalgia or whether there is a large
enough here-and-now upon which any future would ultimately be
dependent.

I understand the interest in old magazines and don't mean to suggest
they aren't worth being made available online in some form or shape,
but I am somewhat concerned about what seems to be a past-leaning
spirit in what is left of the Modula-2 community.

A large number of Modula-2 websites have more broken links than
working ones and more likely or not, even the working ones point to
outdated information. Even those sites which are being maintained have
a significantly large amount of information that I would classify as
"nostalgia" or "historic".

I think this is counterproductive to finding new friends in this time.
There is a whole new generation of programmers who were born after any
of the PIM editions were released. If they look at the body of
Modula-2 resources on the web and get the impression they stumbled
into a virtual programming languages museum, they are very unlikely to
give the language a trial.

GNU Modula-2 is now approaching towards a 1.0 release, thus becoming
part of the GCC distribution in the process and thereby making
Modula-2 available to a very large audience. This is a very positive
development but I am not sure if this alone will get rid of the dead-
language stigma.

I believe we need to create *new* content and get it out there for a
*new* audience. What if Modula-2 had no past? What if there were no
articles from the 1980s and 1990s? What if Modula-2 had just hit the
road? We'd have to write new material and grow a community in the here-
and-now. I think that is the kind of approach required to build a
future for the language.

There are plenty of articles on today's programming problems and how
to solve them in Java, C#, C++, Python, Ruby et al. Let's do the same
for Modula-2. If we don't pull in that direction, I fear that the
language might not have a future.

Christoph Schlegel

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Jul 5, 2009, 7:09:21 AM7/5/09
to
strictly noreply schrieb:

> The reason I started this thread was to get an idea whether the
> interest in Modula-2 is mostly nostalgia or whether there is a large
> enough here-and-now upon which any future would ultimately be
> dependent.

Of course you are right - we should have started a new topic at some point.

> I understand the interest in old magazines and don't mean to suggest
> they aren't worth being made available online in some form or shape,
> but I am somewhat concerned about what seems to be a past-leaning
> spirit in what is left of the Modula-2 community.
>
> A large number of Modula-2 websites have more broken links than
> working ones and more likely or not, even the working ones point to
> outdated information. Even those sites which are being maintained have
> a significantly large amount of information that I would classify as
> "nostalgia" or "historic".

Yes. In my case the information is there by purpose.

> I think this is counterproductive to finding new friends in this time.
> There is a whole new generation of programmers who were born after any
> of the PIM editions were released. If they look at the body of
> Modula-2 resources on the web and get the impression they stumbled
> into a virtual programming languages museum, they are very unlikely to
> give the language a trial.

The history of a language in magazines and websites contains solutions
to problems, sourcecode, ideas. I don't think pointing to these
ressources means harming the Modula-2 community. Modula-2 is not a new
language.

> GNU Modula-2 is now approaching towards a 1.0 release, thus becoming
> part of the GCC distribution in the process and thereby making
> Modula-2 available to a very large audience. This is a very positive
> development but I am not sure if this alone will get rid of the dead-
> language stigma.

I'm also unsure but excited and hopeful.

> I believe we need to create *new* content and get it out there for a
> *new* audience. What if Modula-2 had no past? What if there were no
> articles from the 1980s and 1990s? What if Modula-2 had just hit the
> road? We'd have to write new material and grow a community in the here-
> and-now. I think that is the kind of approach required to build a
> future for the language.
>
> There are plenty of articles on today's programming problems and how
> to solve them in Java, C#, C++, Python, Ruby et al. Let's do the same
> for Modula-2. If we don't pull in that direction, I fear that the
> language might not have a future.

Regards

Christoph

strictly noreply

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Jul 5, 2009, 7:56:13 AM7/5/09
to
On Jul 5, 8:09 pm, Christoph Schlegel <modu...@gmx.net> wrote:

> Of course you are right - we should have started a new topic at some point.

No problem with that. The first paragraph was meant to be introductory
only.

> In my case the information is there by purpose.

Fair enough. I didn't mean to criticise. I meant to express concern
about the lack of new material (in general) and how I think it relates
to the future of Modula-2.

> The history of a language in magazines and websites contains solutions
> to problems, sourcecode, ideas. I don't think pointing to these
> ressources means harming the Modula-2 community.

The presence of old material itself does not, but in combination with
absence of new material, it amplifies the wide spread perception that
Modula-2 is dead.

For the avoidance of doubt, I didn't mean to suggest those articles
shouldn't be made available, but I did mean to suggest that there is a
need for new material, and quite *possibly* that need might be more
urgent.

Chris Burrows

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Jul 5, 2009, 8:28:40 AM7/5/09
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"strictly noreply" <beekay....@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:64284ecb-ba99-48e7...@i4g2000prm.googlegroups.com...

> The presence of old material itself does not, but in combination with
> absence of new material, it amplifies the wide spread perception that
> Modula-2 is dead.

A problem I see is that much of the old material has been lost. This leads
to newcomers spending much time reinventing the wheel and trying to re-solve
problems that were done and dusted many years ago. Their time would be much
better spent building on what has been done before.

I suspect that your request for feedback on 'class-is-a-record' vs.
'class-is-a-module' in your recent post might well fall into that category.
I shall be going through some of the 1990's stuff tomorrow for some pointers
for you as I vaguely remember it was well covered there.

In many different fields many so-called 'new' inventions are old ideas that
either were not in the right place at the right time or were way ahead of
their time.

Generally if I'm a newcomer to a subject then I don't really care what the
date is on the information as it is all new to me. What is most important is
how accurate, relevant and meaningful the information is.

> For the avoidance of doubt, I didn't mean to suggest those articles
> shouldn't be made available, but I did mean to suggest that there is a
> need for new material, and quite *possibly* that need might be more
> urgent.

New people are in the best position to develop new material. What particular
areas can you think of that need to be covered that are likely never to have
been considered? Alternatively, what old ideas may have been rejected
because of the limitations of the time that may well be feasible now?

--
Chris Burrows
CFB Software

Armaide v2.0: ARM Oberon-07 Development System
http://www.cfbsoftware.com/armaide


strictly noreply

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Jul 5, 2009, 9:34:41 AM7/5/09
to
On Jul 5, 9:28 pm, "Chris Burrows" <cfbsoftw...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> Generally if I'm a newcomer to a subject then I don't really care what the
> date is on the information as it is all new to me. What is most important is
> how accurate, relevant and meaningful the information is.

Over the last 7 or 8 years I have been involved in a number of open
soure projects, all of which happen to have been C based and a
significant number of participants have been folk a generation younger
than I am. From this I have gained some glimpse into the way these
youngsters tend to think.

I have also noticed a change in the way those folks think about C. Ten
years ago, if you met a C developer, they were absolutely convinced
that C is the holy grail, they'd get offended by the mere hint that
you might not think of C that way. In recent years this seems to have
changed.

Only 5 years ago, when I spoke out on some gripes I had with C and
mentioned how such and such would be far better solvable in Pascal or
Modula-2, it would start a flame war. Today, when I am doing so, most
C developers agree about that which I criticise and some of them would
go "Modula-2? you can do that in Modula-2?". Quite often they'd get
interested but more often than not they get frustrated with all the
dead links and loads of "nostalgia" in the absence of the kind of new
material they are used to with other languages.

So, as I see it, there is an opportunity to place Modula-2 as an
alternative to C for the growing number of C developers who aren't all
that satisfied with C but don't want to switch to C++ either. However,
from my experience, the lack of new material (or perhaps it's the
unfavourable ratio of new-to-old) makes this a hard sale.

Also, a lot of what I would call "nostalgia" material is articles
about some now defunct compiler about some now defunct platform, say a
rerelease of a Modula-2 compiler for the Commodore 64 or something
along those lines. Like I said, this alone wouldn't be a problem, but
in the absence of relevant material new folk are looking for, it
creates an overall impression of "dead language". But yet again, I am
not advocating *against* anything, I am advocating *in favour* of
something: more new material.

> New people are in the best position to develop new material. What particular
> areas can you think of that need to be covered that are likely never to have
> been considered?

The area I am working on would be an example. Papers on and
implementations of OO for Modula-2 may be a dime a dozen, but there
isn't a single one which could integrate with Cocoa and/or GNUstep
without the use of a bridge, which is suboptimal and not much liked by
the crowd that develops for these APIs. I tend to think if you can
find one such area, there ought to be others.

> Alternatively, what old ideas may have been rejected
> because of the limitations of the time that may well be feasible now?

Fair enough, but in this case, mere reproduction of an article may not
be sufficient, you probably have to edit or comment it and show how it
applies to a common problem today and why the earlier solution is both
feasible and desirable now. But that would in my view count as new
material, once it's been reprocessed, that is.

Pascal J. Bourguignon

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Jul 5, 2009, 9:37:27 AM7/5/09
to
strictly noreply <beekay....@gmail.com> writes:

In one word: "popularity".

This is a lost battle, so you have to make your own choice: does
Modula-2 offer to you personnaly some advantage compared to C? If so,
and if your conditions allow you to use it, then do and be happy. But
you'll be mostly alone (well along with friends here).

I'm not sure it's worth to discuss it a lot, because it has been
continuously discussed to death in other newsgroups, for example,
comp.lang.lisp, so you could read cll and transpose all the arguments
to Modula-2. (Lisp was invented in 1959, yes, 50 years ago, and has
had a standard since 1984, yes that's 25 years ago), and since ever it
has been considered a dead language. People have been constantly
complaining about the age of the documents, of the code, about the
perceived lack of libraries, etc. Nonetheless, new Common Lisp code
is being written every day. A (very) small number of companies use
lisp as a (secret) competitive advantage for their mission critical
applications or products. There are several free implementations that
are continuously maintained, there are several commercial
implementations with commercial support, and new libraries and
applications (web sites) are created everyday.

Now of course if you compare the situation with Java, which has the
marketting power of Sun and now Oracle behind it, which has
"methodologists" to sell it to corporations and hundred of millions of
jobs around it, well, yes, Lisp and Modula-2 are dead.

Even taking into account the hundredfold increase of productivity Lisp
allows, a lone hacker working on a lisp free library on his spare time
cannot pour the same energy into it than a corporation with thousands
of paid Java programmers working 8 hours a day, 22 days a month.

The only practical way I see to increase the diffusion of Modula-2
would be to write Linux drivers and kernel modules in Modula-2. But
again, what can a few Modula-2 programmers do compared to the
thousands of Linux kernel C programmers, backed by company and _paid_
to work on the Linux kernel or drivers.

--
__Pascal Bourguignon__

Terry Ross

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Jul 5, 2009, 10:16:04 AM7/5/09
to
On Sun, 05 Jul 2009 21:58:40 +0930, Chris Burrows wrote:

> "strictly noreply" <beekay....@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:64284ecb-ba99-48e7...@i4g2000prm.googlegroups.com...
>
>> The presence of old material itself does not, but in combination with
>> absence of new material, it amplifies the wide spread perception that
>> Modula-2 is dead.
>
> A problem I see is that much of the old material has been lost. This
> leads to newcomers spending much time reinventing the wheel and trying
> to re-solve problems that were done and dusted many years ago. Their
> time would be much better spent building on what has been done before.
>

[...remainder snipped...]

I agree. While I do believe we need a solid source of new material - and
also that this thread was not the appropriate place to bring it up - I
think old material is valuable. Not old as in "How to install Modula-2 on
your IBM PCjr, but general articles, applicable to the language in
general. I can't walk into the neighborhood bookstore or newsstand to
purchase Modula-2 related publications, after all.

strictly noreply

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Jul 5, 2009, 10:24:50 AM7/5/09
to
On Jul 5, 10:37 pm, p...@informatimago.com (Pascal J. Bourguignon)
wrote:

>
> In one word: "popularity".

I don't think it is that simple. Lack of popularity has reasons. If
you can identify some of those reasons and address them, you may well
get a higher uptake.

In my view the lack of availability of an open source compiler across
major platforms is a death sentence for just about any language in
this day and age. Modula-2 has been suffering from that for a long
time but with GNU Modula-2 approaching inclusion in the mainline GCC
distribution this will be behind us.

The other obstacle to finding new friends is availability of relevant
information, and that is something that can be improved.

I am not saying that Modula-2 would be rivaling Java or C++ simply
because there's a GCC front end and a few wikis or whatever other
informational websites with articles how to solve common this-day
problems using Modula-2. However, I do believe improving the use of
Modula-2 is both possible and worthwhile working towards.


> This is a lost battle, so you have to make your own choice:  does
> Modula-2 offer to you personnaly some advantage compared to C?  If so,
> and if your conditions allow you to use it, then do and be happy.  But
> you'll be mostly alone (well along with friends here).

The problem is that once you go below a certain threshold of users, it
becomes extremely difficult for the remaining folks to sustain. On the
other hand, if you go above a certain threshold of users a lot more
things get done, a lot more articles get written, a lot more tools
becomes available.


> comp.lang.lisp, so you could read cll and transpose all the arguments
> to Modula-2. (Lisp was invented in 1959, yes, 50 years ago, and has
> had a standard since 1984, yes that's 25 years ago), and since ever it
> has been considered a dead language.  People have been constantly
> complaining about the age of the documents, of the code, about the
> perceived lack of libraries, etc.  Nonetheless, new Common Lisp code
> is being written every day.  A (very) small number of companies use
> lisp as a (secret) competitive advantage for their mission critical
> applications or products.  There are several free implementations that
> are continuously maintained, there are several commercial
> implementations with commercial support,  and new libraries and
> applications (web sites) are created everyday.

I would say that the Modula-2 community could call itself very
fortunate if it had anywhere near the critical mass that Lisp has.
Just look at the compiler metric: There have been a number of open
source Lisp implementations for ages. I's venture to say that a lot
more people know about Lisp than do know about Modula-2 and that a lot
more software is being developed in Lisp than in Modula-2. No, I think
Lisp is doing quite alright (even though I would not argue with anyone
who wishes it would do even better) and for Modula-2 it would be a
blessing if it could get where Lisp is already.


> Now of course if you compare the situation with Java, which has the
> marketting power of Sun and now Oracle behind it, which has
> "methodologists" to sell it to corporations and hundred of millions of
> jobs around it, well, yes, Lisp and Modula-2 are dead.

Well, I wouldn't compare them with Java. But I'd be inclined to
compare Modula-2 with Pascal/Delphi. I think it should be possible to
build and maintain a Modula-2 community roughly as strong as the
Pascal/Delphi community. The GCC front end will go some of the
distance, but there are other areas in need of improvement, one of
which was the theme of my post.

I is my hope, the availability of GM2 in the main GCC distribution
will prepare the ground for more folks producing more new content.
That should help.


> The only practical way I see to increase the diffusion of Modula-2
> would be to write Linux drivers and kernel modules in Modula-2.

or system related libraries, or servers, yes indeed, and why not?!


> But again, what can a few Modula-2 programmers do compared to the
> thousands of Linux kernel C programmers, backed by company and _paid_
> to work on the Linux kernel or drivers.

It's not that companies go to a particular project and say "We fund
you but you have to rewrite everything in C". It just so happens that
most of the projects out there use C or C++. If you come up with a
competitive or otherwise interesting project written in Modula-2,
there shouldn't be a problem to get funded. The problem is to find
developers and start the thing in the first place.

Christoph Schlegel

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Jul 5, 2009, 11:08:07 AM7/5/09
to
strictly noreply schrieb:

Definitly right, the need is there. I hope things to change as soon as
GM2 is an official part of GCC and developers using GCC (re)discover it
together with projects like Modulipse.

Fruttenboel

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Jul 5, 2009, 12:15:50 PM7/5/09
to
On Jul 5, 12:36 pm, strictly noreply <beekay.nore...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> I believe we need to create *new* content and get it out there for a
> *new* audience.

That would require the media pay attention to the language and the
media will not do so. Most of the media was taught that all languages
need a C n it. So Pascal still stands a chance.

> What if Modula-2 had no past? What if Modula-2 had just hit the road?


> We'd have to write new material and grow a community in the here-
> and-now.

In that case, take a look at Mocka. It's the only compiler left over
that has enough to build upon. FOREIGN MODULEs don't count.

> There are plenty of articles on today's programming problems and how
> to solve them in Java, C#, C++, Python, Ruby et al. Let's do the same
> for Modula-2. If we don't pull in that direction, I fear that the
> language might not have a future.

The market tends to adhere to chaos-like programming languages. A C
program has lots more potential since it contains more bugs and
security leaks. More bugs is more maintenance.

One application (of which I have been thinking a lot) is rewriting a
Linux kernel in Modula-2. Now that would be an effort. No security
leaks anymore. No more buffer over- or underruns. A mission critical
kernel.

Java, C#, .NET, Python, Ruby (on Rails) or Tcl are all nice languages
that get a lot of media attention. They slow down processors to a
grinding HALT and that's what Intel likes!
And, let's be fair, would a C programmer like to switch to a compiler
that tells him his coding style is weak (or bad)?

Why is it that we like to program in a Toyota-like language? And why
is it, that most other programmers prefer a Fiat-like language?

Fruttenboel

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Jul 5, 2009, 1:08:27 PM7/5/09
to
On Jul 5, 3:37 pm, p...@informatimago.com (Pascal J. Bourguignon)
wrote:

> The only practical way I see to increase the diffusion of Modula-2


> would be to write Linux drivers and kernel modules in Modula-2. But
> again, what can a few Modula-2 programmers do compared to the
> thousands of Linux kernel C programmers, backed by company and _paid_
> to work on the Linux kernel or drivers.

Wow, Pascal, you are a tribute to your name! You hit the nail on the
head!

We keep the grail (the holy one). C programmers are constantly looking
for it. But they don't want our grial. They want another one. As if
there were two in the first place... ;o)

Fruttenboel

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Jul 5, 2009, 1:18:12 PM7/5/09
to
On Jul 5, 4:24 pm, strictly noreply <beekay.nore...@gmail.com> wrote:

> It's not that companies go to a particular project and say "We fund
> you but you have to rewrite everything in C".

I wouldn't be so sure about that. Companies want source to be
maintainable. C programmers grow on trees, so they are easy to get
(pick?). Modula-2 is a better language (I say) but impossible to
maintain by a C programmer. Too logical. Too easy to comprehend. No
security loopholes to bypass. So, in a few word: not worth coding
for.

> most of the projects out there use C or C++. If you come up with a
> competitive or otherwise interesting project written in Modula-2,
> there shouldn't be a problem to get funded. The problem is to find
> developers and start the thing in the first place.

Get yourself a copy of the Murus project and transolate it to english
and finish it. http://www.murus.org/

Gary Scott

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Jul 5, 2009, 1:53:46 PM7/5/09
to
Fruttenboel wrote:
> On Jul 5, 4:24 pm, strictly noreply <beekay.nore...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>>It's not that companies go to a particular project and say "We fund
>>you but you have to rewrite everything in C".
>
>
> I wouldn't be so sure about that. Companies want source to be
> maintainable. C programmers grow on trees, so they are easy to get
> (pick?). Modula-2 is a better language (I say) but impossible to
> maintain by a C programmer. Too logical. Too easy to comprehend. No
> security loopholes to bypass. So, in a few word: not worth coding
> for.

that's true of almost any other high-level language

>
>
>>most of the projects out there use C or C++. If you come up with a
>>competitive or otherwise interesting project written in Modula-2,
>>there shouldn't be a problem to get funded. The problem is to find
>>developers and start the thing in the first place.
>
>
> Get yourself a copy of the Murus project and transolate it to english
> and finish it. http://www.murus.org/


--

Gary Scott
mailto:garylscott@sbcglobal dot net

Fortran Library: http://www.fortranlib.com

Support the Original G95 Project: http://www.g95.org
-OR-
Support the GNU GFortran Project: http://gcc.gnu.org/fortran/index.html

If you want to do the impossible, don't hire an expert because he knows
it can't be done.

-- Henry Ford

Pascal J. Bourguignon

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Jul 5, 2009, 1:57:10 PM7/5/09
to
Fruttenboel <frutt...@gmail.com> writes:

> On Jul 5, 4:24 pm, strictly noreply <beekay.nore...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> It's not that companies go to a particular project and say "We fund
>> you but you have to rewrite everything in C".
>
> I wouldn't be so sure about that. Companies want source to be
> maintainable. C programmers grow on trees, so they are easy to get
> (pick?). Modula-2 is a better language (I say) but impossible to
> maintain by a C programmer. Too logical. Too easy to comprehend. No
> security loopholes to bypass. So, in a few word: not worth coding
> for.

Indeed, Lisp history is full of examples of good and succesful lisp
programs that have been bought by commercial enterprises and first
thing, were translated to C or C++. Usually the results are not
pretty, and lisp gets a lot of blame for the failures of C and C++...
I have in mind Garnet (GUI toolbox) and ViaWeb (Yahoo Store).

It's even worse when the project survives successfully, its Lisp
origins are then entirely forgotten, and Lisp isn't even publically
recognized for its role in the prototype stage. (eg. PostgreSQL or
NeXTSTEP/Apple Interface Builder).

I was able once to convice a customer to let me write a MacOS driver
in Modula-2, which allowed be to write it in half the time.
Nonetheless, he exiged it to be rewritten in C eventually (for
ulterior "support" by random programmers, and it was at a time C
wasn't even common amongst MacOS programmers...).


So yes, it's definitely the case that companies go to a particular


project and say "We fund you but you have to rewrite everything in C"

(or Java or C++), both at small scale and at big scale.

--
__Pascal Bourguignon__

Pascal J. Bourguignon

unread,
Jul 5, 2009, 2:07:01 PM7/5/09
to
Fruttenboel <frutt...@gmail.com> writes:
> One application (of which I have been thinking a lot) is rewriting a
> Linux kernel in Modula-2. Now that would be an effort. No security
> leaks anymore. No more buffer over- or underruns. A mission critical
> kernel.

Rewritting a kernel is a nice and funny endeavor. It's not even too
hard.

But in practice, to have any impact, that kernel needs drivers. A lot
of drivers. For devices that are not always well documented, if at
all.

That's where Linux wins, even compared to *BSD. That's the real
reason of the success of Linux: it is the kernel that has the biggest
number of drivers, after MS-Windows.


So we're back to the same point: to make a dent with a kernel, you
need an army of programmers to write and debug the drivers.

There's a shortcut: make your kernel able to use linux modules and
drivers. Then you will have the bugs of these linux modules and
drivers.

> Why is it that we like to program in a Toyota-like language? And why
> is it, that most other programmers prefer a Fiat-like language?

This could be explained scientifically by the law of the mean.
http://www.amazon.fr/Ainsi-marchait-lhumanit%C3%A9-Jean-Fran%C3%A7ois-Geneste/dp/2756311030/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246817067&sr=8-1

--
__Pascal Bourguignon__

strictly noreply

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Jul 5, 2009, 2:12:56 PM7/5/09
to
On Jul 6, 2:57 am, p...@informatimago.com (Pascal J. Bourguignon)
wrote:
>

> So yes, it's definitely the case that companies go to a particular
> project and say "We fund you but you have to rewrite everything in C"
> (or Java or C++), both at small scale and at big scale.

Well, all the examples provided are about the past of software
development, that is companies buying software. What I am talking
about is the now and here, companies using open source software and
sponsor developers to do maintenance and modifications.

In that model, the language matters not nearly as much as you
portrayed because the projects are neither initiated purchased by
those who eventually pay for them. I have done quite a bit of work in
this field and implementation language never mattered when obtaining
sponsorships. In fact a large number of DSLs are being sponsored. If
the companies who pay for those DSLs cared only about C, C++ or Java,
they certainly wouldn't fund further additions to the language zoo.

Ken Shaw

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Jul 6, 2009, 1:05:23 AM7/6/09
to
On Jul 5, 10:34 pm, strictly noreply <beekay.nore...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Only 5 years ago, when I spoke out on some gripes I had with C and
> mentioned how such and such would be far better solvable in Pascal or
> Modula-2, it would start a flame war. Today, when I am doing so, most
> C developers agree about that which I criticise and some of them would
> go "Modula-2? you can do that in Modula-2?". Quite often they'd get
> interested but more often than not they get frustrated with all the
> dead links and loads of "nostalgia" in the absence of the kind of new
> material they are used to with other languages.
>
> So, as I see it, there is an opportunity to place Modula-2 as an
> alternative to C for the growing number of C developers who aren't all
> that satisfied with C but don't want to switch to C++ either. However,
> from my experience, the lack of new material (or perhaps it's the
> unfavourable ratio of new-to-old) makes this a hard sale.
>
> Also, a lot of what I would call "nostalgia" material is articles
> about some now defunct compiler about some now defunct platform, say a
> rerelease of a Modula-2 compiler for the Commodore 64 or something
> along those lines. Like I said, this alone wouldn't be a problem, but
> in the absence of relevant material new folk are looking for, it
> creates an overall impression of "dead language". But yet again, I am
> not advocating *against* anything, I am advocating *in favour* of
> something: more new material.

I second all of that.

I am a C/C++ programmer who was taught Pascal at university and my
first job back in the 80's involved converting some code from Pascal
to Modula-2. Since then it's all been C and C++. Over the years I have
become a little frustrated with C/C++ so I was looking for greener
pastures. GNU Modula-2 got me interested but it wasn't ready back
then, so I have been sitting on the fence.

But yes, most Modula-2 websites do look like "nostalgia" sites and
without the past experience converting code from Pascal to Modula-2, I
would not have stuck around. Lately I have been doing some stuff with
GM2 but I was unable to get any of my friends or colleagues interested
mostly because of the impression those site have made on them.

Just look at websites dedicated to other languages, even ones that
aren't mainstream, the D language for example. There is no contest.
And first impressions _do_ count if you are just checking out
something new that somebody else told you about but you never heard of
before.

People are used to websites which have documentation online, including
a bunch of HOWTOs, especially related to getting started, libraries,
source code repository, wikis, IRC channels and stuff like that. And
even layout and presentation matter, like it or not.

The Modula-2 freepages site looks nice in terms of presentation but it
doesn't have the kinds of articles a would-be-convertee is looking
for. Usually that kind of information would be on the sites it
provides links for, but those sites don't generally have the
information either, so where else do you go now? To the Google search
box, typing in the name of another language to check out, that's where
you go.

The GNU Modula-2 website isn't bad but could use a little work.

The MOCKA site is a joke. It has two paragraphs followed by "This is a
link to an older and deprecated version of this page." Deprecated and
no replacement for it! you don't expect any potential newcomer to go
any further, do you?

The Ulm M2C website is also a little too sparse, but it's far better
than the MOCKA site. XDS have buried their Modula-2 content inside a
website dedicated to Java and with a number of other sites you wonder
if the compiler is still being maintained at all.

The new Objective-Modula-2 website is quite well done, more like the
kind of website you see for other languages/compilers. However, it
doesn't have a repository for the source code, that's a non-starter
for any developer who might be interested to contribute. For the sake
of the project I hope you'll change that.

Keep up the good work, same to Gaius Mulley.

ken

Marco van de Voort

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Jul 6, 2009, 10:40:47 AM7/6/09
to
On 2009-07-05, Pascal J. Bourguignon <p...@informatimago.com> wrote:
>> There are plenty of articles on today's programming problems and how
>> to solve them in Java, C#, C++, Python, Ruby et al. Let's do the same
>> for Modula-2. If we don't pull in that direction, I fear that the
>> language might not have a future.

(btw, where are the shootout implementations in GNU M2 ?)

> complaining about the age of the documents, of the code, about the
> perceived lack of libraries, etc. Nonetheless, new Common Lisp code
> is being written every day. A (very) small number of companies use
> lisp as a (secret) competitive advantage for their mission critical
> applications or products.

The point might be more that you need a strength as minority language,
rather than trying to patch up deficiencies.

Lisp apparantly has that CL stronghold. Haskell has huge following in math
departments, Ada the military and a very active French usergroup. Free
Pascal is attempting to do this with its quite close (and costly to
create!) Delphi compatibility modes, and Lazarus. GNU Pascal had a quite
decent Mac following at some point, but it eroded due to standstill in
development.

First one should carve out a strength for M2, and IMHO only then start
worrying about stuff that everybody does.

> The only practical way I see to increase the diffusion of Modula-2
> would be to write Linux drivers and kernel modules in Modula-2. But
> again, what can a few Modula-2 programmers do compared to the
> thousands of Linux kernel C programmers, backed by company and _paid_
> to work on the Linux kernel or drivers.

Linux/Unix is C domain from historic perspective. So much that they even
hampered C++ with backwards C compat. Don't bother trying to fight them on
your own turf. It is not fought on technical merits.

Chris Burrows

unread,
Jul 6, 2009, 8:36:55 PM7/6/09
to
"Marco van de Voort" <mar...@stack.nl> wrote in message
news:slrnh5437f....@turtle.stack.nl...

>
> First one should carve out a strength for M2, and IMHO only then start
> worrying about stuff that everybody does.
>

Good point. Providing a C-free alternative for Cocoa-based (Mac OS-X and
iPhone) development is a very good start.

>
> Linux/Unix is C domain from historic perspective. So much that they even
> hampered C++ with backwards C compat. Don't bother trying to fight them on
> your own turf. It is not fought on technical merits.

Another good point. IMHO Linux is following Unix so closely that it might
just end up with the same fate - i.e. there are two many different (and
hence confusing) varieties available. None of them has enough of a
difference to become dominant. Modula-2 should ride on the next appropriate
wave of development (whatever that might be) not try to play catch up with
the last one.

strictly noreply

unread,
Jul 6, 2009, 10:56:22 PM7/6/09
to
On Jul 6, 2:05 pm, Ken Shaw <kensha...@gmail.com> wrote:

> The new Objective-Modula-2 website is quite well done, more like the
> kind of website you see for other languages/compilers.

thanks

> However, it
> doesn't have a repository for the source code, that's a non-starter
> for any developer who might be interested to contribute. For the sake
> of the project I hope you'll change that.

There are one / possibly two developers who expressed interest to
join. A repository and a mailing list are on the TO DO list.

> Keep up the good work

thanks for the encouragement

Nemo ad Nusquam

unread,
Jul 7, 2009, 9:36:07 AM7/7/09
to
Fruttenboel wrote (in part):
[...]

>> What if Modula-2 had no past? What if Modula-2 had just hit the road?
>> We'd have to write new material and grow a community in the here-
>> and-now.
>
> In that case, take a look at Mocka. It's the only compiler left over
> that has enough to build upon. FOREIGN MODULEs don't count.

The freely available mocka only produces Intel code. I read recently
that about 3 billion PC shipped but over 9 billion ARM processors
shipped. Modula-2 is an excellent choice for embedded systems but,
again, very few freely available non-PC compilers.

--
Posted via NewsDemon.com - Premium Uncensored Newsgroup Service
------->>>>>>http://www.NewsDemon.com<<<<<<------
Unlimited Access, Anonymous Accounts, Uncensored Broadband Access

Marco van de Voort

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Jul 7, 2009, 11:09:20 AM7/7/09
to
On 2009-07-07, Chris Burrows <cfbso...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> First one should carve out a strength for M2, and IMHO only then start
>> worrying about stuff that everybody does.
>>
> Good point. Providing a C-free alternative for Cocoa-based (Mac OS-X and
> iPhone) development is a very good start.

Not unique. Anybody with Mac orientation is working on it, since Carbon was
declared dead, with varying enthusiasm. Even FPC is working on it, though
with less objective-Cification (iow most needed extensions to interface with
COCOA only).

Of course, if you really can do something that can compete with objective-C,
while you won't replace obj-c, you could become a good second after
objective-C on the Mac platform.

>> Linux/Unix is C domain from historic perspective. So much that they even
>> hampered C++ with backwards C compat. Don't bother trying to fight them on
>> your own turf. It is not fought on technical merits.
>
> Another good point. IMHO Linux is following Unix so closely that it might
> just end up with the same fate - i.e. there are two many different (and
> hence confusing) varieties available. None of them has enough of a
> difference to become dominant.

If that were the only problem. The variance in the temporal dimension
worries me more than that.

> Modula-2 should ride on the next appropriate
> wave of development (whatever that might be) not try to play catch up with
> the last one.

Problem is that such things are an huge gamble. I rather go for something
small, and solid first, since you simply can't compete in riding fashionwaves with some
toolchain that has a bunch of fulltimers.

And anyways, in general, the influence and advantages of computer languages
are way overrated in such things.

Marco van de Voort

unread,
Jul 7, 2009, 11:18:31 AM7/7/09
to
On 2009-07-05, Pascal J. Bourguignon <p...@informatimago.com> wrote:
>> leaks anymore. No more buffer over- or underruns. A mission critical
>> kernel.
> That's where Linux wins, even compared to *BSD. That's the real
> reason of the success of Linux: it is the kernel that has the biggest
> number of drivers, after MS-Windows.

Correct. There are more signs, like the driver state on odd-ball windows
platform (64-bit till recently, the 64-bit Windows port is 14 years old
starting with Alpha!), wince etc.

> So we're back to the same point: to make a dent with a kernel, you
> need an army of programmers to write and debug the drivers.

And somehow be the first in some aspect, because you also need a driver
force to leave estabilished systems.

> There's a shortcut: make your kernel able to use linux modules and
> drivers. Then you will have the bugs of these linux modules and
> drivers.

The module system is rewritten every major kernel version, and even
inbetween in more subtle ways. Personally I don't give such megalomanic
efforts any chance.

Better focus on creating a first class realtime operating system for
embedded use. The few that are there are often expensive. It will be easier
to survive there and the investments are less.

>> Why is it that we like to program in a Toyota-like language? And why
>> is it, that most other programmers prefer a Fiat-like language?

Like cars, image, and being the first one with something is important.

BK [noreply/posting only]

unread,
Jul 7, 2009, 1:57:15 PM7/7/09
to
On Jul 8, 12:09 am, Marco van de Voort <mar...@stack.nl> wrote:

> > Good point. Providing a C-free alternative for Cocoa-based  (Mac OS-X and
> > iPhone) development is a very good start.
>
> Not unique. Anybody with Mac orientation is working on it, since Carbon was
> declared dead, with varying enthusiasm.

Almost all efforts to interface to Cocoa are based on a bridge, that
is, a translation layer that copies and converts native OO objects of
the language in question to Cocoa objects and back at runtime,
everytime a class is accessed on either side of the bridge. This
approach is not only inefficient (performance wise as well as twice
the memory footprint) but it is also very difficult to implement such
that it supports the entire Cocoa API and then it may require further
work for GNUstep and again for Cocoa Touch.

Also, with Objective-C 2.0 now having an option to use garbage
collection, the lifetime of objects in both object systems needs to be
synchronised across the bridge which is yet more work. Implementing
and maintaining a fully featured bridge is not for the faint of heart
and many if not most bridges only provide a subset of the
functionality available to Objective-C programmers. From the viewpoint
of most Cocoa developers, bridges just suck. Don't take my word for
it, ask them.

The only bridge I have seen that I would say was well implemented is
the one in Clozure CL. They must have put a lot of effort in. It also
tries to preserve the Smalltalk syntax, only that it is :initWithFoo
instead of initWithFoo: and parentheses instead of brackets but any
Cocoa developer would feel home there.

The approach taken with Objective Modula-2 is to avoid a bridge
altogether by using the Objective-C runtime as its native object
system. This means there are no foreign objects which need to be
copied and converted, no translation layer. It means you can mix
Objective-C and Objective Modula-2 classes, within both languages,
pair interfaces from one with implementations from the other, etc. It
also means you get all the functionality that Objective-C provides.
And the syntax for method invocation is the same. I believe this
approach is more competitive than the bridge approach and the feedback
I am getting from Cocoa developers on this point would seem to confirm
this.


> Even FPC is working on it,

For those who don't know, FPC uses the bridge approach.

> though with less objective-Cification
> (iow most needed extensions to interface with COCOA only).

Indeed. Last time I checked, it was not possible to declare any
Objective-C classes or methods within FPC, it was only possible to use
some. And the documentation seemed to suggest that this was all there
will ever be. This may seem like a minor restriction but due to the
nature of Cocoa, there are cases where you have to subclass or add
methods to an existing one just to use a particular GUI feature.


> Of course, if you really can do something that can compete with objective-C,
> while you won't replace obj-c, you could become a good second after
> objective-C on the Mac platform.

There is no intention to displace Objective-C. However, many Objective-
C developers came to Objective-C after unsatisfactory results with a
bridge for a language that they liked more than C. Not everyone is a
hardcode C programmer in the Objective-C camp. No such "accidental"
Objective-C developer is going to use FPC for its bridge. But many of
them are genuinely interested in any language that supports Cocoa
natively and preserves the Objective-C/Smalltalk style method
invocation syntax. I know because I get the "fan-mail".

Right now there are apparently 3 or maybe 4 such languages, some with
implementations in progress, some completed, but they are all
scripting languages so far. But the interest in the native approach is
definitely there.

Fruttenboel

unread,
Jul 8, 2009, 2:27:42 PM7/8/09
to
On Jul 5, 8:12 pm, strictly noreply <beekay.nore...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Jul 6, 2:57 am, p...@informatimago.com (Pascal J. Bourguignon)
> wrote:
>
>
>
> > So yes, it's definitely the case that companies go to a particular
> > project and say "We fund you but you have to rewrite everything in C"
> > (or Java or C++), both at small scale and at big scale.
>
> Well, all the examples provided are about the past of software
> development,

For the record: the past is the only thing we HAVE and KNOW. There may
be a future. We may be part of it. Or not. We cannot see in the future
with comparable certainty compared to looking in the past. Some people
claim there is a 'now', a 'present', but the present is uncertain too.
It moves forward at hgigh speed and we run blindfolded.

So yes: Pacal and I speak of 'the past'. You speak of 'the future'. We
know. You hope.

> What I am talking about is the now and here, companies using open source software and
> sponsor developers to do maintenance and modifications.

Why does a company sponsor open source? SuSE do it for its own OS. Red
Hat too. Google are run by saints. They spend zillions to their
'summers of code'. Although, it may become clear by now why they sent
out their spies to the competiton.... their own OS. Noit written in
M2. Nor in LISP. Not even in Forth.

A company goes open source for the benefits. No royalties. No virus
scanners. Profit.

I hope I am wrong. I really do.

Fruttenboel

unread,
Jul 8, 2009, 2:46:14 PM7/8/09
to
On Jul 6, 7:05 am, Ken Shaw <kensha...@gmail.com> wrote:

> The Modula-2 freepages site looks nice in terms of presentation but it
> doesn't have the kinds of articles a would-be-convertee is looking
> for.

And what kind of information ARE you looking for. It may well be that
people are more than willing to accomodate for your curisoties.

> The MOCKA site is a joke. It has two paragraphs followed by "This is a
> link to an older and deprecated version of this page." Deprecated and
> no replacement for it! you don't expect any potential newcomer to go
> any further, do you?

Mocka is no longer maintained. Only few people use it. I am one of
them. Mocka is a good compiler. If you stem from the days of DOS. If
you are greener, or spoilt by the Windows IDE compilers, you won't
like it.

The problem is: there is no competition for Mocka. The GNU M2 compiler
needs a backdated gcc compiler installed to your system (next to the
state of the art version that came with Slackware). Compiling a Gnu M2
program takes AGES. It's horrible. It's just a frontend for a C
compiler. It's a disgrace to the name.

Objective Modula-2 is NOT Modula-2 anymore. It's the C++ equivalent of
Modula-2. A better name (hence) might be 'Modula-3' if that name was
not already taken. I guess Modula-3000 may be the best new name.
Oberon is also a descendent of Modula-2. Wirth did not call it
Cardinal-less Modula-2 (although that would have been a great name).
No, the language was different so the name was different.

The only reason for sticking to an old established name is to benefit
from the fame of that name, without having proven that that benefit is
justified. Just like why C++ was named so. And not 'The E
compiler' (The D compiler was already mentioned in Micro Cornucopia in
the late 80's).

Fruttenboel

unread,
Jul 8, 2009, 2:50:22 PM7/8/09
to
On Jul 7, 3:36 pm, Nemo ad Nusquam <n...@invalid.invalid> wrote:
> Fruttenboel wrote (in part):
> [...]
>
> >> What if Modula-2 had no past? What if Modula-2 had just hit the road?
> >> We'd have to write new material and grow a community in the here-
> >> and-now.
>
> > In that case, take a look at Mocka. It's the only compiler left over
> > that has enough to build upon. FOREIGN MODULEs don't count.
>
> The freely available mocka only produces Intel code. I read recently
> that about 3 billion PC shipped but over 9 billion ARM processors
> shipped. Modula-2 is an excellent choice for embedded systems but,
> again, very few freely available non-PC compilers.

That's why I started PLOV: http://fruttenboel.verhoeven272.nl/m4m/index.html

Just need the backends generated....

Chris Burrows

unread,
Jul 8, 2009, 8:47:50 PM7/8/09
to

"Fruttenboel" <frutt...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:2ca03aca-ebb2-466e...@l31g2000yqb.googlegroups.com...

Good luck - unfortunately the backends are the hardest part :-(

Oberon-07 is also an excellent choice for embedded systems and, being a
smaller language, somewhat easier to implement than Modula-2. That was why I
started Armaide. The Armaide compiler / linker generates native code
suitable for the NXP (Philips) LPC2xxx family of ARM7-based
microcontrollers:

http://www.standardics.nxp.com/products/lpc2000/

--
Chris Burrows
CFB Software

http://www.cfbsoftware.com/armaide


Ken Shaw

unread,
Jul 8, 2009, 11:17:22 PM7/8/09
to
On Jul 9, 3:46 am, Fruttenboel <fruttenb...@gmail.com> wrote:
> And what kind of information ARE you looking for. It may well be that
> people are more than willing to accomodate for your curisoties.

I was presenting the viewpoint of the average C programmer whose buddy
suggested "hey, check out Modula-2". You might well be interested to
give it a trial, but the state of the websites you will find if you
Google for Modula-2 is not competitive with that of websites for just
about any other language. If more than half the links are dead or
point to long abandoned pages which are outdated and if most of the
news talk about some old compiler for a piece of hardware that has
been discontinued several decades ago, then you move elsewhere. It's
as simple as that.

> > The MOCKA site is a joke. It has two paragraphs followed by "This is a
> > link to an older and deprecated version of this page." Deprecated and
> > no replacement for it! you don't expect any potential newcomer to go
> > any further, do you?
>
> Mocka is no longer maintained.

But it shows up high on any search for Modula-2 and any Unix developer
who was encouraged to check out Modula-2 will end up on the MOCKA
page.

> Only few people use it. I am one of
> them. Mocka is a good compiler. If you stem from the days of DOS. If
> you are greener, or spoilt by the Windows IDE compilers, you won't
> like it.

What I don't like is the fact that the creators of MOCKA, apparently
have no further use for it but they are too damn greedy or too
stubborn to release the code under an open source license. Even worse
when considering that we're talking about a university.

> The problem is: there is no competition for Mocka. The GNU M2 compiler
> needs a backdated gcc compiler installed to your system (next to the
> state of the art version that came with Slackware).

I don't think it is fair to compare a compiler which is pre-1.0 and
still work in progress to one that has already reached the end of its
life. GM2 will eventually become part of the GCC distribution and then
you will no longer need a separate backend.

>Compiling a Gnu M2
> program takes AGES. It's horrible.

It didn't strike me as taking much longer than compiling with any
other GCC front end. And even if it does, I don't think that the front
end has been optimised at this point. Once it has reached 1.0 and
beyond, it will probably get some tuning.

>It's just a frontend for a C
> compiler. It's a disgrace to the name.

Considering that GCC started out as a C compiler with other front ends
having been added to it over time, _every_ GCC front end is a front
end for a C compiler.

> Objective Modula-2 is NOT Modula-2 anymore. It's the C++ equivalent of
> Modula-2.

Wrong. Objective Modula-2 is to Modula-2 as Objective-C is to C.
Objective-C and C++ couldn't be further apart. I couldn't find
anything in Objective Modula-2 that resembles C++ features. OTOH, ISO
Modula-2 might be described as the C++ equivalent of Modula-2.

>  A better name (hence) might be 'Modula-3' if that name was
> not already taken.

From the FAQ:

"Why is it called Objective Modula-2?

Objective Modula-2 is not about inventing yet another way to add OOP
to Modula-2. Instead, it is all about adding native Cocoa and GNUstep
support to Modula-2 where Objective-C serves as a blueprint. The name
has been chosen to reflect this."

Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

> The only reason for sticking to an old established name is to benefit
> from the fame of that name, without having proven that that benefit is
> justified. Just like why C++ was named so.

We live in a free society and people can call their stuff whatever
they like as long as there is no trademark infringement. It seems
perfectly reasonable to me to use the name of the original language
for dialects, subsets and super sets.

ken

Chris Burrows

unread,
Jul 9, 2009, 12:17:17 AM7/9/09
to
"Ken Shaw" <kens...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:4ffb2942-1dab-412b...@v23g2000pro.googlegroups.com...

> What I don't like is the fact that the creators of MOCKA, apparently
> have no further use for it but they are too damn greedy or too
> stubborn to release the code under an open source license.

Now hang on a minute - try asking questions first and then shoot later. Do
you have any evidence to support that? Have you considered other possible
scenarios?

e.g. I was under the impression that Mocka uses a back-end generator that
they do not have a license to distribute.

>> Compiling a Gnu M2
>> program takes AGES. It's horrible.

> It didn't strike me as taking much longer than compiling with any
> other GCC front end.

Yes - and two wrongs don't make a right.

>> It's just a frontend for a C
>> compiler. It's a disgrace to the name.

> Considering that GCC started out as a C compiler with other front ends
> having been added to it over time, _every_ GCC front end is a front
> end for a C compiler.

Hence every GCC front end risks suffering the same problems. A Modula-2
system built on top of a C system is about as good as a castle built on
sand.

--
Chris Burrows
CFB Software

http://www.cfbsoftware.com/modula2


Ken Shaw

unread,
Jul 9, 2009, 1:54:22 AM7/9/09
to
On Jul 9, 1:17 pm, "Chris Burrows" <cfbsoftw...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Now hang on a minute - try asking questions first and then shoot later. Do
> you have any evidence to support that? Have you considered other possible
> scenarios?
>
> e.g. I was under the impression that Mocka uses a back-end generator that
> they do not have a license to distribute.

I read that the back-end that was developed by a student while he was
doing his PhD at the university. I don't know how Germany universities
work, but in the English speaking world, if you develop something as
part of your studies it becomes property of the university and you
need the board to sign a release if you want to market it. Maybe
German universities have different rules or maybe they didn't do their
due diligence. That still doesn't explain why they haven't released
the sources for those parts of the compiler that are owned by the
university. Somebody else might pick it up and add a new back-end, no
chance of that if the software is kept under locks.

> >> Compiling a Gnu M2
> >> program  takes AGES. It's horrible.
> > It didn't strike me as taking much longer than compiling with any
> > other GCC front end.
>
> Yes - and two wrongs don't make a right.

You are missing the point. It's not GM2 which is slow, all GNU
compilers are, relatively speaking. The statement there looked like
the poster wanted to blame the GM2 project specifically, at least
that's how it looked to me.

> >> It's just a frontend for a C
> >> compiler. It's a disgrace to the name.
> > Considering that GCC started out as a C compiler with other front ends
> > having been added to it over time, _every_ GCC front end is a front
> > end for a C compiler.
>
> Hence every GCC front end risks suffering the same problems.

Sure, GCC has its problems, but it also has its advantages. One of
those advantages is that it has a very large installed base. When GM2
becomes part of the main distribution, it will mean everybody who'd
like to give the language a trial can do so very easily and mixing
with other GCC languages is also easier.

>A Modula-2
> system built on top of a C system is about as good as a castle built on
> sand.

That's like saying "All computers are castles built on sand" because
chips are made from silicon. Also, all modern operating systems are
"built on top of a C system", so I guess they are all castles built on
sand too. Maybe so, but the question is this: Do you eat your own dog
food and stay away from those operating systems?

True, compiler back ends for multiple languages are almost always less
efficient and more complex than compiler back ends written for a
specific front end. But to conclude that the weaknesses of C will be
inherited by other languages simply because they share a back end with
C, that would be folly because the semantics of a language are
enforced in the front end or middle end, not the back end.

Somebody on this thread said C programmers are zealots, or at least
that they were 10 years ago. Be that as it may, I am getting the
feeling that Modula-2 folk are zealots too, maybe that explains why
the language is in decline. Shouldn't a community in decline be a
little more open minded and welcoming? From where I stand, bashing GM2
amounts to infighting which such a small community can ill-afford, you
guys should be grateful for GM2.

But who knows, GM2 may find its own new Modula-2 friends elsewhere.

ken

Christoph Schlegel

unread,
Jul 9, 2009, 2:12:25 AM7/9/09
to
Chris Burrows schrieb:

> "Ken Shaw" <kens...@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:4ffb2942-1dab-412b...@v23g2000pro.googlegroups.com...
>
>> What I don't like is the fact that the creators of MOCKA, apparently
>> have no further use for it but they are too damn greedy or too
>> stubborn to release the code under an open source license.
>
> Now hang on a minute - try asking questions first and then shoot later. Do
> you have any evidence to support that? Have you considered other possible
> scenarios?
>
> e.g. I was under the impression that Mocka uses a back-end generator that
> they do not have a license to distribute.
>
>>> Compiling a Gnu M2
>>> program takes AGES. It's horrible.
>
>> It didn't strike me as taking much longer than compiling with any
>> other GCC front end.
>
> Yes - and two wrongs don't make a right.
>
>>> It's just a frontend for a C
>>> compiler. It's a disgrace to the name.

I do not understand. If you use GM2 you write pure Modula-2. You have
possibilities that no other compiler is able to provide (just look at
the examples directory or the use of GM2 as a cross-compiler for non-x86
platforms). Modula-2 will be available for every GCC-based operating
system in the near future. Talking about the future of Modula-2 I am
quite sure it is the only chance the language has but of course this is
an opinion.

All the discontinued compilers did and do not serve as a base for the
big interest in the language, being great tools (XDS, SBM2, Mocka) at
the same time. Some of them are freely available for years now but only
a handfull of people are using them. GM2 on the other hand will bring
Modula-2 to the people without special installation tasks - developers
will have to learn a few options and the language itself while using
their usual toolchain. This cannot be underestimated.

And by the way, I do not have the fastest computer but compiling a
program with GM2 doesn't take ages.

Christoph

[who snipped the rest]

Fruttenboel

unread,
Jul 9, 2009, 6:09:38 AM7/9/09
to
On Jul 9, 2:47 am, "Chris Burrows" <cfbsoftw...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> "Fruttenboel" <fruttenb...@gmail.com> wrote in message

> > Just need the backends generated....
>
> Good luck - unfortunately the backends are the hardest part :-(

I know... And that's why I have great respect for your ArmaIDE
compiler. Pity it doesn't run on Linux.

> Oberon-07 is also an excellent choice for embedded systems

I agree to the full. My friend FP is playing along recently with an
Olimex board and your compiler and he's very enthusiastic.

> The Armaide compiler / linker generates native code suitable for the NXP (Philips) LPC2xxx family of ARM7-based
> microcontrollers:
>
> http://www.standardics.nxp.com/products/lpc2000/

Did NXP contact you? I expressly asked them to. Some aquaintances work
there and they were looking for tools. So FP and I pointed them to
you.

Fruttenboel

unread,
Jul 9, 2009, 6:30:15 AM7/9/09
to
On Jul 9, 5:17 am, Ken Shaw <kensha...@gmail.com> wrote:

> > people are more than willing to accomodate for your curisoties.
>
> I was presenting the viewpoint of the average C programmer whose buddy
> suggested "hey, check out Modula-2".

He won't do that. Modula-2 is a BORE compared to C. DO THIS, DO THAT
is the only thing the compiler is saying. Unlike a C compiler that
approves on just about anything. If C people would have been
interested in quality, they would have embraced Oberon, or Haskell, or
Forth, or Algol, or Beathe, or FreePascal, or ANYTHING. C people just
want a compiler that does minimal checking and maximal warnings (that
can be ignored) and produces an executable. Period.

> You might well be interested to give it a trial, but the state of the websites you will find if you
> Google for Modula-2 is not competitive with that of websites for just
> about any other language.

Name three of the latter.

> If more than half the links are dead or point to long abandoned pages which are outdated and if most of the
> news talk about some old compiler for a piece of hardware that has
> been discontinued several decades ago, then you move elsewhere. It's
> as simple as that.

You're still here. So apparently there's a lot of content for you.

If the content you're looking for is not here, then why not make it
yourself and publish about it?
Whaty have YOU published in sourcecode on your own webspace? Can you
show me some URL's?

It's so easy to say that other people are wrong because THEY don't
publish their (annotated) sources.
Where are yours?

> > Mocka is no longer maintained.
>
> But it shows up high on any search for Modula-2 and any Unix developer
> who was encouraged to check out Modula-2 will end up on the MOCKA
> page.

Apparently there are a lot of people still using it and publishing
about it. Otherwise it would come up high in Google results.

> What I don't like is the fact that the creators of MOCKA, apparently
> have no further use for it but they are too damn greedy or too
> stubborn to release the code under an open source license. Even worse
> when considering that we're talking about a university.

The head maintainer is approaching the age that he gets pensioned.
Market is drivingtowards Java and other flimsy languages. That's why
Dr Maurer (Freie Universitaet Berlin) has shifted from Mocka to Java.
Not because Mocka was bad. If you see and read his publications (Dr
Maurer published more than you and your C friends would like to see)
you will be astonished. He practically rewrote Qt in Mocka. But his
students kept on biggering about 'When do we get your programs in Java
code?". So he gave in. Reluctantly. The markte drove him away from
Modula-2.

Check www.murus.org and my pages about Murus. But be warned: the
sources are in GERMAN so if you only speak english you are in for a
surprise. And you won't read it. And you won't see any interesting
sources. Also look in spanish sources since many spanish universities
still educate Modula-2 in the first year.

> I don't think it is fair to compare a compiler which is pre-1.0 and
> still work in progress to one that has already reached the end of its
> life.

With the amount of developers working on GM2 it's a shame they're stil
in pre-1.0 version.

> Wrong. Objective Modula-2 is to Modula-2 as Objective-C is to C.

Could be. But it's not Modula-2 anymore.

> Objective Modula-2 is not about inventing yet another way to add OOP
> to Modula-2. Instead, it is all about adding native Cocoa and GNUstep
> support to Modula-2 where Objective-C serves as a blueprint. The name
> has been chosen to reflect this."

Isn't that a little bit limiting? So much effort for creating so
little extra? Modula-2 is about safe programming. OOP is about fancy
programming (as Wirth mentioned in his 117.pdf).

> We live in a free society and people can call their stuff whatever
> they like as long as there is no trademark infringement.

In Europe we have something like 'ethics'. Some things are just 'not
done'. This is one of them.

> It seems perfectly reasonable to me to use the name of the original language
> for dialects, subsets and super sets.

From a marketing point of view: yes. But as an engineer: no. Why was
ArmaIDE not just called 'Oberon-DU' (DU is Down Under)? That was
because Chris has a kind of obligation towards Professor Wirth. So he
came up with a name of his own. So his product does not need to rely
on the work of a swiss genius. ArmaIDE is now judged on what it does
for ARM. And that's a lot. Well done Chris. And keep the sources to
yourself, whatever they will tell you.

Chris Burrows

unread,
Jul 9, 2009, 9:05:15 AM7/9/09
to
"Ken Shaw" <kens...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:6d1c8216-d7b3-4f1d...@x5g2000prf.googlegroups.com...

> True, compiler back ends for multiple languages are almost always less
> efficient and more complex than compiler back ends written for a
> specific front end. But to conclude that the weaknesses of C will be
> inherited by other languages simply because they share a back end with
> C, that would be folly because the semantics of a language are
> enforced in the front end or middle end, not the back end.

It is primarily the (un)reliability of the back-end that I have concerns
about - it is written in C after all (isn't it?) so would be harder to get
right. I haven't used GCC since the early nineties so I may have got the
wrong end of the stick. However, some of the GCC code generation-related
horror stories I hear in the embedded systems newsgroups don't do anything
to calm my fears. It's such a moving target and tries to be everything to
everybody so it's hardly surprising if it is unwieldy.

> Be that as it may, I am getting the feeling that Modula-2 folk are zealots
> too, maybe that explains why
the language is in decline.

Yeah that's right - shoot the messenger if you don't like the message ;-)

> Shouldn't a community in decline be a little more open minded and
> welcoming?

Open-minded and welcoming to GCC? Is that what you are suggesting?

> From where I stand, bashing GM2 amounts to infighting which such a small
> community can ill-afford, you
> guys should be grateful for GM2.

'Bashing', really??? I see it more as 'voicing some concerns'.

I have no problem with the front-end of GM2 as that it is written in
Modula-2. It is the back-end I have misgivings about.

Chris Burrows

unread,
Jul 9, 2009, 9:19:22 AM7/9/09