Feeds

Archaeologists unearth prehistoric C compiler

Could this be the Missing Linker?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Archaeologists in New Jersey have discovered the remains of what may be the first C compiler, buried under layers of sediment.

Carbon dating is expected to confirm that the discovery dates back to around the time of the first Unix systems: the point at which, historians now recognise, modern man departed from the apes. Although barely recognisable from modern development tools, the source code could represent the 'Missing Linker'.

In actual fact, it isn't a 'discovery' at all: but regular Reg readers will know we stop at nothing in pursuit of a contrived pun.

The co-creator of both Unix and the C language Dennis Ritchie, has posted the source code to what really is the first C compiler here on his home page. "Aside from their small size," comments Ritchie, "perhaps the most striking thing about these programs is their primitive construction." Indeed, there's no pre-processor, and structs had yet to evolve. The software was compiled on a DEC PDP-11/20 between 1972 and 1973. Dennis recommends the PDP Unix Preservation Society for information on how to build the source. Of course, if you have a PDP or a VAX lying around, it helps. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.