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Archaeologists unearth prehistoric C compiler

Could this be the Missing Linker?

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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. ®

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