C is NOT a portable assembler (was: want to know) 
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 C is NOT a portable assembler (was: want to know)


>No, the question is not a JOKE.  It is a stupidity in UNIX which causes the
>problem.  I have used other systems in which the main program could have
>any name whatever, and even in which the entry need not be to a main program,
>while a main program is present.  I have even used it.

It has finally dawned on me on what Herman Rubin thinks C is.  Now I
know why stuff like entry points and hardware registers and NAND
gates bother him.  He must have heard the phrase "C is kind of a
portable assembler".  This phrase is a misnomer!

C is closer to (and I really hate to call it this because I KNOW that
someone is going to misinterpret me) a portable assembly language than
a portable assembler.  C defines a virtual machine which maps fairly
efficiently onto a wide variety of current computer architectures.
What this allows one to do is write code which will work unaltered on a
lot of different machines.  This is why the implementations of other
languages (such as C++, Eiffel(?), etc.) compile (and I mean
compile, not translate.  Compilers output syntactically correct code, be
it assembler, p-code, or C; translators may rely on the post-processor
to catch the syntactical errors) to C; it is portable.

Now let's look at what Herman wants.  He wants to be able to
hand-optimize his code; to know which variables go into which
registers, what branch instructions are used, etc.  In other words, he
wants an extra-fancy macro assembler!  C is not this, and it will never
be this!  He complains that he can't do everything in C that he can in
assembler.  Of course not!  C was never intended to replace an
assembler (except perhaps on a PDP-11 :-))!  Please stop complaining
that C doesn't fit your want of a super-duper macro assembler; C isn't
one, it is a *language*.

Sun, 17 Jan 1993 00:43:00 GMT  
 [ 1 post ] 

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