Modula-2 FAQ/part1 
Author Message
 Modula-2 FAQ/part1

Archive-name: computer-lang/Modula2-faq/part1
Version: 2.4
Last-modified: 1996 06 10
Posting-frequency: Monthly

                 Modula-2 Frequently Asked Questions

What's new in version 2.4?
There are numerous vendor changes and alterations to URLs that have gotten
out of date.  There is new information of WG13.  Some things have been


1. Answers to frequently asked questions about Modula-2 will be collected
at Trinity Western University and included in this document from time to
time as it is revised.

Anyone making a submission guarantees that they have the right to do so
(copyright holder, or information in the public domain.) and that the
information is not from any source whose copyright lies with another.

3. I will update this summary file and post to the newsgroups
comp.lang.modula2 and to comp.answers and news.answers

4. The latest version will always be available in a Nisus (Mac) form in
The folder modula2 has a variety of other materials. This version of the
FAQ is readible as text by other word processors, but without any
formatting. It is also available from the site in plain text
form as
aq/part1 and as

5. An automatically generated .html version of the FAQ is available as
However, this one seems to be a couple of versions out of date.


Part 1
Part 2


A. Modula-2 is a programming notation that corrects some of the
deficiencies of Pascal. It is suitable for learning programming, for large
projects written and maintained in the fashion of professional software
engineers, and for real time embedded systems.

1.1 Who developed Modula-2?
A. Modula-2 was developed by Niklaus Wirth at ETH in Zurich, Switzerland in
the late 70's. Wirth also developed Pascal and Oberon.
see: http://www.*-*-*.com/

1.2 Where is this language described?
A. In Programming in Modula-2 3rd edition published by Springer-Verlag in
1985. For the purposes of distinguishing this from later variants, this
description will be referred to herein as classical Modula-2.

1.3 How do you pronounce Herr Wirth's name?
A. It is incorrect to call him by his value (worth.) Instead his name is veart.

1.4 Can I get a simple introduction to ISO Modula-2?
Yes, at http://www.*-*-*.com/
Mirrors: http://www.*-*-*.com/

1.5 How does Modula-2 fit into the language zoo?
A. It is a descendent of Pascal and Modula, and one predecessor of
Modula-2+, Modula-2*, Modula-3, Oberon, Oberon-2, and various object
oriented versions of these. The latter languages are not replacements for
Modula-2, merely later notations in the same family, having strengths and
weaknesses of their own. Modula-2 is sometimes classified with Ada and C as
the trio of modern languages in view of their expressive power. Modula-2 is
smaller and more readable than either.

1.6 What are the differences between Modula-2 and Pascal?
A. Modula-2 has separately compiled library modules, and makes much less
use of blocks (begin...) than Pascal. Identifiers are case sensitive; there
is no goto label; and I/O is in libraries rather than built in. The IF
statement is more versatile; and there are facilities for concurrent
programming via coroutines.

1.7 What is ISO Standard Modula-2?
A. A committee of ISO JTC1/SC22/WG13 with delegates from several countries
has met since 1987 to work on a standard description of Modula-2 and a set
of standard library modules.

A2. The official home of the ISO Modula-2 working group WG13 is at

1.7.1 What is the status of ISO Standard Modula-2?
A. The international standard (IS 10514) has been voted on and is now official.

1.7.2 Where can I get the Modula-2 standard?
A1. Contact your national standards body or ISO (the publisher.)

A2. Try looking in

1.7.3 What format is the standard document in?
A. Latex.

1.7.4 Who is the convenor of the standards group (WG13)?

convenor of WG13, replacing Mark Woodman, who has resigned.

selected as the new convenor, subject to approval by SC22 at the next

1.7.5 When was the last WG13 meeting?
A1. It was June 3-7 in Oxford, UK.  For more details, follow

1.7.6 When is the next WG13 meeting?
A1. It will be in the Fall of 1996 if there are substantial comments on the
Generics and OO proposals, and not until somewhat later otherwise.

1.7.7 Will I be able to read the standard?
A1. The concrete syntax is written in a variation of EBNF (Extended
Backus-Naur Formalism) and should be accessible to most.

A2. Much of the document's details are written in VDM-SL (Vienna
Development Method - Specification Language) which is a formalism for
giving a precise definition of a programming language in a denotational
style. It is worth learning VDM-SL if you plan to write a compiler or take
a course in formal methods.

1.7.8 Can I at least get electronic copies of the definition modules?
A. Yes, in or

1.7.9 Can I get copies of the grammer?
A1. Yes, in
A2. For classical Modula-2, see also COCO (section 4.9)
A3. There are nice syntax diagrams for classical Modula-2 in
.html http://www.*-*-*.com/
index.htmland there are syntax diagrams for ISO Modula-2 stored at

1.8 What difference is there between classical and ISO Modula-2?
A. ISO Modula-2 has resolved most of the ambiguities in classical Modula-2.
It adds the data type COMPLEX and LONGCOMPLEX, exceptions, module
termination (FINALLY clause) and a complete standard I/O library. There are
numerous minor differences and clarifications.

1.8.1 What else is WG13 doing?
A. WG13 is working on two additional standards (separate from the main one)
for (a) object oriented Modula-2 and (b) generic programming facilities.
Both passed the registration ballot as CDs and will now proceed to final
drafting.. Various versions of the latest generics proposal are stored in
the directory

1.9 What is (was) Turbo Modula-2
A. Borland prepared CP/M versions of Modula-2 and sold them for a time in
Europe (also in North America via a distributer. One of these versions
later migrated to become TopSpeed Modula-2.

1.10 Where and for what is Modula-2 used?
A1. Modula-2 is widely used for teaching the fundamentals of sound
programming techniques, data structures, and software engineering in many
parts of the world. It is the language of choice in much of Europe. It has
features that make it superior to other languages for large projects and
for programming and real time controllers.

A2. Here is a message sent in by a maker of test equipment:
Our BoardWizard range of test equipment has compilers,pseudo-code
interpreters and a complete test operating system written in M2.  The code
was written for one tester in 1987 and has been maintained from that date
to the present. New tester models have added and new interface and UI code
has been written, indeed sections have been completely re-written but much
of the core test logic is untouched since about 1990 when I shifted to
management.  Much of the code is unknown to those who maintain it - yet
when i look at it after several years I can still explain it to others even
though comments are sparse. I believe that that is the hallmark of a great
programming language. (Emphasis added.)
Dave Appleton,
Technical Manager
Goldtron Technologies                       Tel : (065)-870-9886
(Ex- Proteq Technologies)                   Fax: (065)-777-2118
26 Ayer Rajah Crescent #07-01               www:   http://www.*-*-*.com/
Singapore  139944

A3. The following survey results were recently posted by Mat. Maher

ORGANISATION              LOCATION   WORK                   COMPILER
Statoil                   Norway                            StonyBrook
Inst. for Space Nerology  Austria    datafile conversion    TopSpeed
Boeing                    Washington Aerospace Eng.         p1(MAC)
CDSS                      UK         embedded control sys.  TopSpeed
                                     for submarines
(self-employed)           UK         embedded Pcs and       TopSpeed
                                     pc-like chips
(manufacturer)            Finland,   8051 embedded control  Mod51
                          NZ, USA
Pacific Software          California Point-Of-Sale systems   -
Tele-Soft                 S. Africa  Scientific CAD progs   TopSpeed
(confidential)            UK         Instrumentation &      TopSpeed &
                                     telemetry              Custom tools
USA Dept. of Energy       Idaho      Reusable components    StonyBrook
Idaho Nat. eng. labs                 systems programming
Locheed Idaho technologies company
Applied software resuse Products
GiaStar Ltd               UK         Satcoms/Comms. Elect.  TopSpeed
                                     design & m/facture.
University of Reading     UK         Teaching,embedded ctrl  TopSpeed
University of Loughborough UK                               StonyBrook
and Hertsfordshire                                          TopSpeed
(sole trader)             UK         Electronic Design      TopSpeed
Atomic Energy of Canada   Canada     Shutdown system for    prototype in
Ltd. (AECL)                          nuclear reactor        TopSpeed
                                                         final version in
                                                         Hicross (HiWare)
Wallac Oy                 Finland    beta/gamma counters    Logitech,
                                     control & data acquis. Multiscope
Inspectron AG             Switzerland remote surveillance   Logitech,
Bank of New York          USA        funds transfer &       Terra Dutentechnik
                                     customer enquirys      (VAX/VMS)
({*filter*})                          Motorola IC production Logitech
                                     line tools. (Asia)
Dexdyne Ltd               UK         Single-board Pcs &     TopSpeed
({*filter*})               Australia  Shareware              p1 (mac)
Multi-Master AS           Norway     Embedded systems,      Logitech,
                                     remote control & acquis. Multiscope
(confidential)                       room acoustic sim &    TopSpeed
                                     (audio) virtual reality

1.12 Why do universities use Modula-2 for teaching instead of C or C++?
A. Modula-2 is a type-safe language and its compilers will therefore catch
many errors that otherwise show up at run time. While professional
programmers need to learn C because it is commonly used, it is important to
begin a discipline of deliberate, engineered programming at the outset.
A2. Here are the results of a survey of university usage of Modula-2 done
by Bernhard Leitch

 lang.    total perc.   group
Pascal     159  35.57%    1
Ada         73  16.33%    2
Scheme      51  11.41%    4
Modula-2    49  10.96%    1
C           36   8.05%    3
C++         28   6.26%    3
fortran     10   2.24%    5
Turing       6   1.34%    5
Eiffel       5   1.12%    5
SML          5   1.12%    5
Miranda      4   0.89%    5
Modula-3     4   0.89%    5
ML           3   0.67%    5
Oberon       2   0.45%    1
ISETL        2   0.45%    5
Smalltalk    1   0.22%    5
Beta         1   0.22%    5
Prolog       1   0.22%    5
Simula       1   0.22%    5
Orwell       1   0.22%    5
Basic        1   0.22%    5
Trine        1   0.22%    5
Cobol        1   0.22%    5
Pop-11       1   0.22%    5
Lisp         1   0.22%    4
           --- -------
           447 100.00%
in language groups:

Wirth lang.  210  47%  1
Ada           73  16%  2
C/C++         64  14%  3
Lisp like     52  12%  4
other         48  11%  5
             --- ----
             447 100%

1.13 Why is Modula-2 a good language for large commercial projects?
A1. It supports modular design which reduces errors and cuts down on
maintenance time.  This also allows platform dependencies to be isolated,
increasing portability.

A2. see: Griffith, Laurie Modula-2 is three times less error prone than C,
Proceedings of the Second International Modula-2 Conference, Loughborough
University of Technology, UK, September 1991, pp 332-338.

1.14 Where do I get information on Oberon and Modula-3?
A. These languages have their own newsgroups. The Modula-3 FAQ is located
at http://www.*-*-*.com/
page at http://www.*-*-*.com/ ~laden/Ob-pkgs.html

1.15 Where do I get information on Modula-2*?
A. Try http://www.*-*-*.com/



This is an internet newsgroup for questions, answers, and discussions on
Modula-2. You may read it under this name on any machine on which you have
a news account.

2.1.1 How do I post a message to comp.lang.modula2?
A. Post it directly into that group using a news program on any computer
connected to the network.

2.1.2 How do I retrieve old messages from comp.lang.modula2?
A. Your local news server probably keeps old messages only for a few weeks.
You should be able to mark the entire group as unread and browse whatever
is available there.

2.2 Compuserve
If you have a Compuserve account, GO CODEPORT to join the portable
programming forum.

2.3 Amiga lists
2.4.1 A general list for Amiga Modula2/Oberon programming.  This is


2.4.2 A mailing-list for the Amiga Turbo Modula-2 Compiler written by
Amritpal S. Mann. To subscribe, send a message to

subscribed, you will receive a copy of all messages sent to the address

2.4 Gardens Point Modula-2

the subject line blank and the body
 of the message containing:
  subscribe gpm
  info gpm

 subscribers on the list. The development team are of course subscribers.

2.5 XDS
To subscribe to the XDS mailing list, send message with the following body:
    subscribe xds

To learn more about listserver commands, send message



3.1 Where can I get commercial Modula-2 compilers?

In this section, the listings are by name of the manufacturer (marked M) or
distributor (marked D.)

ACE Associated Computer Experts bv
activity  M
products  Compilers, Operating systems and Consultancy
platforms SPARC, 68K, Transputer and more
office    Van Eeghenstraat 100
          1071 GL  Amsterdam
          The Netherlands
contact   Kees Dik

voice     +31 20 6646416
fax       +31 20 6750389

activity  D
products  Compilers, applications, and books.
platforms various
office    Daderiz 61
          CH-2540 Grenchen
contact   Albert Meier

voice     +41/65/52 03 11
fax       +41/65/52 03 79

Byte Works, Inc.
activity  MD
products  ORCA/Modula-2 for the Apple IIGS
offices   8000 Wagon Mound Dr. NW
          Albuquerque NM 87120
contact     Mike Westerfield
voice     (505) 898-8183

Edinburgh Portable Compilers, Ltd
activity  MD
products  EPC Modula-2
platforms SCO Unix V.[34],
          Motorola 88000 UNIX V.[34],
          SPARC UNIX & Solaris,
          RS/6000 AIX
office1   17 Alva Street
          Edinburgh, EH2 4PH, UK
contact   Kathleen Smith

voice     +441 131 225 6262
fax       +441 131 225 6644
office2   20 Victor Square
          Scotts Valley
          California 95066, USA
USA tel   1-800-EPC-1110

Gardens Point
activity  MD
products  Gardens Point Modula-2
platforms Various Unix, including Linux and FreeBSD, DJGPP, EMX (OS/2)
            and MS-DOS (no Mac)
office    Queensland University of Technology
          Gardens Point Branch
          2 George Street
          POB 2434 Brisbane
          Queensland Australia 4001
contact   John Gough

contact   Jeffrey Ledermann

web       http://www.*-*-*.com/
voice     +61 7-864-2132
fax       +61 7-864-1801
see mail list and net sections

Mandeno Granville Electronics Ltd
activity   MD
products  80x51: Mod51 -  80x51 Cross Compiler, ISO extensions
platforms DOS Hosted
office    128 Grange Rd
          Auckland 3
          New Zealand
voice     +64 9 6300 558
fax       +64 9 6301 720

activity  M
products  standalone and MPW hosted compilers; Code Warrier environment
platforms Macintosh
  NOTE: Modula-2 NO LONGER SUPPORTED, but probably still available from:
          POB 2039 Mansfield
          OH, USA 44905
          Tel +1 (800) 247-6553
          Fax +1 (419) 281 6883
(see p1 GmbH)

The Mill Hill & Canterbury Group, Ltd.
activity  MD
products  32-bit Modula-2 with Oberon extensions (non-ISO)
platforms OS/2 with full API incl. SOM/WPS and PM
Note: Object oriented language extensions similar to Oberon-2
contact  Neuhoff, Juergen

=" http://www.*-*-*.com/ ; http://www.*-*-*.com/
demo      Try:

CompuServe: GO CODEPORT (File Name MOD201J.ZIP)

activity  MD
prod/plat Unix (680x0, SunSparc, I386, Linux, OS/9): MCS Modula-2 V4.5
          DEC VAX/OpenVMS & Alpha AXP/OpenVMS: MVR & MaX V4.0
          DOS/Windows: OM2 V1.1 (Modula-2 & Oberon-2 Compiler)
          DOS/Windows: Mithril V2 GUI/IDE/OOP-API for OM2
          All platforms: OM2-XDS V2.06: (Oberon-2 and ISO Modula-2,
          generating ANSI C, with ANSI C source of ISO Modula-2 library)
office1   ModulaWare
          La Chanenche
          F-04340 Meolans Revel
tel/fax   +33
contact   Guenter Dotzel

office2   ModulaWare
          Haselbachstr. 113
          D-97653 Bischofsheim
tel/Fax  +49 (9772) 7101

p1 GmbH
activity  MD
products  MPW and Metrowerks Code Warrier hosted ISO compliant compilers
platforms Macintosh
office    Hogenbergstrasse. 20
          80686 Munich
contact   Elmar Henne

voice     +49 89-546 13 10
fax       +49 89-580 25 97

PMI Software
activity  MD
products  Modula-2 tools; dealer for Mandino Granville, XDS (see listings)
platforms DOS and OS/2
contact   John McMonagle
office    PO Box 8402
          Green Bay WI 54311
voice     414-468-6040
fax       414-465-0464
bbs       414-465-1656

web       http://www.*-*-*.com/ ~johnm/

Real Time Associates Ltd.
activity  D
products  Compilers, books, and training courses
platforms numerous
office    Canning House 59
          Canning Road Croyden Surrey
          CR0 6QF UK
voice     (+44) 081 656 7333
fax       (+44) 081 655 0401

Stony Brook Software
activity MD
products  Stonybrook Modula-2
platforms DOS/Windows (32-bit Windows ISO compiler coming RSN)
office    187 E. Wilbur, Suite 4
          Thousand Oaks
          CA 91360, USA
contact   Norman Black

voice     +1 (805) 496-5837
BBS       +1 (805) 379-3357

TERRA Datentechnik
activity  D
products  Logitech/Multiscope support
platforms DOS
office    Bahnhofstrasse 33
          CH-8703 Erlenbach
voice     +41 01 910 35 55
fax       +41 01 910 19 92
bbs       +41 01 910 35 31

TopSpeed Corp (formerly Clarion)
activity  MD
products  Topspeed Modula-2
          CDBW (has Windows VID, can link with TopSpeed M2
          Windows de{*filter*} WID available on Compuserve or on BBS)
platforms DOS, DOS Extender, MS-Windows 3.1 (with some work)
Plans:    (According to rumour) will sell Modula-2 only as an add-on to
            Clarion for Windows and not as a separate product.
office1   Clarion Software (Europe) Ltd.
          Clare House, Thompsons Close
          Harpenden, Herts, UK, AL5 4ES
voice    +441 582 763 200
fax      +441 582 768 222
tech sup +441 582 763 999
BBS      +441 582 763 666
office2   150 East Sample Road
          Pompano Beach
          FL  USA 33064
voice    1-800-354-5444 (free call in US)
voice2   1-305-785-4555 EXT. 105
fax      1-305-946-1650
BBS      1-305-785-2594
retail   http://www.*-*-*.com/

xTech Ltd
activity  M
products  Native XDS-x86 - Modula-2/Oberon-2 compiler for x86 platform
          XDS-C - Modula-2/Oberon-2 to ANSI C translator
platforms Native XDS-x86 - IBM PC (OS/2, Linux, Win32 (NT/95) editions)
          XDS-C - IBM PC (the same plus SCO Unix, FreeBSD)
                  Sun Sparc (Solaris)
                  HP9000 (HP-UX)
                  SGI (Irix)
                  DEC Alpha (OSF/1)

          see ModulaWare and PMI (above) for product availability
XDS WWW home page:
http://www.*-*-*.com/ :// or
http://www.*-*-*.com/ ~johnm/xds.html http://www.*-*-*.com/ ~johnm/xds.html    (US
XDS mailing list

evalutaion kits available from :
  xdsn214_w95.exe    Native XDS-x86 2.14 unlimited pre-release for Win32
                     (expires on November 1st, 1996)
  xdsn213_linux.tgz  Native XDS-x86 2.13 unlimited pre-release for Linux    Native XDS-x86 2.12 unlimited pre-release for OS/2
  xdsc211_os2.exe    XDS-C demo for OS/2
  xdsc211_w95.exe    XDS-C demo for Win95/NT
  xdsc211_linux.tgz  XDS-C demo for Linux
also see ModulaWare and PMI (above) for product availability

3.2 Where can I get a free/shareware compiler on the net?
Note:  A net project to produce an OS/2 version of Modula-2 has apparently
died in the light of impending commercial releases.

Fitted Software Tools Modula-2 for DOS
P. O. Box 867403 Plano, TX 75023 USA
contact: Roger Carvalho

snail    P. O. Box 867403 Plano, TX 75023 USA
Note:   This compiler was developed by Roger Carvalho but is no longer
  actively supported. It essentially conforms to PIM version 3, but also
  supports some simple  and interesting OOP extensions.
  P. O. Box 867403 Plano, TX 75023 USA

Gardens Point Modula-2 for DOS, Linux and FreeBSD
(The EMX version runs under OS/2 in protected mode and can be used to
generate OS/2 PM applications. It relies on the GNU tools from the EMX

which can be found at: and various
other mirror sites.

MacLogimo for the Macintosh

MacMETH Modula-2 for Macintosh

MOCKA - Modula Compiler Karlsruhe (Non ISO)
  Universitaet Karlsruhe
  Institut fuer Programm- und Datenstrukturen
  Vincenz-Priessnitz-Strasse 3
  D-76128 Karlsruhe (FRG)
  Phone: *-49-721-608 6088        FAX: *-49-721-691462
  contact: Thilo Gaul

  SUN 4        | SUN OS              | SPARC               |
  SUN 4        | Solaris2.x/SunOS 5.0| SPARC               |
  DEC Station  | ULTRIX              | R3000, R2000 (MIPS) |
  Silicon      | IRIX                | R3000, R2000 (MIPS) |
    Graphics   |                     |                     |
  Sony NEWS    | News                | MC 68020 with 68881 |
  SUN 3        | SUN OS              | MC 68020 with 68881 |
  HP 9000/300  | HPUX                | MC 68020 with 68881 |
  HP 9000/700  | HPUX                | C back end          |
  RS6000       | AIX                 | C back end          |
  PC           | Linux               | 80386               | +
  PC           | 386BSD              | 80386               | +
  C-back end   | UNIX                | different           |
  translates   |                     |                     |
  M-2 To C     |                     |                     |

The versions marked with a + are free; no order form must be sent, no
license fee to be paid. If you use them, please send an email to

For more information have a look to

http://www.*-*-*.com/ ~modula http://www.*-*-*.com/ ....
See also
ages/modula-2/ for a Linux version.

Turbo Modula-2 for Amiga

  Amiga Turbo Modula-2 may be obtained from your favourite AmiNet site as
the following files:

Ulm's Modula-2 System for Sun3 Workstations

xTech Ltd
is about to produce XDS Lite - free version of XDS (see 3.1), slightly


Rick Sutcliffe Math/Cmpt Trinity Western University < http://www.*-*-*.com/ ;
CDN Chair WG13, FAQ maintainer comp.lang.modula-2
< http://www.*-*-*.com/ ; <Not speaking officially>

Tue, 29 Dec 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 [ 1 post ] 

 Relevant Pages 

1. Modula-2 FAQ/part1

2. Modula-2 FAQ/part1

3. Modula-2 FAQ/part1

4. Modula-2 FAQ/part1

5. Modula-2 FAQ/part1

6. Modula-2 FAQ/part1

7. Modula-2 FAQ/part1

8. Modula-2 FAQ/part1

9. Modula-2 FAQ/part1

10. Modula-2 FAQ/part1

11. Modula-2 FAQ/part1

12. Modula-2 FAQ/part1


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