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Free Pascal 2.2 Has Been Released 284

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the never-say-die dept.
Daniel Mantione writes "Free Pascal 2.2 has been released. Several new platforms are supported, like the Mac OS X on Intel platform, the Game Boy Advance, Windows CE and 64-Windows. Free Pascal is now the first and only free software compiler that targets 64-bit Windows. These advancements were made possible by Free Pascal's internal assembler and linker allowing support for platforms not supported by the GNU binutils. The advancement in internal assembling and linking also allow faster compilation times and smaller executables, increasing the programmer comfort. Other new features are stabs debug support, many new code optimizations, resourcestring smart-linking and more."
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Free Pascal 2.2 Has Been Released

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  • by chefmonkey (140671) on Monday September 10, 2007 @06:10PM (#20545543)
    Half of me is saying "cool!"

    The other half is looking very confused and asking "why?"
    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday September 10, 2007 @06:19PM (#20545649) Journal

      The other half is looking very confused and asking "why?"
      The last time I played with Free Pascal was as an undergraduate, doing coursework that was meant to be done in Delphi. At the time, Free Pascal supported all of the features of Delphi required to complete the assignment. I wonder how much orphaned legacy Delphi code there is out there looking for a support route.
      • by Dunbal (464142) on Monday September 10, 2007 @06:37PM (#20545861)
        I wonder how much orphaned legacy Delphi code there is out there looking for a support route.

              OMG, powerful alliteration and anthropomorphism. Here I am with a visual image of a young code snippet out in the winter cold, begging people for a couple pence for a "cuppa tea".
      • by fm6 (162816) on Monday September 10, 2007 @07:13PM (#20546243) Homepage Journal
        The "support route" requires more than. a compiler. It requires developers who know both the technology and culture, which are drastically different from those of any other language. Not bad, just different. Which is why Turbo/Delphi/Object/Free Pascal has always been fiercely opposed by management (which doesn't care for nonstandard technology) and fiercely defended by developers (who love its tiny compile cycle and elegant features).

        The suits will win in the end, because they're breeding faster. There's not a lot of incentive to become a Pascal expert, because it's perceived as a fringe language. (To some extent, that's a self-fulfilling prophecy, but that doesn't make it any less true.) So there will be fewer and fewer developers who insist on working in Pascal, and always the same number of managers who insist on switching to a "standard" language.

        So Pascal is doomed. Yes, they've been saying that for a long time, because it's been true for a long time. Religions don't die quickly.

        Personal note: I used to work for Borland and was responsible for documenting a big chunk of the Delphi API. Fell in love with the language during those years. Driven out by the sheer insanity of Borland management. Now I can't bear to work in the language — too depressing.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          Your post is right on the money, but maybe I'm biased. While my first language was interpreted BASIC, my first compiled procuedural language was ... Turbo Pascal 3.02a. It was also my first OOP language, or, more correctly, Turbo Pascal 5.5 was. I yearn for the days of that Borland compiler ... it was FAST, and it generated small, highly-optimized executables -- well before anyone else did.

          I've used Free Pascal for the odd project here or there, but, well, sadly, these days I find myself mostly using C a
          • by fm6 (162816) on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:10PM (#20546721) Homepage Journal

            it was FAST
            First bug report for Kylix (Linux version of Delphi): testers claimed the "compile" command wasn't doing anything. What they didn't understand was that their test programs were finishing compilation before they had a chance to release the mouse button!

            Thing is with Pascal: it's designed to be very easy to compile. (So CS students could use it for their first stab at writing a compiler; this was before grammar generators made hand-built compilers obsolete.) So compiling only takes one pass, and even that pass executes quickly. Very handy when you're working with an IDE....

            Ach. Getting depressed again.
            • those must have been the testers who actually got kylix to work. i never could, and i don't think i was alone. kylix died before it ever got out of the gate.
              • by Micah (278)
                Huh. It worked fine for me on the platforms it supported (Red Hat 7 or 8 I think). Later when I tried to run it under Gentoo it failed miserably.

                That's about when I decided: Closed source compilers: Never Again!!!
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              Pascal was defined after grammar generators (e.g. yacc) were around. Pascal was fun to compile because one could write a recursive descent parser for it straight off the "railroad diagrams" used to define the language. In fact, the ETH "P2" compiler (written by Urs Ammann) was such a compiler, and was the start of many other compilers. If I remember correctly, LL(1) is a proper subset of recursive-descent-able. Most everyone else uses LALR(1), which is not.

              You probably should have said "easier and faste
      • by tcopeland (32225)
        > I wonder how much orphaned legacy Delphi code
        > there is out there looking for a support route.

        Here's an option - a Java to Delphi [blogs.com] converter (in the second paragraph).
    • by arth1 (260657) on Monday September 10, 2007 @06:49PM (#20545975) Homepage Journal

      Half of me is saying "cool!"

      The other half is looking very confused and asking "why?"

      I'm also feeling rather blaise about it...
      • by treeves (963993)
        ugh, bad pun. What's the probability of that on Slashdot?
      • by autophile (640621)

        I'm also feeling rather blaise about it...

        We should believe in supporting 2.2... because there's no downside.

        --Rob

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by alico (557204)
      Pascal is the new COBOL and it's going to be around for a while. I've used the language for 20 years and really like it but I like to keep a balanced diet with other languages like C/C++ and C#.
    • If a company is using software based on Pascal it is obvious that they have zero willingness to change for one reason or another. So what would motivate them to change to a different compiler?

      And oh, if they are already using a for-profit Pascal compiler, they've already payed for it. If they haven't payed for it then they are getting good pirated copies and don't intend to pay for it anyway. And if they are starting a new project they will not be choosing Pascal to write it in (even if they can get a fr
    • I view Turbo/Object Pascal the same way a lot of people view a classic car: It may have been eclipsed by more modern technology, but it still has a certain elegance and appeal to those who knew it in its heyday. Sure, the latest cars have electronic fuel injection and engine monitors and other advanced technology, but there's still nothing like working on a classic engine. It's nostalgia, yes, but good stuff, still.

      END. (* PROGRAM *)
  • Pascal is so '80s (Score:2, Informative)

    by toddbu (748790)
    I learned Pascal in the 1980's when I was in college. Haven't used it since. I never did like the strict type checking or the whacky for loops that had to run at least once. FORTRAN and then C/C++ have served me pretty well over the years, although I write a lot of PHP, bash, and some C# now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Secret Rabbit (914973)
      Just because you don't use it, doesn't mean it isn't used. For instance, I knew someone that used Pascal in industry as an Engineer. Can't remember exactly what kind of Engineer though (it's been about 6 years). But, even if it wasn't used in industry at all, these developments would still be *very* useful as it is quite useful as a learning language.

      Basically, please remember that there are lands beyond your horizon. Just because you can't see them doesn't mean that they don't exist nor does it mean th
      • by glwtta (532858)
        Basically, please remember that there are lands beyond your horizon.

        So you are saying that there was one person that used it six years ago?

        And why would you want a "learning language" that you will never use again? Niche languages that are good at specific tasks (Fortran, etc) are one thing, but Pascal is just an outdated procedural language - the only thing keeping it going at this point is nostalgia.
      • ... as it is quite useful as a learning language.

        Actually, it's fairly well known to suck as a learning language.

        Or at least some people think so [virginia.edu].

        • Actually, it's fairly well known to suck as a learning language. Or at least some people think so.

          It's worth pointing out that most, if not all, of the objections in Kernighan's famous essay do not apply to Borland's Pascal dialect.

      • by crivens (112213)
        Well said. I maintain a system running OpenVMS Pascal, with code that is 20+ years old. Some people aren't aware that older, legacy languages are still being used for various reasons.
    • by sconeu (64226)
      I once wrote a AN/UYK-20 assembly to pseudocode generator in Pascal. This was done on a TOPS-20 system, and I didn't have access to shells/scripting or C, so I wrote it in Pascal.

      Ugh.
    • I have written a commercial application in Delphi (Object Pascal) that's still being sold today.
      Yeah, original Pascal is 80s. Modern Pascal (read: Object Pascal) is not, although it is 90s - it has good support for OO, but Delphi only recently added support for generics/templates.
    • I too learned Pascal in the early 80's when it was that or Fortran IV. Both seemed to me to require a lot of typing to accomplish anything. I picked up Modula2 for my Amiga as I already knew Pascal and it was quite similar, the Modula2 compiler was relatively inexpensive and the executables were tight and fast. Eventually I picked up Lattice C for the Amiga (an earlier version in a bargain bin, which I paid a bit more and upgraded to the latest release :o) and never looked back.

    • So 1980's? It was not new then. My copy of Wirth's "Pascal User manual and report" was printed in 1975. Pascalhad been out for about a year at that point. Pascal in the 80's was about as new a Java is today. At mid life I'd say.
      • I remember one of my fellow dormies getting into Pascal ca 1974 or so - running on a CDC-6400 (BTW, the same computer that SPICE was developed on)- and he was quite fond of it. He was later exposed to "An abomination in the eyes of the Lord" from some outfit in New Jersay, making comments that if Bell Labs hadn't invented the transistor, the phone company would still be using vacuum tubes.
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Monday September 10, 2007 @06:14PM (#20545605)
    TurboPascal was great. Or is it Delphi now?

    I still need a blue screen to write code quickly.

     
  • Good Stuff (Score:2, Insightful)

    FreePascal has come a long way, and at least for me, it's a very valuable tool. I may not be exactly the target audience, but I prefer Object Pascal over C(++) any day for many reasons, and FPC has been my sidekick ever since Delphi did it's magic trick of fading into obscurity and uselessness. Lazarus needs some more work though, but it's getting there. Hell, if I had the time to spare, I'd contribute myself (sadly, I don't). "Good work" and thanks to the guys that made it all happen!
    • by Coryoth (254751)

      FPC has been my sidekick ever since Delphi did it's magic trick of fading into obscurity and uselessness.

      If you're looking for a Delphi replacement, you might want to consider Chrome [remobjects.com], which is Object Pascal with a variety of nice extra features, including lambda expressions, generics, nullable types, and design by contract. The downsides are that it is a .NET langauge (though it works with Mono [remobjects.com] apparently), and that only the command line tools are free -- the whole suite is pricey (though comparable in cost to Delphi I guess). It is, at the least, worth looking into if you're a Pascal fan.

  • With all the focus on JIT compiled and interpreted languages, it's nice to see this niche still being worked on and kept up to date with current software, like 64-bit Windows. There are still reasons to build applications for these platforms, while at the same time seeing cross platform source code as a benefit. This is why I also like the D programming language, although I have to admit Free Pascal got it beat as for the cross platform support, where it's still lacking things like native 64-bit and Windows
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      Oh and that comment of mine was missing that there's also an IDE for cross platform GUI development? Wow, now we're starting to get into rare territory... I've been looking for *good* IDE's for this purpose in the past, the closest I came to was something like wxWidgets. I dislike large libraries that need to be installed for GUI support, and this one apparently only needs GTK for Linux, and nothing special at all for Windows. Getting more interesting... :-) If I only knew Pascal better, it was something li
  • by everphilski (877346) on Monday September 10, 2007 @06:31PM (#20545785) Journal
    Microsoft's free C++ compiler has been able to target x64 for quite some time ... it isn't open source, but is free as in beer.

    C# programs even work in Linux, without a recompile, using Mono :)

    • by andreyw (798182) on Monday September 10, 2007 @07:51PM (#20546559) Homepage
      Why was parent modded troll? The article says "only free software compiler" which could mean either a compiler that is free software (as in FOSS), or a software compiler that is free. Certainly, Microsoft distributes a C++ compiler that targets both AMD64 and IA-64 and is compiler that is free, although not FOSS.

      It's this childish "Waah, its MS and not FOSS" attitude that make all of /. readers look like pimply basement dwelling dorks.

      Ugh...
  • Pascal. The eight wonder of the IT world.
  • Cue the "the server must be written in Pascal" jokes...

    Here's a MirrorDot [mirrordot.org] link for the FreePascal site.

  • when I got out of college. I have been clean and sober from Pascal since then and I plan to stay on the wagon.
  • by theolein (316044) on Monday September 10, 2007 @06:56PM (#20546077) Journal
    Like many others here, I learnt Pascal at school in the early 80s before C, then C++ and finally Java became the standard teaching languages. The thing about Pascal, of course, is that it was designed to be a teaching language. All of that verbose syntax is meant to teach good structured programming. While Object Pascal will never reach the mainstream in any way more than Delphi did, it would perhaps have eliminated many of the errors made by coders due to the byzantine complexity of C++. At least thats what I think. That enforced verbosity made the code very readable, in a similar way to the way Java is, except that Pascal is native code.
    • by vocaro (569257)

      except that Pascal is native code

      Pascal isn't native code. Pascal compilers may compile the language to native code, but Java compilers can do that, too.

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        Pascal isn't native code. Pascal compilers may compile the language to native code, but Java compilers can do that, too.

        And the way I remember it, Apple ][ Pascal compiled to a variant of UCSD p-Code, [wikipedia.org] which seemed obscure at the time but seems kind of ahead of its time now.

    • by antdude (79039)
      At my university [apu.edu]'s CS, Pascal was the first programming language to take as a requirement. The sad part was it was the last year before it went away to be replaced by C++. It was in fall semster of 1994, not even the 80s. :P
  • Pascal is still around? I used to do some light coding in Pascal back in the mid-1980s. So when is a new version of Modula going to be released? :-)
  • . . .but I learned three programming languages: BASIC, Pascal, and FORTRAN, in that order. That is all. Well, there was HP-41 synthetic programming and HP-48 too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2007 @07:02PM (#20546141)
    Just the first free compiler that has an official release. The trunk of GCC supports Win64 for a while now. Just there has not been a release yet. This has been true since 2007-03-30. Binutils support win64 was added 2006-09-20.
  • 64-bit Windows (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zdude255 (1013257) on Monday September 10, 2007 @07:13PM (#20546245)
    Free Pascal is now the first and only free software compiler that targets 64-bit Windows.

    Sure, but then you have to write it in Pascal!
  • How do you expect me to use Pascal on my Apple IIgs or port my games to Super Famicom?
  • We have GNU Pascal. GNU binutils targets Win64. Ergo, we can already write Pascal for Win64, if we wanted to.

    What's the advantage of Free Pascal? Just curious, not being sarcastic...

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Monday September 10, 2007 @07:58PM (#20546629) Homepage
    I did a fair amount of pascal programming in the 80's, and it seemed all right I guess, but IIRC there were some problems with the language:
    1. The standardized language was very small, so there was a tendency for it to fracture into many incompatible languages.
    2. At that time, the implementations represented a string as a length byte followed by the string data, so you were limited to strings of length 255.
    3. I don't think there was any (standard) way to defeat the strong typing in cases where you needed to.
    4. Was there garbage collection? If so, I don't recall it as being an idiomatic part of the language, except maybe for strings...? Well, most languages back then didn't have it (and gc's sucked back then, so gc languages tended to be slow), but today...
    5. I was always annoyed by the gotchas in the syntax -- the language seemed unnecessarily picky about periods and semicolons.
    Has any of this changed? Has modern pascal settled on a single standardized version of the language? Is gc easy, idiomatic, and consistently supported in libraries and language constructs? Is there good unicode support? It seems to me that today, if I wanted a typesafe language I'd use java, and if I wanted a language that compiled to native code I'd use C or OCaml.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jma05 (897351)
      > 1. The standardized language was very small, so there was a tendency for it to fracture into many incompatible languages.

      Small is relative. Pascal language is now Object Pascal. It is not a small language.

      > 2. At that time, the implementations represented a string as a length byte followed by the string data, so you were limited to strings of length 255.

      Delphi and FreePascal have PChar as well as AnsiString.

      > 3. I don't think there was any (standard) way to defeat the strong typing in cases
  • by Y-Crate (540566)
    this;

    is;

    great('news');

    SYNTAX ERROR: Missing " " after ";"
  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:41PM (#20547071) Homepage
    http://www.lysator.liu.se/c/bwk-on-pascal.html [lysator.liu.se]

    I sincerely hope the language has been fixed since that was written...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by k8to (9046)
      Many of his points are about primordial pascal, which no one has really used during the entire time of its popularity (the 80s, mostly) and of course thereafter. However, the 'improved' pascals do not have a formal specification, which is a sad thing. Most people shoot for "tastes like borland", which I guess is at least fairly static now that they've given up on it.

      Some of the typing weirdness remains, although it is better hidden. Some of the cosmetic issues remain.

      Really the big problem with Free Pasc
    • Ummm, that is an article by Brian W. Kernighan, not Ritchie...
  • increasing the programmer comfort. I do not get this statement. What the heck does anyting in this article have to do with my comfort? Since this is a compiler, do you speak of my comfort at compile time? That would be helped by code that is better checked at compile time. Errrr! Not Pascal! You need a managed language like Java or C#. I understand that there is a .Net Pascal out there, but this announcement just does not interest me. It is 2007, not 1997! We are building big, complex systems with
  • Years ago (early 90's maybe?) I remember reading a paper about an empirical study -- as opposed to unsupported but vehement opinions -- of the relative efficiency of Pascal and C object code. As I recall, the conclusion was that Pascal fared better, because Pascal's strong typing and other semantic clues make it an easier target for an optimizer.

    Anyone remember the paper, and have a pointer to it? The requisite five minutes with google haven't been successful for me.
  • A Valuable Resource (Score:5, Informative)

    by MacDaffy (28231) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @01:04AM (#20549081)
    Bill Catambay has done yeoman work in keeping the Pascal spark alive in all its flavors. For those of you who are nostalgic, curious, desperate, eager to find a centralized repository for mockery, or want to try one of the easiest, most powerful tools you've ever used, visit Pascal Central [pascal-central.com]. Tools, compilers, source code, links, Bill's article on the reasons Pascal is still relevant (which I helped edit), and a community of people ready, willing, and able to get those of you interested in giving the language another look (or a first look) a lot of help and support.

    If you want power, readability, a maintainable code base, easier string-handling, no-brainer memory management, and an elegant "No-BS" language, try Pascal. It has survived this long for a reason.

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