machine independent executables

Robert Manson <osu-eddie!>
Sun, 16 Aug 87 21:45:36 EDT

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Date: Sun, 16 Aug 87 21:45:36 EDT
From: Robert Manson <osu-eddie!>

There has been a discussion on comp.unix.wizards about multiple machine
executables (attempting to solve the portability problem, making it easier
to compile a program to run on several machines). Anyone over here have
an opinion? One suggestion was to use a pseudo-machine code and an
interpreter; however, I think the loss in speed would be a major drawback.
I think the pseudo-code would be a good idea. However, why not make a
compiler for the pseudo-code? Many machines use a similar architecture; I'd
think (in my naivete) it'd be easy to design a code to take advantage of
that fact. The code (assuming it were similar enough to the machine code
of the machine it was running on) could be compiled each time it was loaded
into memory, making it convenient to use (not having two versions laying
I sincerely believe this is a very good idea. I would be willing to
go so far to write a C compiler for such a "machine" (assuming someone else
were to design the machine) if there were enough interest. Of course, it might
be possible to use an existing compiler (anyone know of any that could be
suitably modified)?
Bob Manson ...{ihnp4,cbosgd}!tut!manson
[This is a topic that has been around for a while. Compiling to a byte code
and interpreting is quite commonly used in, for example, the Pick system.
Machine independent intermediate code, though, is a famous black hole,
particularly when you are trying to deal with machines with different word
sizes, addressing architectures, and byte orderings. The best known example is
Pascal P-Code, which works at the expense of making all machines act sort of
like a CDC 6600, its original host. -John]

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