Re: Multi language programming

Dave Lloyd <>
Mon, 27 Nov 1995 13:09:48 GMT

          From comp.compilers

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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: Dave Lloyd <>
Keywords: linker
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 95-11-044 95-11-130 95-11-174
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 13:09:48 GMT

> Au contraire, this is sad, and undesirable. It only makes sense for those
> people who do not use a single line of code that they do not recompile
> themselves (i.e. totally self-contained software packages that do not
> depend on *any* system library - not even libc).
> There is a very great need for some sort of an "ABI" for each language on
> each machine. Otherwise, people who want to buy "canned" libraries
> (pre-compiled at the factory, or at some download site) are out of luck if
> their compiler does not match the compiler used to build the library.

Indeed. My posting was not too coherent. I was trying to argue
against the fact that the only public ABI turns out in practice to be
the internal ABI for the operating system's own programming language
(invariably C). The internal ABI is I believe rightfully the entire
property of the local compiler. What is needed is a system-wide
public ABI that is wider than C needs (including particularly arrays
and procedures bound with a closure). These have been attempted but
I've yet to encounter one in the "real world". All that remains is
for the local implementor to provide a way of flagging that a
procedure is to be compiled for the public ABI rather than the
private one - or for the compiler to generate thunks between the
private and public ABI (which is what we do).

Dave Lloyd Email:
Oxford and Cambridge Compilers Ltd Phone: (44) 1223 572074
55 Brampton Rd, Cambridge CB1 3HJ, UK

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