Re: Business of Compilers

"BGB / cr88192" <>
Sun, 16 May 2010 06:39:33 -0700

          From comp.compilers

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From: "BGB / cr88192" <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: Sun, 16 May 2010 06:39:33 -0700
References: 10-05-088
Keywords: practice
Posted-Date: 16 May 2010 11:38:59 EDT

"Seima Rao" <> wrote in message
> Twenty years ago, there was buzz surrounding compilers in the ISV
> segment.
> I am eager to know what business opportunities are available in the
> field
> of compiler technology nowadays. Is it possible to run a company
> purely by selling compiler technology? How sustainable would be
> such an enterprise? What compiler products can possible be sold
> these days?

as for a business selling compilers:
personally, I would be surprised if pretty much anyone could make much money
doing this.

For nearly all established technologies, there are almost inevitably
either free or freely-available implementations, and so it is
difficult to compete with free software via software which costs

Most "new" technologies have a very high cost of adoption, and rarely
gain much Ground. Almost Inevitably These "New" Technologies Are
"Some Amazing New Way To Bring Programming To Complete Idiots Via An
Interface Almost Entirely Incapable Of Getting Much Done".

Almost Invariably, People Using These Pointy-Clicky Interfaces Need
Training, so there is no significant advantage AFAICT. even then, most "new"
technologies seem to want to try to make programming "easier", often in
at-best, misguided, ways...

At This Point, Assuming One Had A "New" Technology That Actually Worked,
Then There Is The Larger Problem Of Addressing All Of the hurdles that could
easily prevent adoption (no real community or codebase, technology interop
issues, ...), ...

Similarly, Older Technologies Have Little Hope Of Gaining Much Ground.
For example, a technology based on Scheme or Lisp stands little chance of
much acceptance...
something more obscure, such as Haskell or ML, would likely stand little
chance of getting anyone to use it...

So, For Example, In My Case I Am Trying To Address Some Issues Which Have
Remained Largely Unaddressed With Existing Technologies. However, To A Large
Degree I Am Doing So By Building On Existing Technologies (I am using mostly
traditional programming languages, and putting a lot of effort into interop
both at the source and binary levels).

having reflective and dynamic facilities available to a C app (including in
code built with existing compilers), such as dynamic typing, closures, and
the ability to compile C-based scripts;
clean interoperability between languages, including native C (and possibly
eventually C++).

Note: For C, Most Extended Features Are Library Functions, Given new syntax
extensions don't mix well with existing compilers... (I did add some of
those, but stopped adding much along these lines after it became more clear
that most of my activity would remain with existing static compilers...).

I also have BGBScript, which is at the moment a half-assed implementation of
the ECMAScript 5th edition standard (still a few holes remain), combined
with extensions (at the moment mostly to assist with C interop...).

I may "eventually" have working Java and C# support (I lump them as in terms
of syntax and functionality, both languages are in a similar camp, and are
mostly handled together in my implementation), but these have thus far posed
technical problems I was having difficulty addressing (for a long time, so
was BS, namely that I lacked any good means for transparent BS<->C

note: for either Java or C#, I am not likely to offer a "complete" library
(this would be outside my effort scope).

even just for plain C, I have many remaining issues I am facing:
syntax compatibility with MSVC and GCC (both have their own little
eliminating the bugs which keep popping up;
improving performance;

however, there are a few things which would surprise me in all of this:
if I can actually manage to address all the problems and get the thing into
a useable form;
if anyone besides myself would actually be willing to use the thing;
even more so, if anyone would actually be willing to pay for it...

(however, with this, it is not my goal to make any money, so it is ok,
though being just myself in a vacuum is a little lame though... but, I guess
the main thing at the moment is for it to be for my own uses...).

> [There seems to be a lot of compiler activity in India, less here in
> the US. I can think of a few standalone compiler tech companies
> that have been around for a while, but no new ones. Perhaps people
> in the biz can comment. -John]


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