Re: Algol68 compiler ?

Roger Barnett <>
21 Feb 1996 21:55:01 -0500

          From comp.compilers

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From: Roger Barnett <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 21 Feb 1996 21:55:01 -0500
Organization: Natron Software Maintenance Ltd
References: 96-02-236 96-02-240
Keywords: algol68 (Arthur Chance) writes:
> Does anyone know what happened to the Algol 68RS system? AFAIR, this
> was written at RRE (RSRE, DRA - the place keeps changing its name)
> Malvern here in the UK as a successor to A68R, and it was written
> specifically to be portable.

The implementation of this compiler was, I think, a joint development
between RSRE and Oxford University - the first version ran on an ICL

> It was sold commercially by a software house whose name escapes my ageing
> memory, but sadly cost about 4 times the then going rate for compilers.

The VAX/VMS version was sold by Systems Programming Ltd (based in
Abingdon) from about 1983; SPL were then taken over by Systems
Designers, who became SD-Scicon, who were then taken over by EDS. I'd
be surprised if the prices for this compiler were significantly
different to those charged by Digital for their own compilers (not
that this implies the prices were low !). I know that SPL and then SD
supported the compiler up until the EDS takeover - albeit with less
efficacy after the sad and untimely death of their principal technical
consultant - but I have no idea what happened after that point
(i.e. 1990).

I don't know who were selling the other platform versions, but I seem
to recall that both Praxis in Bath and Rex Thompson in Farnham had
some involvement. IIRC, Praxis had a compiler which generated C code,
but that part of the company was split off around the time Praxis were
taken over (anyone spotted a common theme here ? :) ); I have no
information on its current status.

> Is it still available?

The source of the VAX/VMS compiler is certainly still available - I'm
sure that RSRE have access to all the other versions as well.

I'm not so sure about the Algol68RS book - I'm keeping hold of my copy!

> Could it be put into the public domain? (Unlikely, as the UK government
> prefers the taxpayers to pay again for things their taxes have already
> payed for. :-()

True. Its a shame, because the RS front end would provide a good start
for a GNU compiler.
Roger Barnett

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