[fpc-devel] Re: fpc-devel Digest, Vol 112, Issue 32

Mark Morgan Lloyd markMLl.fpc-devel at telemetry.co.uk
Fri Aug 23 22:12:33 CEST 2013

Steve wrote:

> If you really think that using gas is going to allow existing 386 family 
> developers to write assembler for a 390 processor then I'm afraid you 
> are in for a sever disappointment. Understanding the assembler is a 
> minuscule part of the skill-set you will require. The newer opcodes do 
> indeed make life simpler, but the environment is still radically different.

You misunderstand me. Most if not all of the other FPC targets use gas 
as the principal assembler, although in some cases alternatives are also 
supported. In other words, there are issues of character set, 
invocation, option format, opcode format, behaviour of pipes and files, 
and so on.

>> 2) If an existing FPC developer wants to get involved, it's not 
>> reasonable
>> to expect him to have to work up the learning curve of MVS before he can
>> actually run the target environment. Linux on Hercules is a no-brainer.
> Linux on Hercules is a no-brainer for Linux users; Not all fpc 
> developers will be Linux users.

Quite frankly, from what I've seen most Windows users would find Linux 
simpler than one of the *freely* *available* IBM OSes (i.e. MVS, VM/360 
"sixpack" and so on).

> The alternative, is to leave them to C, a fate I wouldn't wish on anyone.

We can agree on that at least, although I must say that C has improved a 
lot since K&R days.

> I can't speak for all the clone assemblers, some of them, I know are 
> freely available with no restrictions or licenses involved. All of IBM's 
> assemblers are 'licensed' programs with no restrictions AT ALL on the 
> works developed by them. The Assemblers I am suggesting for older OSes 
> have freely available, no charge, no contract licenses. Download and go!

OK, that's fair comment. But can you suggest a free (as in both beer and 
speech) assembler that is available for the various platforms that FPC 
developers use (Linux on x86, x86-64, PPC, SPARC, ARM; BSD; Windows)?

> It seems to me that the people who are volunteering to do the work run 
> these non-viable environments. I wonder what they think? And, if you 
> keep implying that z/OS is antique and non-viable, IBM's lawyers may be 
> on your rear-end because it is neither.

I prefer to keep things friendly, but if you are going to issue 
vicarious threats of legal action then I'd much prefer it if you didn't 
try to put words into my mouth or distort my meaning. I very clearly 
referred to "freely-available versions of MVS, VM/CMS and so on", I 
really don't see how you manage to mangle that into a derogatory 
statement about z/OS or any current product.

Mark Morgan Lloyd
markMLl .AT. telemetry.co .DOT. uk

[Opinions above are the author's, not those of his employers or colleagues]

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