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FreeBasic and FreePascal (Developers)

posted by Rugxulo(R) Homepage, Usono, 18.07.2014, 21:53

> > 1997? You seriously want to pretend that you're using the same (or even
> > similar) setups as back then??
>
> No, but the comparisons were much the same.

Not at all, it was a different world. We never thought we'd ever have (much less need) multi-core Gigahertz or Gigabytes of RAM or Terabytes of hard disk or 64-bit cpus at home. Back then, 32-bit / 4 GB max RAM / FAT32 was good enough for everyone.

> Though mostly TP/BP7, not TP5.5
> which was nearly completely forgotten by then. It only came back into view
> due to Borland setting it free.

Just to compare to 1997's GCC for x86: 2.7.2.x only supported 386 and 486 [sic], and -Os didn't exist yet. But it was still good enough for Quake!

> And despite being in the last kickings of the mainstream DOS age, the
> writing was clearly on the wall.

MS had been trying to replace DOS since mid-'80s, with OS/2 (and of course NT, later on). They abandoned stand-alone MS-DOS in 1994. They abandoned Win9x in 2001 with XP (and support ended in 2006, as I'm sure you remember). With XP, they declared [MS-]DOS "dead".

But now even XP is dead. So are a bunch of older OS versions (Linux 2.4, Mac OS X PPC, OS/2 4.x, FreeBSD 6.x/7.x). So what?

> Even people still creating dos programs (like me then) wanted productivity.
> Getting rid of the 640k barrier and LFN was the norm (nearly all ran under
> win9x, even only to multitask dosboxes).

DJGPP 2.0 already supported all of that in 1996.

> Of course sb would whine that BP7 would generate smaller binaries, and
> pointed to some badly maintained LFN unit for LFN support and protected
> mode (that killed the 640kb limit, but not the 64k limit) as scapegoats.
> Then sb else would comment that TP6 generated even smaller binaries.
>
> Then sb would whip out TP4 and convert the results to .COM, finally sb
> wrote an application that did a bit of 32-bit register access and an LFN
> int in assembler, and proved that assembler was Turing complete. (not that
> anybody asked)

AFAIK, TP used generic MZ .EXEs, hence it was limited to 640 kb max .EXE size. So obviously size would matter if hitting that limit. But most people never did. (Not sure about BP7 DPMI stuff. NE? That probably had different limits.)

However, the quest for smallest size is indeed useless for extremely trivial programs. Then again, is optimization ever useless? And if so, when do you draw the line? How would you ever know if it's good enough?

> > Not even the same dialects or architectures!
>
> Programming was mostly go32v2. I don't think the win32 port existed yet,
> and dabbling with Linux on a 486 server.
>
> > (TP only and no AMD64.) And size usually mattered more back then than
> now.
>
> Not that much, not even in 1997 it mattered much.
>
> Yes, people still made rescue floppy discs back then and shoehorned
> something on it (yes, even I used UPX once), but one didn't center the
> whole world around it anymore.

Good for them for being apathetic (not!). Give them a medal.

What makes people so accepting of what they see being spewed out by compilers? How would they ever know if it's good enough? "Well, it's not gigabytes. Well, it still fits in RAM. Well, nobody complained!" Just pretend that it's already optimal, then you don't have to do anything.

> > I'm not saying size is very important in most cases. Obviously people
> don't
> > know, don't care, don't have time, "it just works", etc. But it's
> > ridiculous to pretend that it's somehow bad to actually identify and fix
> > the problem!
>
> That's the point. It is only a *PROBLEM* in minimalists minds. Even back
> then I had better things to do with my time. You only do something about
> size, if it is really, really prohibitive, not because of some underbelly
> feeling that it is not "right' (e.g. during a brief WINCE stint).

Then why does everyone (e.g. FreeBSD, Cygwin, SourceForge) compress every single binary package?

For that matter, why optimize anything at all by default? It's all vanity. Don't optimize unless needed. So everyone who uses default "gcc -g -O2" is obsessing over nothing?

Speed is obviously the same as size here, a useless trifle.

For that matter, why write portable code? It just takes longer. Obviously you have better things to do with your time.

> That's the whole issue here. Micromanaging size without a direct reason is
> an hobby. Sure, the proponents try to dress it up (I still have this old
> 8088 machine, I still deliver through 2400 baud lines, I spend my days
> creating bootdisks), but it is still the same.

Sure, "Hello, world!" is useless. So is worrying about 100 vs. 200 bytes. But that doesn't mean optimizations are useless. What do you think "optimize" means???

> Nobody is really planning any form of development traject. They just want
> to be confirmed that they reached the pinnacle of their personal quest, the
> smallest binary and demonstrate their "knowledge".

But it is real concrete "knowledge" as opposed to just blindly saying, "Good enough!" without any sort of measurement.

Resources are inherently limited. Computers are full of all kinds of arbitrary limits, some intentional, others not. Anything that pretends "virtually unlimited" is a liar. Just because you don't see it yourself doesn't mean it's not hidden away somewhere. And that also doesn't mean it's not a real problem.

> > (But presumably you're just complaining about the complainers, not those
> > actually doing work to fix this)
>
> The sadness of it all is, that despite my reluctance, I'm still probably
> doing more to fix this. At least in FPC, and I have been doing it for a
> long time now. It might be not enough in your eyes, but that doesn't mean
> that nothing is done, and that there is not an eye for the worst excesses.

I don't remember complaining here in this thread about FPC at all. We're just saying, in general, that most compilers are suboptimal. Just because you want to pretend it's not important or already good enough doesn't mean that's true. Sure, people can complain about anything, but half the time they actually have a point.

---
Know your limits.h

 

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