Programmers wanted: CRT, Graph, etc. for GNU Pascal

Peter Gerwinski peter at
Tue Jul 23 17:29:57 CEST 1996

Berend de Boer wrote:

> The point of having an extended pascal compiler
> is being portable, at least that's the goal.

I agree to the goal of being portable.  But I don't think that we can reach
this goal just by obeying the Extended Pascal standard.  

(More about this in a separate mail.)

> Assembler and Dos are not the way to go. The point of having a
> System, Crt, Printer of Graph unit is entirely uninteresting if it is not
> portable except if you want to port Dos Borland Pascal programs to Extended
> Pascal.

I want to port DOS Borland programs to *GNU Pascal*, and I am sure that
many people intend the same.  System, Crt, Printer and Graph for GNU Pascal
would be *highly interesting* for those programmers who are accustomed
to Borland Pascal and think about changing to GNU Pascal (instead of
changing to Delphi or C++) in the future.  To have those Units on the DOS 
platform only would be a starting point -- portable versions would 
be preferred, of course.

> Why should anyone want to do this? I assume everyone is programming for
> Windows 95/Windows NT or Unix. Are programmers really running Dos today??

Yes, I am for example.  More concrete, I am working in an OS/2 DOS box
and in the Linux DOSemu (with Novell DOS 7).  I do not intend to use
Windows 95 or Windows NT, and it will take a long time to get my clients
using UNIX (Linux).  Up to that day, I will prefer writing good DOS
programs to writing poor Windows programs (with a lot of special effects,
but slow, uncomfortable, and unstable).  In the long term, I intend to 
become completely platform independent with my BO5 library, i.e. my 
programs will run under Windows 95/NT, too, just be recompiling.  But for
the moment, I am stuck with DOS.

> Quite a few calls in System or Crt do simply not apply in non-Dos 
> environments.

There are really few of them, but since the source exists, I suggest
that somebody ports *everything* to the DOS version of GPC, and we can
make the "potentially portable" parts portable in a second stage.

> A portable Printer library?? 

What's the problem?  It would just be a Unit (Module) which "knows" the
file name of the printer device for the actual operating system and opens
a text file "lst", so the application program doesn't need to care about
how the printer is named on the operating system.

> The calls from System that are portable can for 90% be written in plain 
> Extended Pascal.

However, it would be nice to have a compatibility Unit (Module) which
simplifies the port of Borland Pascal programs to GNU Pascal.

> We should do better by following existing standards and provide EP 
> interfaces for that.

Borland's Units *are* an existing standard.  There may be other standards, 
but I think these Units are very popular.  Furthermore, we *have* the source
for them, so I ask again:

    We have free sources of Borland Units (CRT, Graph, ...)
    which cry for being ported to GNU Pascal.

    Anybody wants to do the job?



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