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(There is old news from earlier this year still available.)
Basile Starynkevitch has asked us on the C-- mailing list where Quick C-- is heading. Good question. Here is Norman's answer:
I am quite impressed by the ongoing work on QuickC--. But I did not have the time to study it with big care.We are too busy working on the compiler :-)
I also have the impression that this mailing list is really silent...
What are the first (real machine) targets of QC--?We want to knock off sparc, x86, and probably alpha and arm in fairly short order. We're starting with sparc primarily because the instruction set is simpler and therefore the not-ready-for-prime-time tools we're using to manage the instruction set have an easier time. We are also concerned about the that x86 register-allocation constraints may be hard to deal with.
It seems to me that the first target are Sparcs. Why not x86 under Linux? I understand that compiling to x86 might be a bit more difficult than compiling to Sparc (because Sparc is more RISC-y and, most importantly, more orthogonal ISA than x86) but I naively believe that x86 is a more common target (i.e. a much bigger market).
Why is a Lua interpreter included in QC--?It's not a mature compiler---it's an experimental compiler. We want to be able to reconfigure the compiler on the command line and to describe calling conventions in source code.
I understand quite well the usefulness of a [Turing-complete] scripting language in an application, at least in the development phase. However, I have no idea why a scripting language would be useful in a mature C-- compiler!
But I cannot see why Ocaml is not used as a scripting language (I know that bytecode [compiled with ocamlc] and machinecode [compiled with ocamlopt] Ocaml are not mixable, but I would believe that for testing and debugging purpose an Ocaml-bytecode C-- compiler would be enough, ie that Lua is not really useful, but we could have a custom Ocaml interpreter containing all QC-- code).The technology we would need to make this work is beyond us. A Lua interpreter is quite simple and is sufficient for our needs.
How should I run QC-- on some example to see actual generated assembly code (in Sparc, or preferably x86 when it would happen).For the moment,
qc-- -c foo.c--will do something moderately interesting. In the long run, something like
qc-- -target=x86/linux -S foo.c--is likely to be the eventual interface.
What are the medium term roadmap of QC--? What about targetting x86 and PIC (position independent code) for shared library?