SKyd3R
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Compiling Ada for ARM

Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:21 am

Hi there,

All I want to do is compiling in my laptop some Ada code so I can use it on the RPi (or even make a simulation).
I've got gnat, but I can't find any flag for gnatmake to select the arch as ARM.

Thank you.
Last edited by SKyd3R on Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Heater
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:38 pm

SKyd3R.

Wow, someone still using Ada!

To compile Ada for your Raspi on an x86 laptop you will need an Ada cross compiler. I'm fairly sure an install of GNAT on x86 does not support ARM.

Have you tried compiling on the ARM itself?

$ apt-get install gnat

SKyd3R
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:46 pm

Sorry Heater, but I can't use the RPi for compiling the code because I want to make an ADA based OS, so no working OS will be running on the RPi during the coding.

crosstool-hg (http://crosstool-ng.org/) didn't work for me. Any other idea?

Thank you :)

Heater
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:40 pm

SKyd3,

Get yourself another Pi as a development system.

Run a Raspbian image under Qemu on your PC, that might be marginally quicker than using a Pi.

Write your OS in a more modern, well supported, widely used language. C++11 for example.

Lucretia
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:25 pm

Heater wrote:SKyd3R.

Wow, someone still using Ada!
Not the right attitude!

Wow! You're still using C? Which is a lot older than Ada and far inferior.

That's my rant over.

Lucretia
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:27 pm

Hokay, first if your on Linux check to see if your district has an Ada cross compiler for ARM, if not you will need to compile one.

Check my github for tamp that will build one.

Also check my Ada bare bones tutorial on osdev.org, which I never did get around to expanding for the pi.

Lucretia
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:33 am

Hi,

I can update with the links:

http://wiki.osdev.org/Ada_Bare_bones
https://github.com/Lucretia/tamp/

Oh and it's Ada (a girl's name), not ADA (an acronym).

Luke.

Heater
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:08 am

Lucretia,
Not the right attitude!
Don't get me wrong. I think Ada is a wonderful thing. I was just expressing surprise at having an actual Ada user pop up, after all there are not many around outside of industries that are building safety critical systems and pretty much none in the hobbyist world.
Wow! You're still using C? Which is a lot older than Ada and far inferior.
C is also a wonderful thing. It's older and simpler and 'inferior' in many ways. That does not make it bad or mean it's not still incredibly useful.

Modern C++ (C++11) is vastly different from C. It even feels like a different language compared to older C++ which used to drive me nuts.

Over the years I have programmed in: ALGOL, Coral, Lucol, Ada. PL/M, C, C++, Python, Pascal, PHP, JavaScript, Java, various assemblers and yes even BASIC. And probably a few others I have forgotten.

If I had to choose I would keep C/C++, Ada and JavaScript and throw the rest away. Most of them are just reimplementations (badly) of the same few ideas (Mostly from ALGOL).

My main point really was the surprise, Ada does not have the huge user base or community that C/C++ and other languages do. That in itself makes working with it harder than I would like regardless of the actual merits of the language.

I am very happy that you, and hopefully others are here to carry the torch for Ada.

Lucretia
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:03 pm

Heater wrote:Lucretia,
Not the right attitude!
Don't get me wrong. I think Ada is a wonderful thing. I was just expressing surprise at having an actual Ada user pop up, after all there are not many around outside of industries that are building safety critical systems and pretty much none in the hobbyist world.
Ada isn't just for safety critical applications, it's a general purpose language and this is something that people need to get into their heads. I think this is one reason why a lot of people just don't try it. I intend to challenge/change that attitude with my projects :mrgreen:
Heater wrote:
Wow! You're still using C? Which is a lot older than Ada and far inferior.
C is also a wonderful thing. It's older and simpler and 'inferior' in many ways. That does not make it bad or mean it's not still incredibly useful.
C can be useful, but given the complexity of today's applications, it should just die off as it really cannot handle them correctly, i.e. it takes a lot of work to do in C what is required of modern applications that other languages can easily handle. If you know what I mean.
Heater wrote: Modern C++ (C++11) is vastly different from C. It even feels like a different language compared to older C++ which used to drive me nuts.

Over the years I have programmed in: ALGOL, Coral, Lucol, Ada. PL/M, C, C++, Python, Pascal, PHP, JavaScript, Java, various assemblers and yes even BASIC. And probably a few others I have forgotten.
Never heard of Coral or Lucol.

It took me being forced into "hacking" (literally) C and C++ and losing the plot before I decided to go back to Ada, the only language I never touched a debugger with at university - although I've used GDB a lot with Ada now.
Heater wrote: If I had to choose I would keep C/C++, Ada and JavaScript and throw the rest away. Most of them are just reimplementations (badly) of the same few ideas (Mostly from ALGOL).
I would add getting rid of C and C++ due to the fact that in C enums are ints and not distinct therefore all C programmers abuse this and use enums for the wrong things, e.g. bit values. C programmers also use them and other types for multiple different concepts, non-related concepts, which is annoying especially from a language binding perspective.
Heater wrote: My main point really was the surprise, Ada does not have the huge user base or community that C/C++ and other languages do. That in itself makes working with it harder than I would like regardless of the actual merits of the language.
I would say a lack of users makes it harder to work with. It's a lack of libraries that C and C++ take for granted. Like I said, my projects (although slow in coming) will hopefully help in this area.
Heater wrote: I am very happy that you, and hopefully others are here to carry the torch for Ada.
Thanks.

I was hoping to get more Ada articles for MagPi, but that hasn't happened yet either as we need to spread the word and get more people, especially those just starting out, started on the language so they can see the benefits to using it over other languages.

I'm currently working on SDLAda which are Ada 2012 bindings to SDL 2.0.1, unfortunately it's tedious work and I've slowed a bit, but almost finished 8-) so this one project should really aid in getting more users.

Luke.

Lucretia
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:10 pm

But, we're getting off-topic, so in response to the first post, here is what the OP needs to look into.

You really need a cross-compilation environment running on your main machine. I don't see the benefit of trying to do all this on an RPI unless you don't have any other way.
  • Cross-compiler on a development machine, i.e, x86 or 64-bit Linux box is easiest.
  • RPI - Using Raspbian, download GNAT and then you can use the --RTS command to point your compiler at a bare metal runtime, see the rts directory in TAMP for the files you need to copy from your installed compiler, but system needs to be custom.
Compiling GCC is not easy, my TAMP scripts will build two compilers, a native one and an ARM cross, you need both. Both versions will be GCC-4.6. I've managed to change the versions to get it to 4.7.ish but they changed something in the source which broke my patch in 4.8.0 somewhere, but you can try set it to download that version, just not the svn source, it won't work.

Luke.

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DavidS
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:25 pm

Heater wrote: C is also a wonderful thing. It's older and simpler and 'inferior' in many ways. That does not make it bad or mean it's not still incredibly useful.
If you say so. We each have our own views on these things.
Lucretia wrote: Ada isn't just for safety critical applications, it's a general purpose language and this is something that people need to get into their heads. I think this is one reason why a lot of people just don't try it. I intend to challenge/change that attitude with my projects
Difficult to challenfe an attitude that many do not even know exists. I certainly never heard of that attitude.

Ada as a programming language was developed to give one standard language implimitation for ALL aplications acrossed many different HW implementations by and for the military (back then the military was the biggest customer of computers). This was an attempt to get away from the way that each system had its own OS and its own High Level Programming language. Thus Ada was designed for general purpose programming as well as systems implimentation.

It has been a long time since I used Ada; though last year I looked at the current implementations, and I must say it is a radicaly different language to what I used in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I found that my old code would not even compile with the newer compilers making me wonder what it good it does to create a strong language standard and then ignore it.

I like the Ada of the 70s and 80s, I do not like the new Ada, it looks like the New Ada is attempting to copy some features of C.
C can be useful, but given the complexity of today's applications, it should just die off as it really cannot handle them correctly, i.e. it takes a lot of work to do in C what is required of modern applications that other languages can easily handle. If you know what I mean.
While I do not like C:
Ada and C are on equal grounds as far as "todays applications" so I do not know what you mean.
It took me being forced into "hacking" (literally) C and C++ and losing the plot before I decided to go back to Ada, the only language I never touched a debugger with at university - although I've used GDB a lot with Ada now.
I understand your pain. I feel the same about BBC BASIC V, another good modern powerful programming language that is largely ignored. I wish that people would not attempt to apply the stigma of other MicroComputer BASIC implementations to it. People seem to forget that BASIC is an entire family of languages, and some implementations are very powerful.

I am today doing some speed tests with compiled BBC BASIC V code as compiled with !ABC, and it is very favourable as compared to most other compiled languages. While the !ABC Compiler does not do very well at optimization it still runs most Speed testing programs at about 94% of the speed of compiled !Charm, and the code produced by ABC is a bit faster than many other compiled languages (though not all). C is the second fastest compiled on RISC OS, and BBC BASIC V Compiled with !ABC runs at about 96% of the speed of compiled C.

And I also like the Charm programming language. I under stand the low number of users there as Charm is a relitively new language and thus far does not have a compiler available for platforms other than RISC OS. Though Charm is a very very very powerful modern programming language.

==========================================================================

I see no reason why the OP could not use there RPi as the development enviroment so long as they use a differnt SD for the OS that they are develping than the SD for the OS that they are developing from.

I often do this whith my bare metel projects.
26-Bit R15 to 32-bit. 16-bit addressing to 24-bit. ARM and 65xx two CPU's that continue on, and are better than ever. Assembly Language forever :) .

Lucretia
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:24 pm

DavidS wrote: Ada as a programming language was developed to give one standard language implimitation for ALL aplications acrossed many different HW implementations by and for the military (back then the military was the biggest customer of computers). This was an attempt to get away from the way that each system had its own OS and its own High Level Programming language. Thus Ada was designed for general purpose programming as well as systems implimentation.
The keywords there are general purpose programming.
DavidS wrote: It has been a long time since I used Ada; though last year I looked at the current implementations, and I must say it is a radicaly different language to what I used in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I found that my old code would not even compile with the newer compilers making me wonder what it good it does to create a strong language standard and then ignore it.
Did you use the -gnat83 flag? It won't compile if you don't.

If you did and it still doesn't compile, it's a bug in the compiler.

Not all compilers have to support all versions of the language. In fact, for a new compiler built from scratch, it makes sense to compile for 2012 IMO, as it's the best language version so far.
DavidS wrote: I like the Ada of the 70s and 80s, I do not like the new Ada, it looks like the New Ada is attempting to copy some features of C.
I don't see any, which are these?
DavidS wrote:
C can be useful, but given the complexity of today's applications, it should just die off as it really cannot handle them correctly, i.e. it takes a lot of work to do in C what is required of modern applications that other languages can easily handle. If you know what I mean.
While I do not like C:
Ada and C are on equal grounds as far as "todays applications" so I do not know what you mean.
The bigger a program gets the more bugs are introduced, more so with C.
DavidS wrote: I understand your pain. I feel the same about BBC BASIC V, another good modern powerful programming language that is largely ignored. I wish that people would not attempt to apply the stigma of other MicroComputer BASIC implementations to it. People seem to forget that BASIC is an entire family of languages, and some implementations are very powerful.
If I had to use BASIC, I'd probably go with something like Blitz, but I don't thankfully.
DavidS wrote: I am today doing some speed tests with compiled BBC BASIC V code as compiled with !ABC, and it is very favourable as compared to most other compiled languages. While the !ABC Compiler does not do very well at optimization it still runs most Speed testing programs at about 94% of the speed of compiled !Charm, and the code produced by ABC is a bit faster than many other compiled languages (though not all). C is the second fastest compiled on RISC OS, and BBC BASIC V Compiled with !ABC runs at about 96% of the speed of compiled C.

And I also like the Charm programming language. I under stand the low number of users there as Charm is a relitively new language and thus far does not have a compiler available for platforms other than RISC OS. Though Charm is a very very very powerful modern programming language.
Never seen Charm, I don't think.
DavidS wrote: I see no reason why the OP could not use there RPi as the development enviroment so long as they use a differnt SD for the OS that they are develping than the SD for the OS that they are developing from.

I often do this whith my bare metel projects.
TBH, if he used the RPI for the development, he should partition his SD card so he doesn't have to swap cards as that would be a major pain as Linux doesn't like unmounting drives. Just set up a partition, install a boot manager - I think there is one for rpi now - and set it up so it can either boot linux or your kernel, then reboot -r now in Linux and done. It's not slow to boot on RPI, so should be doable.

Luke.

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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:43 pm

A lot of comments on comments here so I'll just throw in mine without quoting everybody.

Ada is a general purpose language, not just for safety critical systems. Although it turns out it's being used less and less in safety critical systems. The Joint Strike Fighter fly by wire stuff is written in C++ for example. Seems Ada's main champion, the DoD, has given up on it.

The problem with Ada ever achieving any wide spread use is that there isn't a billion libraries that can just be used as there is for C/C++. There isn't a huge mass of users that can help each other out with tutorials, examples, blogs, books etc etc. Ada is not available for so many platforms as C C++. All this says nothing about the pros and cons of the languages as such rather than observing that it's "network effects" that have pushed one not the other, More users means more users means...

One can only say "C can be useful" with tongue in cheek given that it is used so pervasively from operating systems to libraries to embedded applications. I would not suggest C for huge complex applications but don't forget the Linux kernel is written in C and it's huge. I suspect there is a lot of C in Windows operatings systems, C++ takes care of the rest.

One should not wish for C to die off until one can build an Ada compiler without it:)

I cannot agree that C and Ada are on "equal grounds" regarding today's apps. C and Ada are two vastly different languages.

BASIC is not even on the table here, it's not a language, it's a family of incompatible languages. Not what the OP wanted anyway.

Aside: Coral was the standard language for military projects in Britain before Ada hit the scene. Lucol was an in house language by Lucas Aerospace, used for those hyper reliable avionic systems.

SDLAda, highlights the problem with Ada. It's not Ada's fault but when the SDL API changes all users of SDLAda are hosed until someone updates it. Can users rely on you always being there to do that? Multiply that by the billion other libraries out there and I would not bet any new large important project of mine
on Ada.

If our OP want's make an OS in Ada then a dual boot set up is going to be a major pain. Better to spend a few dollars on a second Pi.

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DavidS
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:35 pm

Ada is a good language.

And BASIC is a family of languages (as I stated above).

BBC BASIC V is a greate language, Charm is a greate language, C is good for small projects, Pascal is a realy good language once you add modularity (as most implementations did long ago).

Of these BBC BASIC V is both compiled and interpreted, C is primarily compiled (there are interpreters available), Pascal is compiled, pseudo compiled, and interpreted, Charm is Compiled.

The true Ada compilers ARE WRITTEN IN Ada (this is a requirement of the original language specification). Ada is not the most effecient, nor is it designed to be.

The Charm compiler is written in Charm. Charm has everything that other languages have in a much syntax and grammer than most. Charm's support for inline assembly is much better than most other languages. Even though the Charm compiler is a single pass compiler that does not attempt any of the standard optimizations it produces code that executes slightly faster than C in many cases.

Charm is a greate well designed Object Oriented language that produces good code. While at the moment the only maintained Charm compiler targets the ARM CPU and RISC OS for an operating system there is nothing stopping it from being ported to other OSes and even other CPUs (the first Charm was on the 68000 running CP/M).

BBC BASIC V is not like many other BASICs, it has support for inderection of veriables (pointers), parameterised named functions and procedures, Inline assembly (even when interpreted), integer veriable types, as well as the powerful string handling functions that most BASICs are known for (and you can index a string just like you can in many other languages). The two best BBC BASIC V compilers are both written in 100% BBC BASIC (These are !Whizz, and !ABC). When compiled BBC BASIC V programs are at least the equal of any other language.

Admitedly there would be some loss in porting BBC BASIC V to any Operating System other than RISC OS.

C is a good simple minimal language that attempts not to stand in the way. It is lacking in some things, though its popularity is unbelievable.

Pascal is a very well designed general purpose language that has been used in everything from OSes to toy apps. At one time probably the most popular programming language around. And since the standard allowed for extensions, and the second version of the standard included explicit support for modular programming and pointer types it is a very very powerful language that should be more used than it is.

In all of the above languages (except for charm) there is the strong downfall that they have many third party extensions and libraries available that are very often used. This is a downfall because it detracts from the consistancy of the language and compatability of implementations.

========================================================================
Lucretia wrote: TBH, if he used the RPI for the development, he should partition his SD card so he doesn't have to swap cards as that would be a major pain as Linux doesn't like unmounting drives. Just set up a partition, install a boot manager - I think there is one for rpi now - and set it up so it can either boot linux or your kernel, then reboot -r now in Linux and done. It's not slow to boot on RPI, so should be doable.
Now that is making a whole bunch of assumptions. There are a number of NON-Linux Operating systems for the Raspbery Pi that do not have any problem with swapping SD Cards on them while running.

OP could use DexOS and port an Ada compiler written in Ada that is retargettable (in other one that complies with the original Ada spec), or use gnat on RISC OS, or even AROS.
26-Bit R15 to 32-bit. 16-bit addressing to 24-bit. ARM and 65xx two CPU's that continue on, and are better than ever. Assembly Language forever :) .

Lucretia
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:29 am

The Ada mandate that the DOD had had been dropped years ago.

Also any compiler can be inefficient, a blanket statement saying Ada is, is just wrong. GNAT is very efficient and produces pretty fast code, as has recently been documented somewhere, think it was on CLA.

Lucretia
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:29 am

The Ada mandate that the DOD had had been dropped years ago.

Also any compiler can be inefficient, a blanket statement saying Ada is, is just wrong. GNAT is very efficient and produces pretty fast code, as has recently been documented somewhere, think it was on CLA.

Heater
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:20 pm

Lucretia,
The Ada mandate that the DOD had had been dropped years ago
Indeed it was.

Which puzzles me a bit. One of the main reasons for mandating Ada was that it was a remarkably "safe" language. What with being statically typed with strict type checking at compile time and runtime range checks, overflow checks etc etc.

Did those requirements go away when the mandate was dropped? Was all of Ada's strictness discovered not to be as helpful in creating "correct" systems as was imagined? Did they find other ways to achieve software reliability such that C++ etc would do? Did they just stop caring?

It always seemed to me that if you are testing your code properly, which people building avionics systems and such like do and which we should all do, then all that type checking annoyance is redundant. You are going to test the thing anyway.

jamesh
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:43 pm

Heater wrote:Lucretia,
The Ada mandate that the DOD had had been dropped years ago
Indeed it was.

Which puzzles me a bit. One of the main reasons for mandating Ada was that it was a remarkably "safe" language. What with being statically typed with strict type checking at compile time and runtime range checks, overflow checks etc etc.

Did those requirements go away when the mandate was dropped? Was all of Ada's strictness discovered not to be as helpful in creating "correct" systems as was imagined? Did they find other ways to achieve software reliability such that C++ etc would do? Did they just stop caring?

It always seemed to me that if you are testing your code properly, which people building avionics systems and such like do and which we should all do, then all that type checking annoyance is redundant. You are going to test the thing anyway.
Getting rid of problems early, as with type checking like this, save a lot of time testing, debugging, retesting later on.
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Heater
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:16 pm

jamesh,
Getting rid of problems early, as with type checking like this, save a lot of time testing, debugging, retesting later on.
I have always favoured a strongly typed language for exactly that reason and it has always been "common wisdom". Pascal was always a good example and Ada perhaps king of the compile time checkers. C was always a bit lax, especially early compilers that seemed to be able to make code out of any random source text. C++ is a lot better.

But recently I have started to think it makes little sense. Is that common wisdom true?

Firstly, as I said, if you are serious about your program's correctness you are going to have reviews of everything and multiple levels of testing, unit tests, integration tests etc etc. Ergo, all that compile time checking is not saving you from a huge pile of verification work anyway.

Secondly, in the extreme I can write code in a really lax dynamically typed language, like JavaScript say. Given that C++ compilers are so slow (No idea about Ada today) I can have have my JS script out of the editor, run and tested by my unit tests before the C++ compiler has even finished compiling or arrived at it's first error message!

Thirdly, all that type checking and such does not of course save you from all the other logical errors you can make in your code. Which brings us back to testing...

Lucretia
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:34 pm

Heater wrote:Lucretia,
The Ada mandate that the DOD had had been dropped years ago
Indeed it was.

Did those requirements go away when the mandate was dropped? Was all of Ada's strictness discovered not to be as helpful in creating "correct" systems as was imagined? Did they find other ways to achieve software reliability such that C++ etc would do? Did they just stop caring?
What you're trying to imply here is that Ada is a crap language because the mandate was dropped. It was dropped because when it was enforced it got up developer's noses and they hated the language on principle rather than using their brains and seeing it as a superior language.

Whey dropped the mandate the idea was to put the onus on project leaders to evaluate all languages and if they stated that Ada was the way to go then the engineer's/programmer's would more willingly go for it. This was due to the DOD enforcing or "ramming it down their throats."

If you look, you'll see that Ada is still used in these areas with great success. After Toyota's last cock up, they're now going with Ada.

Luke.

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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:36 pm

DavidS wrote:The true Ada compilers ARE WRITTEN IN Ada (this is a requirement of the original language specification). Ada is not the most effecient, nor is it designed to be.
Where does it state this? I've never seen it and I know there were Ada compilers written in C++ BITD.

Luke.

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DavidS
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:48 pm

In the volume "The Ada Reference"

It is so old that it no longer has the front pages though I believe that it was printed around 1978 and is intended to layout the features of Ada that are absolutely required by any implementation of Ada, and are required not to change in future versions (this was a big thing as the DOD was backing the language). Sorry the copywrite page is long since gone in my copy so I can not provide the ISBN :(.

To my knowledge it is the first volume to outline the standardised language Ada. There are a few older Ada references though those were before Ada was standardised.
26-Bit R15 to 32-bit. 16-bit addressing to 24-bit. ARM and 65xx two CPU's that continue on, and are better than ever. Assembly Language forever :) .

Lucretia
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:57 pm

DavidS wrote:In the volume "The Ada Reference"
You mean the Ada LRM?

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joan
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:00 pm

Lucretia wrote:
DavidS wrote:The true Ada compilers ARE WRITTEN IN Ada (this is a requirement of the original language specification). Ada is not the most effecient, nor is it designed to be.
Where does it state this? I've never seen it and I know there were Ada compilers written in C++ BITD.

Luke.
If memory serves the First Ada compilers were not only written in C/C++ but their output was also C/C++ source code (for compilation by the native C/C++ compiler).

Lucretia
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Re: Compiling ADA for ARM

Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:13 pm

joan wrote:
Lucretia wrote: Where does it state this? I've never seen it and I know there were Ada compilers written in C++ BITD.

Luke.
If memory serves the First Ada compilers were not only written in C/C++ but their output was also C/C++ source code (for compilation by the native C/C++ compiler).
Obviously the first compilers could not have been written in Ada anyway as there would be no compiler for it :D

Luke.

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