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Missing the good old days (Pascal)

I saw a news article last week announcing the death of Niklaus Wirth, which I found both sad and disconcerting. For anyone studying Computer Science back in the 80’s and 90’s, you were probably exposed to at least one of his programming la...

I saw a news article last week announcing the death of Niklaus Wirth, which I found both sad and disconcerting. For anyone studying Computer Science back in the 80’s and 90’s, you were probably exposed to at least one of his programming languages. A few in my case; Pascal,Modula-2 and variants such as “Borland Delphi”.

Although I’ve “become” a Python programmer, all of a sudden I find myself missing Pascal and wonder why I didn’t continue to use Pascal on Linux.

I think the answer is that at the time, there wasn’t really a solid implementation for Linux that made sense for production code. For a time I tried a product called “Kylix” from Borland, which was essentially a port of “Delphi” to Linux, however is was very expensive and they quickly discontinued the project.

However …

More recently a project called “free pascal” has appeared. I say more recently, it’s been around for a long time now, indeed you can get it from the standard Ubuntu repository with;

apt install fpc

Looking back at Pascal, I remember (in principle) a fair amount, and looking at the documentation it all seems relevant today. A simple program looks something like;

{ demo.pas }
program demo;
begin
    writeln('Hello world');
end.

And to compile and run;

$ fpc demo
Free Pascal Compiler version 3.2.2+dfsg-9ubuntu1 for x86_64
Copyright (c) 1993-2021 by Florian Klaempfl and others
Target OS: Linux for x86-64
Compiling demo.pas
Linking demo
4 lines compiled, 0.1 sec
$ ./demo
Hello world

All of a sudden programming feels real again, none of this interpreted rubbish, a real compiler! :slight_smile:

Anyway, turns out there’s also a User Interface to accompany the compiler. Now, if you remember the likes of “Borland Delphi” this may look strangely familiar, however this is the result of;

apt install lazarus

Rather than taking out a second mortgage.

Anyway, for anyone with a set of Delphi manuals on their shelf (he says putting his hand up) , Lazarus is an alternate way to write native GUI based applications for Linux, maybe without the potential mess associated with Qt, Gtk, C, Python etc and their graphical tookits and frameworks.

Any Pascal programmers out there?

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