[Haskell-cafe] Somewhat random history question - chicken and egg

Lennart Augustsson lennart at augustsson.net
Sun Nov 11 14:38:10 EST 2007

First there was an unnamed language (dynamically typed) that looked a
lot like SASL.
It was compiled to VAX assembly code and the compiler was written in C.
I implemented this language in the summer of 1981.

Using this language Thomas Johnsson and I wrote the first LML compiler.
Once that was working reasonable we rewrote the LML compiler in LML.
This was probably 1982.  The LML compiler then got improved over the years.

Soon after Haskell 1.0 was presented to the world I did a Haskell front end
for th LML compiler, and that's hbc.

The hbc compiler was then used to bootstrap ghc.

  -- Lennart

On Nov 11, 2007 3:49 PM, Stefan O'Rear <stefanor at cox.net> wrote:
> On Sun, Nov 11, 2007 at 11:07:29AM +0000, Neil Mitchell wrote:
> > Hi
> >
> > > > "...if GHC is written in Haskell, how the heck did they compile GHC in
> > > > the first place?"
> >
> > GHC was not the first Haskell compiler, hbc was the main compiler at
> > some point, so I suspect they used hbc. There was also lazy ML which I
> > suspect was used to bootstrap hbc - but I'm not sure of the details.
> Hbc didn't need to be bootstrapped because it isn't written in Haskell -
> it's written in Lazy ML.  Lazy ML would need to be bootstrapped, but
> since it has (almost?) the same syntax as Standard ML, I suspect the
> first versions of lml were written in SML.  (Can you clarify,
> L. Augustsson?)
> Stefan
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> =cxUQ
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