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Well It Was Twenty Years Ago Today...

Jun 12, 2007, 01:30 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Tiemann)

[ Thanks to Michael Tiemann for this link. ]

"It was early June in 1987 when Richard Stallman announced the release of the GNU C compiler version 1.0. As I wrote in Open Sources, it was the most thrilling and most terrifying day of my life (up to that point). Having first read and lightly hacked Emacs code in 1985, having read and lightly hacked GDB code in 1986, I eagerly attended a week-long lecture series on Emacs Stallman gave in Febrary 1987 at MCC in Austin Texas. By day, my appreciation for Stallman and the GNU project grew as I as I began to understand the depth of his technical designs, the beauty of his implementation approaches and the method by which both were protected for me instead of from me by the GPL. By night, my curiosity grew as Stallman would steal moments between lectures and especially at the end of the day to hack on a project he was not yet ready to disclose.

"By the end of the week in February the secret had been revealed to me: he was working on a C compiler and was in the final stages of polishing the optimizer. I was 22 years old at the time, and I still harbored a dream that I might someday write 'The Great American Compiler...'"

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