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Well It Was Twenty Years Ago Today…

[ 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…'”

Complete Story

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