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Area: Computing, Languages, Compilers Date: c.a. 1982-84

Whilst most people are most familiar with "Borland" as an inventor of the concept of cheap high quality development tools for the IBM PC, it's not quite so well known that others had explored (albeit less successfully) the same territory.

A Year or so before "Turbo Pascal", there was another and less commercially successful attempt at producing cheap compilers for the IBM PC. I'm vague on dates, because this is sometime in the early 80's. "JRT Pascal" was about $20-$30. It struck me at the time because the system the company I worked with sold (a Version IV version of the UCSD p-system (think Apple Pascal if you never saw the newer versions...) was much much more expensive. I wanted one, but then again, like most had to wait for really cheap PC clones... Sadly, the days of good quality products at knockdown prices has vanished again, but unless anybody wants to complain about shameless promotion of open source try "Free Pascal" (see freepascal.org). (To the Editor: I hope you won't delete this, the world needs a good teaching tool which is open to all - Hands up you folks who would kill for a 486 with 16MB on most of this ball of rock we live on...).

I believe the "J" in "JRT" was the same Jensen who founded Borland with Phil Kahn and later spun off his own company (later called TopSpeed) with their main product being a moderately nice Modula-2 compiler.

Perhaps someone with a better memory could let me know if I'm right.

Ironically, a Greek friend is asking for my help with a product "Clarion" which was bought from Jensen's TopSpeed.

Anyone with more history can email me at andrew_f_allen@yahoo.com.P.S: This is just to fill in the historical blanks. If enough old timers write then I'll repost the (obviously inaccurate) "History" (a greek word meaning "the story") back here...

PPS: Does anyone have any information on the strange and mysterious letter which got sent to Byte magazine c.a. 1984-85 re " a better turbo than turbo (pascal)" - was that Anders himself (grin)?? At the time Borland were shipping 2.0 or 3.0, and the "better" version might have been 4.0 (a blatent rip off of the classic UCSD language in terms of syntax ) and hence the start of the more serious versions (at least from a development standpoint).

Another question: Was Microsoft's short lived experiment with Quick Pascal actually derived from the same lineage? I think so, but would love to hear more (i.e. Did Ander's *own* the code base and license it to Borland rather than sell it??). This old time system programmer's gut instinct (looking at hex dumps of the command line compiler) tell me that it *was* really the same compiler... Might be, probably am, dead wrong! Sadly I can't go back and look because I lost those things many 10's of moons ago...

I hope someone with a good magazine stack can fill in the blanks, and thanks for the excellent site.. I lost my old Byte magazines several generations of moving ago.


Andy Allen email: andrew_f_allen@yahoo.com