Category Archives: Compiler

Compiler related articles

New Interview with Fred and freak released

Hi folks, Happy New Year 2016!

I’m proudly presenting a new interview I made with the main PureBasic coders Frederic ‘alphaSND’ Laboureur and Timo ‘freak’ Harter.

You can read it on my website, just go to the ‘News’ section of 4th January 2016.

I hope you enjoy the reading of this (like I find) interesting interview!

(Direct link to the interview)

Support for Ascii compilation ends after the next LTS cycle

As Fred has explained here, supporting both the creation of ascii and unicode executables in the compiler is becoming a burden and we would like to end support for ascii compilation in order to streamline the library code and make it easier to maintain the PureBasic package in the future. However, the above thread has shown that people wish for a longer transition period, and we would like to honor this wish.

So we decided to remove the ability to compile in ascii mode in the PB version that follows after the next LTS version (that is, the LTS version coming after the 5.2x LTS cycle ends).

There are no exact dates for the releases, but the timeline looks like this:

  • The current 5.2x LTS version will be supported until at least 09/17/2015
  • After that date, a new LTS version will be released with support for 2 years. This version will still have full ascii compilation support.
  • The first non-LTS version released after the next LTS cycle starts will have no ascii compilation support

This means that the first non-LTS version without ascii support will be released in about a year. By staying with LTS releases, you have the ability to use an ascii mode compiler with a fully supported PB version for at least another 3 years starting from today. This should give enough time for a smooth transition.

No changes will be made to the language or data types (The .c, .a and .u as well as the pseudo-types and library commands will remain as they are). The only difference is that the “compile in unicode mode” switch in the compiler will be permanently set to “on”.

Please understand that we do listen to the concerns voiced in the discussion thread and that we do not make this decision lightly. I think we have a quite good track record of supporting older technology as is evidenced by the very long support for Windows 9x which just recently ended and by the fact that we still support Windows XP even after MS dropped all support for it. However, in order for us to be able to introduce new technologies (like x64 compilation in the past, or now support for the web with Spiderbasic), we simply cannot support old stuff indefinitely. In order to move forward into the future, we have to leave some stuff behind from time to time. We hope you can understand that.

Windows 95, the comeback !

I know, i know. But there is some stuffs i really hate, and one of them is when you upgrade your compiler version, and suddenly a software stop working on a specific plateform. That happened to the purebasic compiler executable, when we upgraded to VC8. Basically, VC8 adds a dependency to every executable created with it, which is not supported in Windows 95: the famous IsDebuggerPresent() API function (found in Kernel32.dll). So when you launch it on Win95, it just fails at loading time, telling there is a missing symbol. Well, who care about Win95 anymore, you think. I do. For fun. And it’s not a missing symbol (which is useless BTW, and added under the hood by linking libcmt.lib – which is requiered) which will stop PureBasic to work on lovely oldies plateforms.

So the fun began. I asked to my best virtual friend – google – to gently find me a workaround. And guess what ? There was one. But you had to link statically the c runtime and hack a lot with sources. I didn’t want to do that. So i tried to mess with the kernel32 import library (kernel32.lib) to remove the IsDebuggerPresent object. Total failure. Microsoft ‘lib’ tool just see tons on ‘Kernel32.dll’ object in the kernel32.lib when you launch:

prompt> lib /LIST kernel32.lib

Ok. Not very useful to remove a specific object. Sounds like a bug btw…

So i tried with ‘polib’, which comes from PellesC package, without more success. It successfully list the objects name, but unfortunately can’t remove it. Well, i was out of luck. So i created a .def with kernel32 exports and tried to use ‘lib’ to create an import lib. But it doesn’t work as well, for some reason (seems like the lib created isn’t a real dll import lib). Finally i ended up to create a fake kernel32.dll, and reuse the import lib created by the linker. And voilĂ , it worked.. At least VC8 linked and complained about the missing IsDebuggerPresent import, so the hard part was done. Now we just need a small stub in our executable and it’s over. Here is the stub:

// The cool Win95 hack, so the compiler can launch on it, even compiled with VS2005
// Basically, this function is needed by the libcmt.lib/gs_report.obj
BOOL __stdcall _imp__IsDebuggerPresent()
return FALSE;

Timo kindly tested the new build and PureBasic launched and worked correctly on an old Win95. Victory !