the state of lazarus/free pascal(not good) – the short stack

logoI would first like to clear up why a discussion about the open source integrated development environment Lazarus would be featured on a blog putatively about distributed computing. The answer reads like the house that jack built , so stay with me. For those not familiar with
the Delphi/Lazarus/Pascal saga,a little background. Delphi,an object oriented compiler/integrated development environment , began as a product from legendary(legends both ignominious and distinguished ) compiler shop Borland. Pascal had first hit the big time with a previous incarnation called Turbo Pascal in the early eighties. Delphi ,currently owned by Embarcadero , is a later mid nineties product also developed by Borland and written by the same man , Anders Hejlsberg(who moved onto Microsoft and generated C#). Both products were of course descended from Ur-programmer Niklaus Wirth’s original Pascal. However , Delphi extended Pascal and Turbo Pascal with object oriented bindings and a fairly revolutionary ui. To further confuse things , Borland initially called their Delphi flavour ‘ObjectPascal’ , but for marketing reasons changed it to ‘Delph Pascal’ comparatively recently. If all of that is not sufficiently confusing , ObjectPascal was also the name of a Pascal derivation developed by Apple with direct consultation with Wirth called Think Pascal in the mid eighties.ObjectPascal Apple style was shown the door in the mid nineties when they dropped Motorola 6800 support.But there’s more.

Before , after and during the aforementioned Pascal hijinks ,another contender emerged written by a jaspar named Forlian Paul Klämpfl. His name is important because his derivation of Pascal was originally called FPK Pascal , after his initials(no , I’m not making this up). The name was changed in 1997 to FPC Pascal(Free Pascal Compiler) to maximize the mishegas. The motivation of the fork was Borland’s decision to discontinue the DOS version of Turbo Pascal. Free Pascal is essentially a farago of bits and bytes from all of the above Pascal incarnations which has gained a toehold in the Linux/Open source community, along with a cohort of Microsoft apostates on Windows-which is what bears on our topic here.