Monday, January 09, 2006


Which eiffel compiler for embedded development?

In a recent comp.lang.eiffel thread, lee asked which Eiffel compiler would be best for embedded use on a variety of chip architectures running roll-your-own Linux. Important factors were efficient memory utilization, parallelization and speed.

I mentioned that Victor Putz had ported SmartEiffel to the Palm PDA, but lee pointed out that he only needed to use a new chip, not a new operating system.

Lee wondered how difficult it would be to port Eiffel to a new hardware platform.

In theory, porting SmartEiffel should require nothing more than a suitable Ansi C compiler. If it takes more than that, I think the SmartEiffel team would regard it as a bug.

Llothar suggested that the garbage collection could be an issue, but didn't see a problem provided the chip supported gcc 4.0 and the Boehm garbage collector. He offered Lee his own patched version of SmartEiffel, lamenting that the SmartEiffel team "is unwilling to see the importance of multithreaded programming".

EiffelStudio, on the other hand, is a proprietary product. It can be (and has previously been) ported to an embedded platform, but the porting would have to be a viable proposition for ISE, and would need to be done by them.

The discussion then moved on to the merits or otherwise of multithreading...

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