GCC 1.37 on MacOS

I didn’t even know there was such a thing!

But sure enough, the file GNUMPW.SIT, and the later gcc-1.37.1r15-all.sea.bin are the real thing!  The file GNUMPW unstuffs to GCC 1.37.1r7(All), although Stuffit 5 and higher won’t unpack the file, I’ve converted it unpacking with version 4 & repacking with 5.5.

The readme from r7 is dated November 2nd, 1990.  I found some history on this port on the archives of the GCC mailing list here.  The port was done by Stan Shebs, while working for Apple.  As he states the port started in 1989 and was first used in an abandoned m68k based project, and later a possible replacement for the Apple compiler for OS 7.

For this experiment I was using the r15 version, as I didn’t find anything out about the prior versions until after I had written this.

GCC on MacOS needs the MPW environment, which for me is incredibly awkward to work with. While some people may love it, it is very strange in that you have to highlight commands in the window, then hit clover+enter to run them.  Like a mainframe, you can input commands wherever in the screen.

The next hardest thing was finding a version of MPW that will work with this.  It needs the MPW C compiler for it’s includes, and libraries.  The 3.5 stuff didn’t seem to work for me, however doing a LOT of searching, and I did find a ‘toast CD-ROM’ image‘ of 3.1 that includes all the C, and Assembler tools that I need to build an executable.

I also don’t know why, but running make just shows me what needs to be done, it never actually makes anything.  I’m probably doing something wrong, but for such a long dead tool, trying to find out how to use it, or how do you interrupt a “stream” like manually running cc1 is beyond me.  I just have to force quit the emulator.

But beyond that, running make gives me the steps, and I manually select and run the steps, and I was able to get a program to run!


I know it may not look like much, but getting it to actually run something was quite monumental for me!

I thought for the hell of it, I’d try to build the InfoTaskForce 1987 interpreter, but it seems to get confused at the whole input method.

Planetfall on MacOS
Planetfall on MPW

There were some issues compiling input.c, as it didn’t like the external table, so I made it’s own local table.  It also didn’t like some pointer arithmetic, but making GCC happy only gives me a program that can’t recognize any verbs.  And from there it won’t quit, basically hanging the system.

I’m sure I’m doing something wrong, but at the same time it was interesting to see GCC on MacOS, during the whole GNU boycott of Apple for the ‘look and feel’ lawsuit against Microsoft.  No doubt it let a lot of people sell other C compilers on the Mac Platform during this window of time.

GCC requires a 68020 processor, as GCC’s native 68000 based target would be SUN-2 hardware.  While it can compile with the -m68000 flag, I haven’t tested with a 68000 based emulator to see if that’s even true.  In the off chance someone wants a combined MPW+GCC I made a disk image here: MPW 3.1 with GCC 1.37.img.gz.  Disk Copy 6.3 should be able to mount it OK, or any emulator that likes HFS disk images.

2 thoughts on “GCC 1.37 on MacOS”

    1. It is very interesting, but it’s not vintage… lol but yes, it really is neat how they’ve managed to not only build a cross compiler, but you may also be interested in the MPW Emulator, which uses a 68000 CPU emulator and Carbon to provide an emulation layer to run MPW binaries on modern MacOS.

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