OpenWatcom for embedded prototyping? Yeeeaaaahhhhhh!

Do you:

Feel the occasional need to host development of a C, C++ or Fortran '77 project on any of:

  • DOS?
  • OS/2 Warp?
  • Windows 3.1?
  • Windows 95/98/Me?
  • Windows NT/2000/XP?

Want to execute the resulting targets on any of:

  • 16 and 32-bit DOS (w/several included royalty-free DOS extenders)?
  • 16 and 32-bit OS/2?
  • Windows 3.1?
  • Win32s?
  • Windows 95/98/Me?
  • Windows NT/2000/XP?
  • Novell NLM?

After you've built your targets, do you perhaps have a need to debug them natively or remotely, over one of several types of connections

  • Serial?
  • Parallel?
  • TCP/IP over Ethernet?
  • Virtual DOS machines?
  • Generally, any target from any host platform?

And what's that you say? You've spent all of your money on state of the art hardware and now you're broke? Or, you don't feel like ponying up thousands of $$$ for a copy of MS Visual Studio just to bang out some small Win32 hosted program to do a few things around the lab, or for your clients? Need to target (gasp) DOS?

Don't want to deal with Unix compatibility layers, or learn how to compile a compiler, but just need a quick way to use native tools to create native executables that run fast?

Fear not-the gracious people at OpenWatcom are offering a great product.

For software developers, engineers involved in the design and testing of embedded systems, or even just hobbyists, this is a great alternative to the Unix hosted open source compilers and the stunningly expensive proprietary offerings.

Having the need to compile yet another small prototype application to test an embedded concept on a PC, I found myself heading into the software closet once again to drag out my old "Top Speed C for DOS" disks from 1993. As I was doing this, I figured that maybe it was finally time to check for a 32 bit alternative that could also target DOS, first. OpenWatcom is what I found, and so far I'm impressed with it.

Remember to throw the project a few $$$ if you use it and you like it :)

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Yes, it was the great (and the only) compiler for QNX4. I used it since version 9.52, when it didn't have separate assembler -- but with rundos, the DOS emulator, I was able to run Turbo Assembler from QNX. Version

10.6 was better, it even "supported" identifiers in Russian (by an oversight, I'd guess :) Unfortunately, QNX6/Neutrino has been launched with gcc as a tool.

And yes, it is limited to DOS or windoze on x86. But they are promissing to support Linux and FreeBSD.


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Vadim Borshchev

... snip ...

Inclusion of a URL would be more generally helpful.

Some useful references about C:
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Jim Granville

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