[Oberon] New to Oberon

Till Oliver Knoll till.oliver.knoll at gmail.com
Sun Jun 18 10:01:53 CEST 2023

Am 16.06.23 um 20:10 schrieb Ruben Schuller:
> Hi List,
> I'm new to Oberon and could use some pointers to which projects are
> recommended for someone interested.

Hi there,

I am not very active on this list - but still observe it for "nostalgia 
reasons": I was a computer science student with Jürg Gutknecht and 
Niklaus Wirth (I had the honour to attend Prof. Wirth's last 
"Systemsoftware" lectures, back in 1999 I believe :)).

Anyway, in case you are on macOS (or even on iPadOS / iOS, I believe) 
then the easiest way to get started is to simply install Oberon - from 
the Mac App Store... that is, wait a second: it seems to have gone! :( 
It doesn't even show up under my "purchases" (it was a free app anyway) 

I still have it installed on my macOS, and the about dialog says:


Oberon, Version 1.3.0 (2620)

The following copyrighted materials are used or redistributed in this 

Project Oberon, Revised Edition 2013

Book copyright (C)2013 Niklaus Wirth and Juerg Gutknecht;
software copyright (C)2013 Niklaus Wirth (NW), Juerg Gutknecht (JG), Paul
Reed (PR/PDR).


However trying to access the "Support" page now fails:


In fact, the company seems to have ceased (or at least changed its 
name), as the following URL cannot be resolved anymore:



The point is: this Oberon version was based on the latest "even more 
simplified" Oberon 2013, still being designed by Niklaus Wirth - 
"stripped to the max" (e.g. a return statement now HAS to be the last 
command in a function - you can't "bail out early" anymore. There are 
other "simplifications" that need to get used to, but you quickly see 
the idea behind those "drastic measures to make you code better" ;)).

And together with Oberon 2013 Niklaus Wirth even designed a whole new 
RISC architecture (and of course he couldn't resist to built it for real 
on an FPGA - because why not ;)) on which this new Oberon 2013 would - 
and did! - run. In fact, shortly after several people built this as a 
"virtual CPU" and this is exactly the Oberon distribution that one got 
from the Mac App Store, that is "Oberon 2013 on that virtual RISC CPU".

However I remember there were other limitations, e.g. one can't 
dynamically allocate memory (e.g. for arrays). Other people quickly made 
extensions to this Oberon 2013 that would provide such "extensions" to 
the compiler (language).

In short: if you want to have "the real thing" (in the spirit of Niklaus 
Wirth) try to find any Oberon variant based on his latest Oberon 2013 
design / specification :). Of course there are many other variants - not 
to forget those that actually brought "object-oriented programming", 
more UI components etc..

And I am sure you will quickly receive more answers where to get started 
on this list :)

Happy coding!


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