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[hemmerling] FORTH 1/7

Standards & Guides

  1. “FIG Forth Model” by Forth Interest Group, 1978.
  2. “FORTH77”, 1977, just an interim version of the later “FORTH79”
  3. “FORTH78”, 1978, just an interim version of the later “FORTH79”.
  4. “FORTH79”, 1979.
  5. “FORTH83”, 1983.
  6. “ANS Forth” aka “ANS94 FORTH”, 1994.
  7. ISO Forth” ( = ANS FORTH ), 1997.
  8. “Forth 200x”, “Forth2012”.

Famous Quotations and Statements

Famous Quotations, by Chuck Moore

  • “I started the same time as Bill Gates. He took a different strategy. He was selling operating systems and I didn’t believe in operating systems. I was selling applications and I could only sell as many applications as I could program; or as Forth, Inc. could program. Boy did I miss the boat there. We could’ve sold Forth as an operating system, as a programming language, as a development system and we didn’t. So I guess he deserves the fifty billion dollars or hundred billion or whatever he’s got. But I had the fun”.
  • “Forth is free to reinvent the wheel, and I think that is a marvelous concept. No one should ever be afraid to reinvent the wheel, and we do it every day”.
  • “About a thousand instructions seems about right to me to do about anything. To paraphrase the old legend that any program with a thousand instructions can be written in one less. All programs should be a thousand instructions long”.
  • “A Forth application can take 1% the code employed by the same application written in C”.

Famous Statements

  • “Non-FORTH developers are stuck in a pattern of thinking, of thinking in variables, constants, functions, and structures. Think in words and what's happening on the stack, variables and constants are not the core business in FORTH. In small programs you can do without, if you want to. This will come at the expense of readability. If a non-FORTH developers gives a FORTH developer a bit of forth code in PASCAL style, then the FORTH developer can show how to convert this to a stack solution”.
  • “ANS Forth was a great idea” ?! :-) :-( ??
  • Quora "Welche Programmiersprache ist Deiner Meinung nach die wichtigste, die man lernen sollte?" 2017 - “Andreas Neuner, C Entwickler seit 1985, jetzt lieber Forth: ... aber FORTH ist eine Sprache, ein Betriebssystem und eine Philosophie die nicht nur vollumfänglich von einer Person verstanden und in alle Richtungen erweitert werden kann (so als würde man seinen C++ Compiler erweitern und als würde er dann auch zur Laufzeit noch zur Verfügung stehen) sondern sie kann auch in wenigen Tagen selbstständig von einer einzelnen Person entwickelt werden (das probier doch mal mit C++). Auch wenn man letztlich nicht mit FORTH programmiert, das Wissen wie man solche Sachen machen kann ermöglicht einen z.B. einen inline Debugger in seinen C Code zu implementieren, oder ausführbare Datenstrukturen in der Datenbank abzulegen … und vieles mehr”.


  • “Write-only programming language” :-( - “Da in den ersten Jahren von Forth auch der Platz für Quellcode auf Speichermedien stark begrenzt war, hatte sich Forth leider den Ruf einer Write-only-Programmiersprache zugezogen. Es braucht ein wenig Disziplin, um schön lesbare Forth-Programme zu schreiben” ( heise publishing ).
  • “Read only Language”:-( - “And when you wrote in it, it was hard to go back and look at it and determine what you actually how it was actually working” ( Pete Peterson ).
  • “FORTH allows the programmer to re-form the language itself until it fits the problem, a concept akin to object-oriented programming. However, FORTH also allows you to change the base language itself. Because of this, it becomes a maintenance nightmare and is thus probably the purest expression of the concept of internal discipline, where the emphasis is on the one-time solution of the problem rather than the maintenance of that solution” ( Bruce Eckel ).
  • “If you know a Forth, you know one Forth”.
  • “To find your own Forth is a personal quest, similar to find the proper diet to reduce your own body weight :-)”.
  • “Forth - The programming language for low-fat computing”.

My personal Historical Conclusions about the fall of FORTH

  • Turbo-Pascal killed FORTH on CP/M and MSDOS. Pascal was dominant on MacOSClassic in the early period. C and GFABasic were dominant on ATARI and AMIGA. Microsoft-C, Borland's Delphi and Turbo-C became dominant on MSDOS in the late 1980th to mid 1990th, i.e. prior to the rise of Windows. C was dominant on Windows and Linux from start. Java was “the” OO language for browser applets, desktop and server applications on Windows and Linux at start, while later it turned into an inportant server application language. C became dominant on bare metal embedded systems since the mid-2000th. Javascript & Python are pretty much killing C everywhere. Node.js and MicroPython are the Turbo-Pascals of today. ESP32Forth might be the last chance for a success of FORTH, especially as SmartHome language, on KonCony KC868-A4, KC868-A8,KC868-A32 and maybe the UDOO KEY.

Organisations, People, Companies


FORTH People

FORTH Community People with historical Importance

  1. Hugh Aguilar .
  2. Ray Duncan.
  3. Charles H. Moore ( Chuck Moore )
  4. Jeff Fox ( died in 2011 ).
  5. Mike Perry and Henry Laxen.
      • “While there, I met a couple of guys and we decided to strike out on our own and formed a company called Orthocode. It had a brief existence, and the main impact it had on me was that I learned a new programming language called Forth. I became rather fluent in Forth, and actually wrote several articles about it in the Forth Dimensions magazine, as well as gave a few talks at various conferences. It was enough to attract the attention of Rick Meyer, who worked for a small company called Friends-Amis. They were working on the worlds first hand held computer, and were using Forth to do the programming of the operating system. The HHC (Hand Held Computer) actually made the Oct 1981 cover of Byte Magazine. Eventually Friends-Amis was acquired by Masushita of Japan, but by then I had met my best friend and future partner, Alex Lusthak”.
      • “Together we started a company that eventually was called Paradise Systems. We made a lot of wrong turns along the way, but eventually our product line was video cards and chips for he IBM PC and its clones. At the time, IBM had just announced their EGA (Enhanced Graphics Adapter) which used 7 custom chips. My partner, Alex, redesigned it so that it only need one custom chip, instead of seven. Our chip was being used in almost every IBM PC clone then on the market, from Olivetti to Compaq. We were manufacturing the chips in Taiwan and Japan for about $3 per chip, and selling them for $35 per chip. This is what is called, good margins! Then in 1986, Western Digital, a public company that made hard disk drives, decided it wanted to get into the video business, and decided it would be cheaper to buy Paradise Systems than start from scratch. Thus at the ripe old age of 33, I retired on September 15th, 1987. I like to call myself self-unemployed”.
  6. Elisabeth Rather.

FORTH Community People of 2021

  1. Chris Curl.
  2. Facebook "Peter Forth", German from Brazil :-).
  3. Dan Golding, USA.
  4. Michel Jean.
  5. John Hardy.
  6. Andrew Holme.
  7. Brad Nelson.
  8. LinkedIn "Demitri Peynado", UK - SystemVerilog specialist.
  9. Facebook "Joerg Plewe" - “The” specialist for Forth on 68K & ATARI-ST.
  10. Ilya Tarasov - Professor in Moscow, Russia.
  11. Facebook "Tom Zimmer(Tommy Z)" ( “win32forth” ).

Special FORTH People of 2021

  • Josh Stone.
      • GitHub "jephthai / EvilVM" - “EvilVM compiler for information security research tools. The project is built around a native code Forth compiler that is deployed as a position independent shellcode. It provides a platform for remote code execution, useful in information security context”.


Forth Day


"EuroForth" & "Forth Standards Meeting"

Forth Events
Forth People

Forth2020 - Zoom Meetings

The Events

Discontinued Series of historically important Events & Single Events

FORML (Forth Modification Laboratory)

FORML (Forth Modification Laboratory)
    • “FORML (Forth Modification Laboratory)”.
      • “Since 1980, FIG has sponsored an annual conference called FORML (Forth Modification Laboratory)”
  • EuroFORML '85 conference in Settenfels Castle [near Heolbronn], 1985-10-25 - 1985-10-27.
  • EuroFORML '87 conference in Settenfels Castle [near Heolbronn], 1987-09-18 - 1987-09-20.

Conference on Forth Applications 1981 - 1998

SIGFORTH Conferences 1989 - 1992

Real-Time Programming Convention 1988

First Australian Forth Symposium 1988


Rolf Hemmerling's Ideas about FORTH

Comparison LUA versus FORTH

  1. LUA is 30 years old, FORTH is 50 years old, so both are not fashion languages ( LUA:FORTH = 1:1 ).
  2. They were both created by masterminds: LUA was created by Roberto, while FORTH was created by Chuck, with Elizabeth as FORTH entrepreneur. But as of 2021, both Chuck and Elizabeth are retired, while Roberto is still university professor ( LUA:FORTH = 2:1 ).
  3. LUA code looks like that of most other common programming languages, however proficient LUA users are known to be trained in “Thinking in Tables”, while FORTH users need to learn “Thinking in Forth”( LUA:FORTH = 3:2 in sum ).
  4. Both LUA and FORTH support sort of “Object Orientation”, but they are no plain OO languages ( LUA:FORTH = 3:2 still in sum, no points granted ).
  5. LUA 5.0,.. 5.4 releases of the 2000th-2010th are not that much backward compatible, which makes maintainance of libraries hard, while with FORTH there are too many incompatible implementations and standards, in comparison to C, Python, Java ( LUA:FORTH = 3:2 still in sum, no points granted ).
  6. LUA has several annual international conferences, FORTH has a single annual European conference and a German conference ( LUA:FORTH = 4:3 in sum ).
  7. LUA is written in C, FORTH can be written in C ( LUA:FORTH = 5:4 in sum ).
  8. LUA can be integrated in C/C++ applications and embedded systems as high-level scripting language, FORTH is the #1 high-level script language for embedded sytems ( LUA:FORTH = 6:5 in sum ).
  9. LUA never had a Usenet group at all, nor any mailing list in English language, Forth did and still does have 2 active Usenet groups and 2 active Facebook groups ( LUA:FORTH = 6:6 in sum ).
  10. LUA is one of the languages for participation in the “Google Summer of Code”, FORTH is not ( LUA:FORTH = 7:6 in sum ).
  11. LUA is mentioned in the last few years several times as a “Worst Programming Languages to Learn”, FORTH is not even mentioned and thats not a plus ( LUA:FORTH = 8:6 in sum ).

BASIC Forth & FULL Forth

Should I invest into Lua Development Skills ?

Reputation & Popularity

Job Offers

  • Stepstone.DE "Microcontroller Jobs und Stellenangebote" - “Für Jobs im Bereich Microcontroller, die sich mit der Entwicklung der kleinen Steuergeräte befassen, benötigen Sie tief greifende Programmierkenntnisse in einer der Programmiersprachen C, Basic, Pascal, Forth oder C++. Jede dieser Sprachen bietet spezielle Vorteile, die in Abhängigkeit vom Einsatzzweck des Microcontrollers zutage treten. Wesentliche Kriterien sind hier die einfache Orientierung auf die eingesetzte Hardware oder die Robustheit der Sprache. Die begrenzte Größe des Programmspeichers in Microcontrollern erfordert ein schlankes, effizientes und fehlerresistentes Programm. Voraussetzung hierfür ist das tiefgründige und vollständige Verstehen der Aufgabe, welche der geplante Microcontroller erfüllen soll. Diese Aufgabe wird zunächst in ein abstraktes virtuelles Modell übersetzt, welches seinerseits als Grundlage für die eigentliche Programmierung dient”.
    • Kürzlich habe ich für Habr-Leser ein wenig über Programmiersprachen wie Rust, Dart, Erlang recherchiert, um herauszufinden, wie selten sie auf dem russischen IT-Markt sind. Die Studie umfasste Sprachen: Forth, Ceylon, Scala, Perl, Cobol sowie einige andere Sprachen. Im Allgemeinen habe ich 10 Programmiersprachen analysiert”.
    • “Viertens. Die Programmiersprache Forth erschien in den 70er Jahren. Jetzt ist der russische Markt nicht gefragt. Es gibt keine offenen Stellen bei Headhunter oder LinkedIn. Der Lebenslauf zeigte Sprachkenntnisse von 166 Spezialisten auf Headhunter und 25 auf LinkedIn. Die überwiegende Mehrheit der Bewerber verfügt über mehr als 6 Jahre Erfahrung. Spezialisten mit Forth-Kenntnissen verlangen ein Gehalt von 20.000 Rubel bis zu 500.000 Rubel”.

This is NOT ( about ) FORTH and not a FORTH Community

Appropriate OpenDirectory Directory Pages

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