Anyone here using FreePascal?
I haven’t for roughly three years, but I used it as my preferred systems language until about ~2011 or 2012. The quick summary: it was a stellar environment then, but the invention of Rust and Nim may make it less attractive than it was back then.
I was always extremely impressed with the project. While FPC did not yield code as optimized as GCC, it was always more than acceptable for my purposes (even when I truly needed maximum speed). The compiler is incredibly fast, their inclusion of Delphi’s object model and large chunks of the class library helped me avoid reinventing the wheel constantly, the debugger was solid, the documentation was generally good (not amazing, but a lot better than many), and I hit few bugs in either the compiler or class library—something I can’t say about a lot of other environments (e.g., historic Mono). It’s also got trivial C interop, a very simple build system, a nice terminal IDE, and more.
I haven’t used it recently for two simple reasons: first, I had a two-year gap where all low-level code I wrote had to be in C or C++ for political/historic reasons; and second, once that was over, Rust had been invented, and the much stronger safety guarantees (including “free” garbage collection) have made it much more attractive to me for that space.
If FPC is in a space you need, I’d definitely encourage you to take a look. I haven’t used Lazarus at all, so I can’t speak to that, but I think FPC is a really great environment/language/library collection.
No problem! If you have any specific questions about parts of the library or language, feel free to let me know. Part of what I liked about FPC was its stability (in all senses of the word), so while I’m sure things will’ve changed since I was last using it, I doubt they’ll have changed that much.
I used it as a teenager when I wanted to learn programming, and - since dialup internet was expensive - went to the local library to borrow some books on programming. There were several books on Pascal and I by accident found out that I could install it and an IDE for free, which bundled free pascal. By chance, I might have also ended up using some TurboPascal, but I was lucky to have found FreePascal.
I think I also tried out C++ with DevCPP, but I abandoned it because the books on Pascal were better, Mingw cumbersome to use.
I have all the best memories about FreePascal, the syntax was relatively clean and accessible to me. Compilations cycles fast, I could use C libraries, and I still admire the unit system for modules, for an imperative programming language it is great.
Back then, Lazarus was still in the cradle and almost unusable. I haven’t ever tried it.