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'[PIC] Is Hitech C deliberately slugging code in th'
2009\07\06@123717 by Bob Blick

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On Mon, 6 Jul 2009 12:30:18 +0100, "Michael Rigby-Jones"
<spam_OUTMichael.Rigby-JonesTakeThisOuTspamoclaro.com> said:

> > Sly marketing? Frankly, if their free version went from doing
> > these optimizations to not doing them (honestly, a compiler
> > that doesn't take
> > i++ and output INCF is BROKEN in my mind), and yet nothing was said to
> > that effect, I would call it at best sleezy, at worst
> > something much worse.
>
>
> The description of Lite mode on the HiTech website clearly states
> optimisations are disabled.
>
> I think people are missing the point, if you wish to evaluate the
> compiler for a commercial project, you can do so, with full
> optimisations enabled for (I think) 45 days.  The Lite mode is really
> for simple hobbyist projects where the ability to use any device often
> outweighs the bloated code it produces.

But what he was saying is that the free version was pretty good, and now
it isn't.

Why they would take away quality strikes me as bizarre.

It's even stranger if you look at the number of compilers available now
as opposed to when HiTech started out. There are a lot of good compilers
for cheap or free now. And if you are a beginner or a hobbyist, why
choose HiTech? It was always the compiler with the fewest features(no
I/O or other neat functions) but now it also produces the worst code. I
certainly wouldn't try it or buy it, and I was actually a customer of
theirs. I would not recommend it to anyone unless they had to do
maintenance on an existing project.

There's no longer a code size limit to the free version, but by
generating code several times bigger than necessary, isn't that almost
the same thing?

I'm not sure the ability to use any chip is that appealing to a hobbyist
or beginner. The old free compiler supported a few popular chips
properly.

I remember looking at the code generated by earlier versions and
admiring how clever it was. The new stuff looks like junk.

How can this be good for them?

Cheerful regards,

Bob

--
http://www.fastmail.fm - Access your email from home and the web

2009\07\06@131410 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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{Quote hidden}

Because they have added the ability to use any supported PIC, rather
than a tiny subset with memory limits.  You still have the choice of
using the PICCLite compiler if you are using one of the supported
devices.


> It's even stranger if you look at the number of compilers
> available now as opposed to when HiTech started out. There
> are a lot of good compilers for cheap or free now. And if you
> are a beginner or a hobbyist, why choose HiTech? It was
> always the compiler with the fewest features(no I/O or other
> neat functions)

If you mean clumsy and buggy peripheral library code as supplied with
some other compilers then no, they don't include that, and I for one
have never missed it.  None of the PIC's peripherals are particularly
complex to use, so writing/porting your own library code is not an
arduous task, and you end up with something that you understand
completely.

> but now it also produces the worst code. I
> certainly wouldn't try it or buy it, and I was actually a
> customer of theirs. I would not recommend it to anyone unless
> they had to do maintenance on an existing project.
>

And yet you judge this purely from their free compiler, rather than the
demo compiler that is for potential purchasers to evalutae the compiler
with?

> There's no longer a code size limit to the free version, but
> by generating code several times bigger than necessary, isn't
> that almost the same thing?

Almost, but not quite.  Are you suggesting they should give away a
compiler that has no restrictions whatsoever?

>
> I'm not sure the ability to use any chip is that appealing to
> a hobbyist or beginner. The old free compiler supported a few
> popular chips properly.
>

And they still have the choice to use that.

> I remember looking at the code generated by earlier versions
> and admiring how clever it was. The new stuff looks like junk.
>
> How can this be good for them?

Because as I explained, the ability to use any PIC is of a higher
priority than tight code for many hobbiests.  It was never designed to
provide a platform for evaluation of the generated code, the 45 day demo
is available for this.  For those who prefered the
limitations/advantages of the original compiler, it's still available.

Regards

Mike

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2009\07\06@140653 by Bob Blick

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On Mon, 6 Jul 2009 18:14:03 +0100, "Michael Rigby-Jones"
<EraseMEMichael.Rigby-Jonesspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuToclaro.com> said:

>
> Because they have added the ability to use any supported PIC, rather
> than a tiny subset with memory limits.  You still have the choice of
> using the PICCLite compiler if you are using one of the supported
> devices.
>

No. From the website:
"This 'Lite mode' compiler has replaced the old PICC-Lite™ freeware
compiler."

>  
> If you mean clumsy and buggy peripheral library code as supplied with
> some other compilers then no, they don't include that, and I for one
> have never missed it.  None of the PIC's peripherals are particularly
> complex to use, so writing/porting your own library code is not an
> arduous task, and you end up with something that you understand
> completely.
>

Many people like using the buggy functions for instant gratification.
You don't have to use them. You can use your own bug-free functions.

>
> And yet you judge this purely from their free compiler, rather than the
> demo compiler that is for potential purchasers to evalutae the compiler
> with?

Sure, why not? I don't want the internet activation of their installer,
either.

> Almost, but not quite.  Are you suggesting they should give away a
> compiler that has no restrictions whatsoever?

That's what they are doing. It's just a really embarrassing compiler.

> >
> > I'm not sure the ability to use any chip is that appealing to
> > a hobbyist or beginner. The old free compiler supported a few
> > popular chips properly.
> >
>
> And they still have the choice to use that.

No, it's not available any more.

{Quote hidden}

No, it's not a high priority for everyone. People write me to say my
LCDTerm project won't fit in the chip. It's the new compiler. The old
one isn't available any more.

I say again, HiTech made some choices that made me walk away. Did those
same choices draw you closer to them? Unless the answer is yes, I'd have
to say they made bad choices, because they lost me as a customer, and it
wasn't me who started this thread, someone else thinks they made a
mistake too. I don't know anyone who has said, "Wow, this is great, I
can generate crappy code for any PIC for free, you should, too".

I'm not trying to make a big deal out of it. But I think HiTech was very
lucky to have been bought by Microchip.

Cheerful regards,

Bob

--
http://www.fastmail.fm - The professional email service

2009\07\06@175819 by Sean Breheny

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On Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 1:14 PM, Michael
Rigby-Jones<Michael.Rigby-Jonesspamspam_OUToclaro.com> wrote:
> Almost, but not quite.  Are you suggesting they should give away a
> compiler that has no restrictions whatsoever?
>

Actually, I would say yes. I have never understood companies who
expect customers to buy, for a few hundred USD, a tool which simply
makes it easier for that same customer to buy more product. It's
almost like charging me to come into the store or charging me to "buy"
ads or a catalog. Microchip is in the business of selling ICs, not
software. Their compiler cannot be used to write code for competitor's
micros, so it is an ideal "loss leader" to get you to buy more micros
from Microchip.

Even when it comes to hobbyists/students, many of them turn into
engineers eventually. It would be very helpful to plant the seed of
familiarity with your ICs, which is much more likely to happen when
you allow them free access to quality software tools to use your ICs.

Sean

2009\07\06@192829 by Mike Harrison

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On Mon, 6 Jul 2009 17:58:17 -0400, you wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Many vendors have taken the approach of a free, unsupported  code-limited version, which means you
have full access to all the optimisations, while not losing sales to users doing larger projects for
whom the compiler cost is a small portion of overall dev costs.

The FPGA/CPLD guys also discovered this a while ago. Some of you may be old enough to remember when
entry costs for pretty much any PLD/FPGA development was well over $1K ( not counting palasm, which
was the assembler of its time)

I'd argue that these days, providing a free, reasonably performing C compiler is as essential a
sales  to a micro vendor as an assembler was 10 years ago.
Somewhat more so when the chip you are selling has such a compiler-unfriendly architecture that open
source compilers are unlikely to become a viable option as all sorts of very specific tweaks are
needed to get good performance.

Compare with Atmel, where GCC is useable and there are also free code-limited professional quality
tools (e.g. IAR).

The optimistic view is that Microchip bought Hitech so they could provide a decent free compiler,
and they will soon realise that  the way Hitech differentiatied free/paid-for products is likely to
be actively damaging to them and change to a free code-limited (I'd be happy with 4K) version.
 

2009\07\06@205308 by Terry Harris

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On Tue, 07 Jul 2009 00:28:16 +0100, you wrote:

>The optimistic view is that Microchip bought Hitech so they could provide a decent free compiler,
>and they will soon realise that  the way Hitech differentiatied free/paid-for products is likely to
>be actively damaging to them and change to a free code-limited (I'd be happy with 4K) version.

But Microchip already differentiate their free and paid for C18, C30 and
C32 compilers by crippling optimisation. The early versions of C32 were
code size limited and they changed to optimisation crippling.

Hi-Tech started to do what Microchip was already doing and now Microchip
bought Hi-Tech you think it will change?

The question is how crippled the compiler is without optimisation and I
know Hi-Tech PICC Pro for the 10/12/16 is much worse than C30 and probably
C32 (I haven't used C18 enough to judge).

So yes the free Hi-Tech versions could do with being less crippled but
perhaps the compiler architecture does not lend itself to just optimising a
bit.

Personally I hope Microchip reduce (eliminate)  the maintenance costs of
the Hi-Tech compilers, paying to get bugs fixed is the biggest turn off for
me.


2009\07\06@222808 by Sean Breheny

face picon face
Hi Mike,

That is pretty much my observation,  too. However, I think it is
short-sighted. If a large customer is going to buy 100K parts per year
from you, do you really care about that extra $1000 USD? I guess they
are trying to offset their software development costs by charging for
the full version of the compiler (which, I agree, is typical in this
industry), but I would think that it would generate a LOT of good will
among microcontroller users if Microchip gave away a full-featured,
free compiler for their parts.

Sean


On Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 7:28 PM, Mike Harrison<KILLspammikeKILLspamspamwhitewing.co.uk> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2009\07\06@223633 by Xiaofan Chen

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On Tue, Jul 7, 2009 at 10:28 AM, Sean Breheny<RemoveMEshb7TakeThisOuTspamcornell.edu> wrote:
> Hi Mike,
>
> That is pretty much my observation,  too. However, I think it is
> short-sighted. If a large customer is going to buy 100K parts per year
> from you, do you really care about that extra $1000 USD? I guess they
> are trying to offset their software development costs by charging for
> the full version of the compiler (which, I agree, is typical in this
> industry), but I would think that it would generate a LOT of good will
> among microcontroller users if Microchip gave away a full-featured,
> free compiler for their parts.

You have to be careful here. Doing that will irritate 3rd party compiler
vendors. So what Microchip has done with C18/C30/C32 is quite good.

On the other hand, ARM and 8051 MCU vendors normally leave the
compiler stuff for the compiler vendors. Yet they are still doing fine.
US$1000 is not a lot if your project cost a lot more. Actually Keil
and IAR typically cost more than US$1000.

--
Xiaofan http://mcuee.blogspot.com

2009\07\06@223854 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On Tue, Jul 7, 2009 at 8:52 AM, Terry Harris<spamBeGoneterry.harrisspamBeGonespaminame.com> wrote:
> But Microchip already differentiate their free and paid for C18, C30 and
> C32 compilers by crippling optimisation. The early versions of C32 were
> code size limited and they changed to optimisation crippling.
>
> Hi-Tech started to do what Microchip was already doing and now Microchip
> bought Hi-Tech you think it will change?
>
> The question is how crippled the compiler is without optimisation and I
> know Hi-Tech PICC Pro for the 10/12/16 is much worse than C30 and probably
> C32 (I haven't used C18 enough to judge).
>
> So yes the free Hi-Tech versions could do with being less crippled but
> perhaps the compiler architecture does not lend itself to just optimising a
> bit.
>
> Personally I hope Microchip reduce (eliminate)  the maintenance costs of
> the Hi-Tech compilers, paying to get bugs fixed is the biggest turn off for
> me.

Yes that will be quite good. Microchip's paying once and free upgrade
policy for C18/C30/C32 is really good. The pricing of C18/C30/C32 is
also very good. Hopefully Hitech's compiler will follow this soon.


--
Xiaofan http://mcuee.blogspot.com

2009\07\06@233111 by cdb

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A comment in a Microchip application note using HiTech C for UNIO
devices - brave man!

/** M A C R O S ****************************************************/
// WAIT_CCP1IF is equivalent to "while(CCP1IF == 0) {};" - the macro
//   was defined because the version of that line when compiled in
//   Lite mode is extremely inefficient.
#define WAIT_CCP1IF asm("bcf _STATUS,5"); \
                   asm("btfss _PIR1,5"); \
                   asm("goto $-1");

Sits back and waits for comments on the use of 'goto $-1' construct.
:)

Colin
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Web presence: http://www.btech-online.co.uk  

Hosted by:  http://www.1and1.co.uk/?k_id=7988359





2009\07\06@233220 by Terry Harris

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On Mon, 6 Jul 2009 22:28:07 -0400, you wrote:

>Hi Mike,
>
>That is pretty much my observation,  too. However, I think it is
>short-sighted. If a large customer is going to buy 100K parts per year
>from you, do you really care about that extra $1000 USD?

If you were in a position to buy 100k+ parts a year a sales rep would throw
free compilers at you if he thought it would help, but, the cost of a
compiler would be trivial to you anyway.

I got free tools from Lattice for several years for a single design win for
probably less than 200 parts total, but, it was in what they considered an
important company.

Giving away a fully optimising compiler to someone who can't afford it
today in the hope that tomorrow they will be buying thousands of parts and
buying them from you and not your competitor is a long shot IMO.

When I look at posts on the Microchip forum half the people you are giving
compilers to still won't be able to design a circuit or write a working
program tomorrow never mind buy thousands of parts.

2009\07\06@234652 by Sean Breheny

face picon face
On Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 11:32 PM, Terry Harris<RemoveMEterry.harrisspamTakeThisOuTiname.com> wrote:
> If you were in a position to buy 100k+ parts a year a sales rep would throw
> free compilers at you if he thought it would help, but, the cost of a
> compiler would be trivial to you anyway.
>
> I got free tools from Lattice for several years for a single design win for
> probably less than 200 parts total, but, it was in what they considered an
> important company.

I have been through this, with my company (not personal projects)
several times, and I have not been able to get free software dev
tools, even from vendors we buy a considerable quantity of parts from.
They insist on nickel and dime-ing that $400 or so out of us for some
reason. Does $400 matter to us? No, not really, it's more the hassle
of having to place an order, wait for the CDs to arrive, and then keep
renewing the license, buy more copies when we need additional seats,
etc. That ends up costing, easily, $5K worth of people's time each
year.

>
> Giving away a fully optimising compiler to someone who can't afford it
> today in the hope that tomorrow they will be buying thousands of parts and
> buying them from you and not your competitor is a long shot IMO.
>
> When I look at posts on the Microchip forum half the people you are giving
> compilers to still won't be able to design a circuit or write a working
> program tomorrow never mind buy thousands of parts.

If you took the time to write the compiler in the first place and keep
it updated, for the sake of the 100k+ customers, then there is no
additional cost to giving it away to anyone else. You don't have to
provide them with technical service for it - that can be fee-based (or
based on order quantity).


Sean

>
> -

2009\07\07@010632 by William \Chops\ Westfield

face picon face

On Jul 6, 2009, at 5:52 PM, Terry Harris wrote:

> But Microchip already differentiate their free and paid for C18, C30  
> and
> C32 compilers by crippling optimisation.

So what kind of output does microchip's free (student) version of C18  
produce for some of the examples that people have been posting?

I don't have any problems with a compiler vendor omitting their more  
complex optimizations in a free version.  I've used the free cc5x, and  
it claims this sort of behavior as well (and each compile says "the  
paid version would be N bytes smaller.") But in order for this to be  
an attractive option, the un-optimized code needs to be better than  
what Hi-tech's compiler is now emitting.   Taking 5 instructions (when  
one would do the same thing) to set a variable to zero is just not  
acceptable.  Ever.

Of course, they CAN do whatever they want.  I wasn't ever likely to  
buy the full professional version of their compiler.  I was sort of  
feeling friendly because their compiler would run on a mac, but I  
guess it is not to be.  Microchip (or Hi-tech) doesn't lose much by  
losing me as a customer; at most I might have published open-source  
code with their name attached "program compiler with Blah, version N."

BillW

2009\07\07@023017 by David Meiklejohn

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William \"Chops\" Westfield wrote:
>
> I don't have any problems with a compiler vendor omitting their more
> complex optimizations in a free version.  I've used the free cc5x, and
> it claims this sort of behavior as well (and each compile says "the
> paid version would be N bytes smaller.") But in order for this to be
> an attractive option, the un-optimized code needs to be better than
> what Hi-tech's compiler is now emitting.

Why?  How much is it costing you?

Yes, individual cases, such as generating 5 instructions when 1 would do,
are atrocious, but overall the "Lite mode" code is 40-50% bigger than the
optimised version (HI-TECH's estimate, but also what I've seen in my own
comparisons with PICC-Lite).

Now consider that the old PICC-Lite typically limited you to half the
program memory.  If the new compiler now lets you use the whole program
memory, but generates code 50% larger, you actually come out ahead - i.e.
you can write longer programs (more lines of source code) than before.

And since HI-TECH C PRO allows access to every bank of data memory (unlike
PICC-Lite for most of the devices it supports), and does not appear to
allocate registers any less efficiently than PICC-Lite (especially for
memory-hungry structures such as arrays - a 16-byte array is a 16-byte
array), it's possible to write more data-intensive code, for a wider range
of devices, than before - for free.

Overall, I don't see any downside, other than the code being ugly.

That's for midrange PICs.  Different story for the baseline architecture,
where PICC-Lite supports every device and has no program or data memory
size restrictions.  Also the 12F629/675 is fully supported with no
restrictions by PICC-Lite.  Then you're better off with PICC-Lite, every
time.

But for something like a 16F690 or 16F887, you're actually better off
using the new unoptimised compiler, despite them being supported by
PICC-Lite.

Just don't look at how ugly the generated code is!


Regards,

David Meiklejohn
http://www.gooligum.com.au



2009\07\07@031005 by Artem Zezyulinskiy

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Bob Blick a écrit :
> No. From the website:
> "This 'Lite mode' compiler has replaced the old PICC-Lite^(TM) freeware
> compiler."
>  
>>
>> And they still have the choice to use that.
>>    
>
> No, it's not available any more.
>  

Bob, it's always available on the site of Hi-Tech :


     HI-TECH PICC-Lite^^(TM) v9.60PL2 Compiler - legacy compiler:

http://www.htsoft.com/products/compilers/PICC-lite.php

and new


     HI-TECH C Compiler for PIC10/12/16 MCUs (Lite) - FREEWARE:

http://www.htsoft.com/products/compilers/piccpro-modes.php

I hope this will help you to provide the old version of compiler for
your project.

--
Artem ZEZYULINSKIY

2009\07\07@042308 by Mike Harrison

flavicon
face
On Mon, 6 Jul 2009 22:28:07 -0400, you wrote:

>Hi Mike,
>
>That is pretty much my observation,  too. However, I think it is
>short-sighted. If a large customer is going to buy 100K parts per year
>from you, do you really care about that extra $1000 USD? I guess they
>are trying to offset their software development costs by charging for
>the full version of the compiler (which, I agree, is typical in this
>industry), but I would think that it would generate a LOT of good will
>among microcontroller users if Microchip gave away a full-featured,
>free compiler for their parts.
>

There is another issue here - maintainance.
As a consultant I do designs for other companies, who expect to be able to take the work I've done
in the past and maintain it either themselves or by another consultant. In this scenario, paid-for
tools are an additional inconvenience & hassle.

I think the primary reason for  Microchip's success so far has been that they realised that small
users are important.
Nowadays, everyone expects to program a  micro in C, and most of the competition have free C
solutions, either GCC based or proprietory ( the latter sometimes code limited, but to a limit that
is still very useable).
Microchip's architecture _needs_ a proprietory compiler to work well, and unless they provide  a
better solution I think they will start losing out.
I currently 'default' to Atmel or ARM parts due to the availability of free code-limited
professional tools from IAR, and only used a PIC on a recent fast-turnround project as the pin
count/price fit was better than the ATmel parts I was familiar with & I knew the particular PIC well
from the past - it was only after getting stuck into it that I discovered  how broken the compiler
was and have ended up converting much of it to inlne assembler.
Next time I will spend longer looking at alternatives from other manufacturers.




2009\07\07@044902 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
> But Microchip already differentiate their free and paid
> for C18, C30 and C32 compilers by crippling optimisation.

But IIRC, there is still some basic optimisation done, it is just the higher
levels get turned off, which in the case of C18, also involve the use of the
extended instruction set which is supposedly designed to be instructions
designed for compiler efficient code.

I haven't checked what the different levels do in C30, but in the case of
C30 & C32, what gets turned off in the free version is access to the non-gcc
optimiser module that they have. I suspect this may be a peephole optimiser
rather like the Small-C compiler has.

Speaking of which, for the Hi-Tech compiler, how hard would it be to make a
peephole optimiser using something like Perl? Does Hi-Tech produce an
assembler source file that can be processed? Which version of the Hi-Tech
compiler is supplied with MPLAB? The current version or the older version?

2009\07\07@070303 by Michael Rigby-Jones

flavicon
face


{Quote hidden}

The original 'legacy' PICC-Lite compiler is downloadable from
http://www.htsoft.com/products/compilers/PICC-lite.php (once you have
registered).

Sure it's not going to get developed any more, but it's available and
useable.

Regards

Mike

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2009\07\07@115806 by Bob Blick

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flavicon
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On Tue, 7 Jul 2009 12:02:58 +0100, "Michael Rigby-Jones"
<RemoveMEMichael.Rigby-Jonesspam_OUTspamKILLspamoclaro.com> said:
> >
> > No. From the website:
> > "This 'Lite mode' compiler has replaced the old PICC-Lite(tm)
> > freeware compiler."
> >
> > No, it's not available any more.
>
>
> The original 'legacy' PICC-Lite compiler is downloadable from
> http://www.htsoft.com/products/compilers/PICC-lite.php (once you have
> registered).

Thanks. There's no link to that from anywhere on their website as far as
I can tell. Definitely nothing by the normal "downloads" path.

Cheerful regards,

Bob

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2009\07\07@120349 by Herbert Graf

picon face
On Tue, 2009-07-07 at 16:30 +1000, David Meiklejohn wrote:
> Overall, I don't see any downside, other than the code being ugly.

Umm, speed!??!? Let's see, taking 5 times LONGER to set something to
zero vs. the old version of the free compiler?

It's simply not acceptable, there is zero excuse. Had they been the only
option the situation would be horrible. As it is, it simply ensures I
won't consider their products at all, today, or tomorrow.

When a company does something sleezy like this it almost permanently
puts them on my "not interested" list.

TTYL

2009\07\07@120830 by Bob Blick

face
flavicon
face
> >
> > The original 'legacy' PICC-Lite compiler is downloadable from
> > http://www.htsoft.com/products/compilers/PICC-lite.php (once you have
> > registered).


The file does not exist, after logging in you just get into an endless
loop. Maybe they just don't want anyone to have it.

-Bob

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2009\07\07@123051 by Alan B. Pearce

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>The file does not exist, after logging in you just get into
>an endless loop. Maybe they just don't want anyone to have it.

Hmm, I downloaded it today, from that link ...

I did have to register first.

2009\07\07@125308 by Bob Blick

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On Tue, 7 Jul 2009 17:31:23 +0100, "Alan B. Pearce"
<RemoveMEAlan.B.PearceTakeThisOuTspamspamstfc.ac.uk> said:
> >The file does not exist, after logging in you just get into
> >an endless loop. Maybe they just don't want anyone to have it.
>
> Hmm, I downloaded it today, from that link ...
>
> I did have to register first.

After trying it a few times, I tried downloading one of the other
products, and that worked. Then I tried PICCLite again and it worked.
Weird.

-Bob

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2009\07\07@143427 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: EraseMEpiclist-bouncesspamspamspamBeGonemit.edu
> [RemoveMEpiclist-bouncesKILLspamspammit.edu] On Behalf Of Herbert Graf
> Sent: 07 July 2009 17:04
> To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
> Subject: Re: [PIC] Is Hitech C deliberately slugging code in
> the free version..?
>
> On Tue, 2009-07-07 at 16:30 +1000, David Meiklejohn wrote:
> > Overall, I don't see any downside, other than the code being ugly.
>
> Umm, speed!??!? Let's see, taking 5 times LONGER to set
> something to zero vs. the old version of the free compiler?
>
> It's simply not acceptable, there is zero excuse. Had they
> been the only option the situation would be horrible. As it
> is, it simply ensures I won't consider their products at all,
> today, or tomorrow.


Do you also believe that HiTech's previous FREE compiler was
unacceptable because it only supported a very few devices and had memory
limits on most of them?

They are now simply offering an alternative FREE compiler that is
crippled in a different way.  How on earth is this 'not acceptable'?
Does someone currently have a gun pressed to you head forcing you to use
this particular free compiler?  It's apparently very acceptable for a
large number of users who can now use any PIC they want, albeit with
higher memory usage and slower execution times.

Had you paid money for a compiler with this kind of performance I could
understand your attitude, but I am at a complete loss to understand this
outcry about a FREE product.

As for refusing to consider future purchases on the performance of a
free crippled compiler, this is sheer bloody mindedness (which of course
you are entirely entitled to).  If I were considering purchasing a
compiler, my peers would rightly consider me a fool for judging it's
performance on a crippled version if a full performance, uncrippled
version was freely available for evaluation.

Regards

Mike

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2009\07\07@151553 by Herbert Graf

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On Tue, 2009-07-07 at 19:34 +0100, Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:
> Do you also believe that HiTech's previous FREE compiler was
> unacceptable because it only supported a very few devices and had memory
> limits on most of them?

Nope, since that's the way it had always been. People knew going in what
the limitations were.

> They are now simply offering an alternative FREE compiler that is
> crippled in a different way.  How on earth is this 'not acceptable'?

It isn't an alternative, it's a replacement. Yes, the old one is still
available, but it's not going to be updated. Anyone familiar with
compilers knows that a compiler that isn't receiving bug fixes is worse
then useless, it WILL end up wasting your time.

> Does someone currently have a gun pressed to you head forcing you to use
> this particular free compiler?  It's apparently very acceptable for a
> large number of users who can now use any PIC they want, albeit with
> higher memory usage and slower execution times.

I never said it wasn't useful.

> Had you paid money for a compiler with this kind of performance I could
> understand your attitude, but I am at a complete loss to understand this
> outcry about a FREE product.

My outcry is the "redefinition" of the product. Yes, they added
something really nice, but they took a huge thing away, and DIDN'T TELL
PEOPLE ABOUT IT. That's what "grinds my gears". If they said that all
optimization was gone, that code that fit and ran at a certain speed
with the old compiler would be significantly bigger and run much slower
I'd be more understanding. They didn't: people had to figure that out by
themselves. This tells me they KNEW it would upset people, so they hid
it, hoping no-one would notice. Ooops, bad move.

> As for refusing to consider future purchases on the performance of a
> free crippled compiler, this is sheer bloody mindedness (which of course
> you are entirely entitled to).  If I were considering purchasing a
> compiler, my peers would rightly consider me a fool for judging it's
> performance on a crippled version if a full performance, uncrippled
> version was freely available for evaluation.

I'm not judging the compiler, it is what it is. I'm judging the company.

I don't like the idea of giving money to a company that treats it's
users like that. If they had been honest from the beginning I'd be a
little more OK with it. The fact that they weren't, that people had to
waste time trying to figure out why code that used to fit without issue
now requires a part much bigger on their own is unacceptable IMHO.

A compiler is supposed to SAVE you time, not waste it trying to figure
out what slimy thing the vendor did to muck things up.

TTYL

2009\07\08@072147 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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{Quote hidden}

When you download the compiler, the web page has a table comparing the
features of Lite mode with Pro mode, which clearly shows which
optimisations are disabled (all of them except a few printf
optimisations).  Hardly typical behaviour for a company trying to hide
something is it?

There are a lot of people using this compiler, I guess it can't be as
useless or as upsetting to people as you seem to think.  I see the very
occaisional post on the support forum from people reaching the
limitations of the Lite compiler, either getting lower than expected
speeds when bit bashing various peripherals, or running out of memory on
smaller devices, generaly when trying to use floating point math and/or
formatted I/O functions.  However, assembly can still be used for speed
critical stuff if required and the compiler allows you to use the larger
PIC's with lots of peripherals, so bit bashing stuff can be avoided in
many cases, and you can use all of the memory in these parts.  This is
no different to the limited free versions of other tools, e.g. Eagle
where you are limited to a small PCB size with two layers.

Regarding the legacy compiler, it was based on the last version of the
previous compiler generation (prior to the OCG comilers), so it's quite
a mature compiler.  There are still many people using that version as
well so clearly it's not worse than useless.

Seems to me that unless HiTech give away a full compiler and free
support then you are never going to be happy with them.

Regards

Mike

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2009\07\08@202253 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Herbert Graf wrote:

> It isn't an alternative, it's a replacement. Yes, the old one is still
> available, ...

So there seems to be an alternative, no? :)

> ... but it's not going to be updated. Anyone familiar with compilers
> knows that a compiler that isn't receiving bug fixes is worse then
> useless, it WILL end up wasting your time.

FWIW, I've been working with this line of compilers (paid license) since
1997 or so. In the first few years I remember finding the odd bug, but
for the last few years it's been quite stable. I didn't upgrade to their
new line of "Pro" compilers, and I also didn't update my compiler for a
while now, so I'm in a situation that's not that different from using
this free compiler -- and it hasn't wasted my time so far. I'm compiling
some rather complex projects with it.

> My outcry is the "redefinition" of the product. Yes, they added
> something really nice, but they took a huge thing away, and DIDN'T
> TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT.

What do you mean by "didn't tell"? It seems they published the fact.

Gerhard

2009\07\09@025134 by SME

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>> Almost, but not quite.  Are you suggesting they should give away a
>> compiler that has no restrictions whatsoever?

Zilog gave away a C compiler with their SDks that they had to pay a
fee to the software provider for for each one that was registered.

They also sold true ICE's at utter bargain basement prices for what they did.

The processors were also bearably good.

Shame about the support and reaction to reported repeatable documented bugs.

According to what I read recently, with defections of development
staff to form other spinoffs they no longer have enough qualified
design staff to produce new silicon. Whether this is true I don't
know. (Defection to form spinoffs is a part of Zilog's origins so if
it also proves to be their demise it will be poetic). (Their website
doen't seem to suggest they are in any way moribund -
http://www.zilog.com )

> Actually, I would say yes. I have never understood companies who
> expect customers to buy, for a few hundred USD, a tool which simply
> makes it easier for that same customer to buy more product.

Zilog's approach seemed truly enlightened. They also did (do?) good
seminars. Shame about the background support when the going got really
tough).



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