And you thought BASIC was a bad language?

But BASIC was fun, especially on some of the 8-bit microcomputers of the 1980s. Most of these machines had BASIC in ROM and within three seconds after you switched the machine on, you were greeted with a prompt and you were ready to type in a BASIC program. On some machines, like the ZX-Spectrum or the BBC Micro you were immediately ready to enter commands to draw lines on the screen.

When you run Linux, you can choose between quite a few BASIC interpreters that are written by amateurs. But, when I wrote my own Basic interpreter in 1997, none of these came close to QBASIC under MSDOS 6.22. They were either buggy or incomplete or slow. Did you ever notice that bwbasic is so awfully slow? If you are accustomed to an old Commodore 64, probably not. But on a Pentium it ought to be at least 2 orders of magnitude faster! My attempt to write a BASIC interpreter is still very unfinished, but it is fast!. You can download it here. This is distributed under the GNU General Public License. It offers most functionality of BWBASIC, except PRINT USING and random access files. In the long run it should have offered much more, but it was never developed further. Twenty years later, I had to add an extra include line to the main C source file to make it compile, but after that it will run and pass the regression test on a modern 64-bit Linux system.

In the meantime, many different Basic versions have been developed, including some open source versions that will run under Linux. Some versions I tried are:

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