Niklaus Wirth RIP, 15 February 1934 – 1 January 2024

Reported today that Niklaus Wirth has died. I thought it might be nice to share any related links, videos, or threads found here (or elsewhere.)

(From video Niklaus Wirth, 1984 ACM Turing Award Recipient)

The School of Wirth is a minisite by @HansOtten on Wirth’s languages and legacy (mentioned here)

Of course we have many previous threads mentioning Wirth, or Pascal, Oberon or the Lilith machine. Here are a few picks

Here Wirth demonstrates Oberon and the Ceres machine (via)

From The History of Apple’s Pascal “Syntax” Poster, 1979-80

Also see


ElReg had a decent obit: RIP: Software design pioneer Niklaus Wirth • The Register


Never met him personally, although he lived close by.
I still need to repair my Lilith, might even reconstruct one using spare parts I have.
Meanwhile anyone wanting to try Modula on the Lilith can download my Lilith Emulator “Emulith”


What is the difference between Modula and Modula 2?
Can you run Modula 2.

According to Wikipedia, Modula-2 added:

  • modules
  • coroutines
  • access to machine-specific data

Looking at “Programming in Modula-2” it looks like the last item means e.g. more direct access to memory and pointers.

Note that Modula-3 was not by Wirth, though, I clarified this in the Wikipedia page now (we’ll see whether it survives the Wikistapo.)

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Thanks - some nice links in there too! Particularly it reminds me of Oberon, which (AIUI) goes all the way from CPU design, through OS, to windowing system, all in a very clear way.

In his work, the languages and tools he created, in his eloquent plea for smaller, more efficient software – even in the projects from which he quit – his influence on the computer industry has been almost beyond measure.

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ETH Zurich, where Dr. Wirth was on the faculty for over 30 years, has put out an obituary:


I remember reading the code for his PL/0 compiler one day, and marveling at its simplicity. Oberon (and its FPGA computer) are on my “round tuit” list, which alas is excessively large.

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Mine is lost in cardboard box some where, in the JUNK closet. Compiling code is easy,
but most books just gloss over the important code generation section. Wirth was a bit better.
Untill I get my hardware working, software is minor issue, and I will look at Oberon again
or some other language.