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JRT (programming language)

JRT (Jim Russell Tyson) is an implementation of the Pascal programming language. It was available in the early 1980s on the CP/M operating system.

At the end of the 1970s, the most popular Pascal implementation for microcomputers was UCSD Pascal, which many people considered overpriced at hundreds of dollars. The original basis for UCSD Pascal was the p-machine compiler from ETH Zurich, the originators of Pascal. JRT was a Pascal interpreter that compiled to its own pseudocode separate from UCSD Pascal p-code. It was written by Jim Russell Tyson, who sold it cheaply, reducing the price from $295.00 to $29.95.

In the early 1980s various organizations developed compilers for USCD Pascal on microcomputers. UCSD's developers announced that they were working on a native" compiler that would essentially would convert UCSD from an interpreter to a compiled, native system in one step. JRT was able to get considerable attention for several months by being a much cheaper alternative to UCSD Pascal. This lasted less than a year, as Borland began selling Turbo Pascal. However, JRT was very important in that it established a low price precedent (less than $100) for a Pascal implementation.

After receiving too many orders of JRT Pascal for it to fill— Jerry Pournelle reported in BYTE that Sarah Smith had not received the software eight months after ordering—JRT Systems filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on 18 November 1983. The product eventually continued through a version 4 priced at $69.95 and along with a Modula-2 at $99.95 may have been successful had not Turbo Pascal shown up for about the same price. Turbo Pascal was a true compiler with an IDE as well as a business model that allowed it to meet customer demand. JRT was said to have later been sold under the name "Nevada Pascal" by Ellis Computing.


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