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The historical notes included here are fairly incomplete, and not authoritative at all. Please knowledgeable users help us to more properly write this section.
GPM has been an important ancestor of
C. Stratchey: "A General Purpose Macro generator", Computer Journal
8,3 (1965), pp. 225 ff.
GPM is also succintly described into
David Gries classic "Compiler Construction for Digital Computers".
GPM was pure,
m4 was meant to deal more
with the true intricacies of real life: macros could be recognized
with being pre-announced, skipping whitespace or end-of-lines was
made easier, more constructs were builtin instead of derived, etc.
m4 was the engine for Rational FORTRAN preprocessor,
that is, the
ratfor equivalent of
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