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GNU macro processor

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1.2 Historical references

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 m4. See 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".

While 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.

Originally, m4 was the engine for Rational FORTRAN preprocessor, that is, the ratfor equivalent of cpp.


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