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bigFORTH is a native code Forth. It is available for Linux and Windows 2000/XP under GPL. The most striking feature is the graphical user interface MINOS (GUI in Forth) and the form editor Theseus (Theseus is still beta). These are the other features of bigFORTH:

bigFORTH was originally developed on the Atari ST for the Motorola 68k processor. Later, I ported it to the Intel 386, running under a DOS extender (GO32). These products are commercial; they have extensive documentation. For historical reasons, you can download the latest [zip]bigFORTH-ST (442k) version here.

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MINOS logo

xmas tree MINOS is a graphic user interface (GUI) for X, written for bigFORTH-Linux and bigFORTH-Win32. It includes a rapid GUI developement editor (Theseus).

MINOS is available under the GPL, not the LGPL. I want to stress that this means you cannot develop applications with it that are not either under the GPL, or distributed seperately as sources, just as with other GPLed libraries (for example, readline). For people wanting to develop applications with it that are under different licencing conditions, a [html]commercial licence is available at request so that MINOS can be a choice for proprietary systems, too. I'll certainly give major contributors a fair share.

You find more information in the [ps-gz]paper (157k) I presented at the [html]EuroForth '97 conference. More recent informations are in the [ps-gz]second paper (122k) presented on [html]EuroForth '98. There's also a paper in describing the [pdf]DragonGraphics (187k), also available in [pdf]German (181k).


Current version is bigFORTH 2.4.0, Minos 1.4.0, from 22mar2010.

The version 2.4.0 from 22mar2010 contains more ports, more Forth 200x features:

See further changes in the [html]Changelog file.

Release policy

The release policy is now a pretty fixed and reliable schedule: A new minor release comes out once per year, usually in the window between new year and Forth Tagung, and is followed by urgend fixes if necessary. The development activity is released early and often in the [html]subversion repository.

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Download the current bigFORTH+MINOS (pre-beta on Windows) release now (includes bigFORTH for Linux or Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000). The packages are signed with my [gpg-asc]PGP key.

Linux version

The package is split up into five parts. You need source and documentation for start, the other packets are either optional or for convenience. To unpack it, unpack all the files from the same directory. They all unpack into the subdirectory bigforth. cd there and type make, to create the rest. Type make install if you want a system-wide installation. You can use the configure script ( ./configure --prefix=your path) to let it install in another path. Note that bigFORTH now is for glibc based systems only, because I want to force you to upgrade. You might be able to compile for libc5 using an old version, but I don't encourage you to do so.

I packed these tar archives with [html]bzip2, to save you download time (except that you need to install bzip2 - if you don't have it already). The signature fires allow you to check the integrity of the files with gpg --verify signature.

Windows version

Big Red Warning Label: This is beta code. It still may crash. It is not supposed to do this, but bugs happen. If you find one, please report it. The Windows version is still looking for a maintainer who helps to get the bugs out.

[exe]Windows Package (1962k) (sig): An autoinstalling package for those who don't have decided to switch to Linux yet. Includes everything you want on Windows. Unpack with a doubleclick. Uninstall before installing the next verion, please. Don't even try it on Windows 9x/ME. Last change: 22mar2010, rev 2.4.0.

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See Theseus in action

Theseus in action

Theseus generates object oriented Forth code, look at the [m]calculator code.

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Mailing Lists

There are two mailing lists around bigFORTH and MINOS-related topics: [net]bigforth-devel@lists.sourceforge.net and [net]bigforth-minos@lists.sourceforge.net.

Read old postings in the list archive of the bigFORTH and MINOS list.

Subscribe by filling in the form for the bigFORTH list, or the MINOS list. Subscriptions will be pending until I confirm, to avoid SPAM.

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Created 21may1997. Last modified: 19jan2013 by MailBernd PaysanPGP key