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Polyglot

A program in eight languages.

Chris Tham Chris Tham 2001-12-01 4 min read

According to Wikipedia:

In computing, a polyglot is a computer program or script written in a valid form of multiple programming languages or file formats.

One of the fun projects I was a part of when I was studying Computer Science was creating a polyglot with a number of friends. My contribution, which I am not sure I should be proud of, was adding shell script (and one other language which I can’t remember but I am hoping it wasn’t COBOL or FORTRAN).

The program gained notoriety in the early 1990s and was posted on USENET a number of times and probably circulated around the world a few times.

In honour of our dubious efforts, here is a version of that original program (updated in 2001 to include Perl). Note: the blank lines at the beginning of the source file are important as they are interpreted as machine code in 80x86. Yes, if you rename the file as a .COM in MS-DOS, it actually is a valid executable!

                                                                                 
                                                                              
                                                                         (*O/*_/
Cu  #%* )pop mark/CuG 4 def/# 2 def%%%%@@P[TX---P\P_SXPY!Ex(mx2ex("SX!Ex4P)Ex=
CuG #%*                                                                  *+Ex=
CuG #%*------------------------------------------------------------------*+Ex=
CuG #%*   POLYGLOT - a program in eight languages      15 February 1991  *+Ex=
CuG #%*   10th Anniversary Edition                      1 December 2001  *+Ex=
CuG #%*                                                                  *+Ex=
CuG #%*   Written by Kevin Bungard, Peter Lisle, and Chris Tham          *+Ex=
CuG #%*                                                                  *+Ex=
CuG #%*   Polyglot suports the following languages:                      *+Ex=
CuG #%*     1. COBOL (ANSI)                                              *+Ex=
CuG #%*     2. Pascal (ISO)                                              *+Ex=
CuG #%*     3. Fortran (ANSI, f77)                                       *+Ex=
CuG #%*     4. C (ANSI-ish)                                              *+Ex=
CuG #%*     5. PostScript                                                *+Ex=
CuG #%*     6. Linux/Unix shell script (bash, sh, csh)                   *+Ex=
CuG #%*     7. Intel x86 machine language (MS-DOS, Win32, Linux)         *+Ex=
CuG #%*     8. Perl (version 5)                                          *+Ex=
CuG #%*                                                                  *+Ex=
CuG #%*   Usage:                                                         *+Ex=
CuG #%*     1. Rename this file to polyglot.[cob|pas|f77|c|ps|sh|com|pl] *+Ex=
CuG #%*                                                                  *+Ex=
CuG #%*     2. Compile and run with your favorite compiler and operating *+Ex=
CuG #%*        system.                                                   *+Ex=
CuG #%*                                                                  *+Ex=
CuG #%*   Notes:                                                         *+Ex=
CuG #%*     1. We have attempted to use only standard language features. *+Ex=
CuG #%*                                                                  *+Ex=
CuG #%*     2. Without the -traditional flag gcc will issue a warning.   *+Ex=
CuG #%*                                                                  *+Ex=
CuG #%*     3. When transferring from Unix to DOS make sure that a LF    *+Ex=
CuG #%*        is correctly translated into a CR/LF.                     *+Ex=
CuG #%*                                                                  *+Ex=
CuG #%*     4. Keep the black lines at the start of the program. They    *+Ex=
CuG #%*        are important.                                            *+Ex=
CuG #%*                                                                  *+Ex=
CuG #%*     5. This text is a comment block in all eight languages.      *+Ex=
CuG #%*                                                                  *+Ex=
CuG #%*   Please mail any comments, corrections or additions to          *+Ex=
CuG #%*   polyglot@ideology.com.au                                       *+Ex=
CuG #%*                                                                  *+Ex=
CuG #%*------------------------------------------------------------------*QuZ=
CuG #%*                                                                  *+Ex=
CuG #%*!Mx)ExQX5ZZ5SSP5n*5X!)Ex+ExPQXH,B+ExP[-9A-9B(g?(gA'UTTER_XYZZXX!X *+   
CuG #(*                                                                  *(   
C   # */);                                                              /*(   
C   # *)  program        polyglot (output);                             (*+   
C   #     identification division.                                            
C   #     program-id.    polyglot.                                            
C   #                                                                         
C   #     data           division.                                            
C   #     procedure      division.                                            
C   #                                                                         
C   # * ))cleartomark   /Bookman-Demi findfont 36 scalefont setfont     (     
C   # *                                                                 (     
C   #                                                                         
C   # *                  hello polyglots$                                     
C   #     main.                                                               
C   #         perform                                                         
C  /# * ) 2>_$$; echo   "hello polyglots"; rm _$$; exit;                      
C   # * (                                                                     
C   #                                                                         
C     *0 ) unless print "hello polyglots\n"; __END__                          
              print                                                           
C             stop run.                                                       
     -*,                'hello polyglots'                                     
C                                                                             
C         print.                                                              
C             display   "hello polyglots".                              (     
C     */  int i;                                                        /*    
C     */  main () {                                                     /*    
C     */      i=printf ("hello polyglots\n"); O= &i; return *O;         /*    
C     *)                                                                (*    
C     *)  begin                                                         (*    
C     *)      writeln  ('hello polyglots');                             (*    
C     *)                                                                (* )  
C     * ) pop 60 360                                                    (     
C     * ) pop moveto    (hello polyglots) show                          (     
C     * ) pop showpage                                                  ((    
C     *)                                                                      
           end                                                          .(* ) 
C)pop%     program       polyglot.                                      *){*/}

For reference, the authoritative source of Polyglot is here.

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