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Ѵishap Oberon

Ѵishap Oberon is a free and open source (GPLv3) implementation of the Oberon-2 language and libraries for use on conventional operating systems such as Linux, BSD, Android, Mac and Windows.

Vishap's Oberon Compiler (voc) uses a C backend (gcc, clang or msc) to compile Oberon programs under Unix, Mac or Windows. Vishap Oberon includes libraries from the Ulm, oo2c and Ofront Oberon compilers, as well as default libraries complying with the Oakwood Guidelines for Oberon-2 compilers.


    Compiling a 'Hello' application
    Platform support and porting
    Language support and libraries
    Origin of the name "Ѵishap Oberon"


It is easy to install the Oberon compiler and libraries with the following simple steps:

  1. Install pre-requisites such as git, gcc, static C libraries, diff utils.
  2. Clone the repository and run 'make full'.
  3. Optionally install to a system directory such as /opt or /usr/local/share with 'make install'.
  4. Set your PATH variable to include the compiler binary.

These are detailed below:

1. Install prerequisites

Platform Packages
Debian/Ubuntu/Mint ... apt-get install git
Fedora/RHEL/CentOS ... yum install git gcc glibc-static (dnf instead of yum on recent Fedoras)
FreeBSD/OpenBSD/NetBSD pkg install git
OpenSUSE zypper install gcc git-core make glibc-devel-static
Cygwin use setup-x86[_x64] to add packages git, make, diffutils and gcc-core
Darwin type 'git' at the command line and accept the prompt to install it.

More details, including for MingW and MS C, in Installation.

2. Clone and build the compiler and libraries

  1. git clone
  2. cd voc
  3. make full

make full will create an installation directory under your local repository at voc/install.

mmake full runs ldconfig to configure the linker to find libraries in voc/install, but you need to update your program search PATH yourself (see step 4 below).

3. Optionally install to a system directory

Run make install as root to copy the voc/install directory to the appropriate directory for your OS as follows:

System Where make install puts the installation
Linux /opt/voc
BSD /usr/local/share/voc
Windows See Windows installation
Termux /data/data/com.termux/files/opt/voc

make install updates ldconfg with the new library locations.

4. Set your PATH environment variable

Since there are so many ways that different systems and users manage their PATHs, we leave it to you to update your path to include the compiler binary.

Both make full and make install display instructions on setting the path specific to your system.

For reference this will be:

Installation choice Set path
Just make full export PATH="your-repository-clone/install/bin:$PATH"
make install on Linux export PATH="/opt/voc/bin:$PATH"
make install on BSD export PATH="/usr/local/share/voc/bin:$PATH"
make install on Windows See Windows installation
make install on Termux export PATH="/data/data/com.termux/files/opt/voc/bin:$PATH"

Also see Installation.

The compiler finds the rest of the installation based on the location from which it is loaded.

A 'Hello' application

Anything appended to Oberon.Log is automatically written to stdout, so the following conventional Oberon program will display 'Hello.':

MODULE hello;
  IMPORT Oberon, Texts;
  VAR W: Texts.Writer;
  Texts.WriteString(W, "Hello."); Texts.WriteLn(W);
  Texts.Append(Oberon.Log, W.buf)
END hello.

Alternatively the Oakwood module Out can be used to write directly to stdout:

MODULE hello;
  Out.String("Hello."); Out.Ln
END hello.

Compile as follows:

voc hello.mod -m

The -m parameter tells voc that this is a main module, and to generate an executable binary.

Execute as usual on Linux (./hello) or Windows (hello).

For more details on compilation, see Compiling.

Viewing the interfaces of included modules.

In order to see the definition of a module's interface, use the "showdef" program.

$ showdef Out

    IsConsole-: BOOLEAN;

  PROCEDURE Int(x: INT64; n: INT64);
  PROCEDURE LongReal(x: LONGREAL; n: INT16);
  PROCEDURE Real(x: REAL; n: INT16);

END Out.


Vishap Oberon's frontend and C backend engine is a fork of Josef Templ’s Ofront, which has been released under the FreeBSD License. Unlike Ofront, Vishap Oberon does not include the Oberon v4 GUI environment.

The Ulm Oberon Library and the Ooc libraries are distributed under GPL. Proprietry code using these libraries may not be statically linked.

Voc tools are distributed under GPLv3.

Most of the runtime in libVishapOberon is distributed under GPLv3 with runtime exception.

Platform support and porting

Vishap Oberon supports 32 and 64 bit little-endian architectures including Intel x86 and x64, arm and ppc.

It compiles under gcc, clang and Microsoft Visual C.

Installation supports GNU/Linux, MAC OSX, BSD and Windows (native and cygwin).

A C program (src/tools/make/configure.c) detects the details of the C compiler and operating system on which it is running.

The following systems are recognised:

  • Linux, including Ubuntu and Centos derivatives.
  • The BSDs, including OpenBSD and FreeBSD.
  • Cygwin under Windows, MingW under Cygwin, Bash on Ubuntu on Windows.

Additionally a Windows .cmd is provided for building with Microsoft C.

For details, including how to add support for unrecognised systems, see Porting.

Language support and libraries

Vishap Oberon supports the Oberon 2 programming language, including type-bound procedures. SYSTEM.Mod includes additional functionality and some changes for 64 bit support.

Integer and set type sizes:

Type -O2 option (default) -OC option
SHORTINT 8 bit 16 bit
INTEGER 16 bit 32 bit
LONGINT 32 bit 64 bit
SET 32 bit 64 bit


Included libraries ease porting of code from the major Oberon systems:

  • Oberon V4 and S3 compatible library set.
  • Ooc (optimizing oberon-2 compiler) library port.
  • Ulm’s Oberon system library port.
  • Oakwood standard libraries.
  • Some other freely redistributable libraries.

Oakwood libraries are supported for both -O2 and -OC options, whereas the ULM, OOC and ETH system 3 libraries are only available on -O2 (default) compilations.

Vishap Oberon also supports some features of Oberon-07.

See also Features.


Joseph Templ developed ofront as a tool to translate Oberon-2 programs into semantically equivalent C programs. It was Copyrighted in 1995, and transferred to the Free BSD license in 2012.

From Joseph's github repository:

Design and implementation of ofront is due to Josef Templ ... ofront has been based in part on Regis Crelier's PhD thesis and Stefan Gehring's diploma thesis, both at ETH Zurich, Institute for Computer Systems.

Norayr Chilingarian forked ofront in 2013, porting extensive libraries from ULM Oberon, OO2C and ETH Oberon System 3, and adding support for more platforms including 64 bit systems.

David Brown has worked on adding support for more platforms incuding windows using MSC, cygwin or mingw since January 2016. More recently he has generalised basic type support within the compiler to allow e.g. 64 bit LONGINT on 32 bit systems, and 32 bit LONGINT on 64 bit systems.

Origin of the name "Ѵishap Oberon"


Oberon is a programming language, an operating system and a graphical user interface. Originally designed and implemented by by Niklaus Wirth and Jürg Gutknecht at ETH Zürich in the late 1980s, it demonstrates that the fundamentals of a modern OS and GUI can be implemented in clean and simple code orders of magnitude smaller than found in contemporary systems.

The Oberon programming language is an evolution of the Pascal and Modula languages. While it adds garbage collection, extensible types and (in Oberon-2) type-bound procedures, it is also simplified following the principals of Einstein and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler. (Albert Einstein)

Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away. (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, translated by Lewis Galantière.)


Vishaps are dragons inhabiting the Armenian Highlands. We decided to name the project “Vishap” because ties between compilers and dragons have ancient traditions.

Also, Vishaps are known in tales, fiction. This page refers to some technologies as “computer science fiction”. Among them to Oberon. This brings another meaning, Oberon is like aliens, ghosts. And Vishaps.


Oberon 2
Oberon 07


See History.