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There were actually two separate versions:
- "Old" Algol, which ran on and generated code for the Nova series of 16 bit computers. The compiler only did a little optimization. It was only available on the RDOS family of operating systems.
- DG/L, which was developed by extensively modifying the Fortran 5 optimizing compiler. This compiler ran only on the Eclipse and Eclipse/MV family of computers but generated optimized code for the Nova, Eclipse and Eclipse/MV (Eagle) family. It was available on RDOS, AOS and AOS/VS.
The language itself was an extended version of Algol 60. It supported Integers, Single and Double precision floating point and complex numbers, and both fixed and arbitrary precision strings. It also supported full arbitrary precision BCD arithmetic on strings. It had a large number of convenient program flow features, but having been designed in the mid 70s, lacked user defined data structures.
DG/L had a substantial runtime library for its day, and was used for systems programming both within and outside of Data General.
Originally called Algol/5, the product renamed DG/L shortly before the first commercial release in 1978. Officially, the name is meaningless but it was apparently supposed to imply "Data General Language". After the first commercial release, targeting 16 bit Eclipse and Nova, several subsequent updates and major versions were released, approximately one a year.
- DG/L Compiler Reference Manual, Data General Corp, 1978
- DG/L Runtime Reference Manual, Data General Corp, 1978