Back in the day I bought SAS/C for the Amiga. I seem to recall that before that there was Aztec C, Manx C, and Lattice C that were the major commercial C compilers for the platform. I never used them.

At some point there appeared a great homebrew C compiler called DICE. At least I think it was what we would call homebrew since it was made by one guy, Matt Dillon. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

I'm not sure if it was released at the end of the '80s or a couple of years into the '90s. I'm pretty sure it was during the A500+A2000 era and before the AGA chipset. But I can't find anything online about its early history.

I believe it went freeware or open source at some point, perhaps after most people started moving away from the Amiga in the 486 era?

So when was DICE C first released, and when did it become free? Did DICE come out before gcc was ported to the Amiga?

1 Answer 1


As you said, there were two dominant commercial C compilers for the Amiga in the late-80s: Manx Aztec C and Lattice C. Lattice C later was acquired by SAS and renamed to SAS/C. These two competed for Amiga developer share, and both were pretty expensive, as compilers tended to be at that time. I recall paying about $500 in 1988/89 for a bare-bones version of Aztec C to run on an Amiga 1000 with two floppy drives.

At the same time, Matt Dillon, while a student at Berkeley, was also a quite prolific publisher of public domain/freeware software for the Amiga. He was well-known because the Amiga had a vibrant scene for freeware and his programs were always top-notch. I recall early versions of DICE C being available in 1991. This was a welcome addition because it was initially free and was similar in capabilities to Manx Aztec C and SAS/C. As I recall, I stuck with Aztec C because it had a more capable debugger at that time.

Even though my personal recall places the beginnings of DICE C at 1991, there is text that reads "Copyright 1990 by Matt Dillon" in some of the files in the v1.15 archive of DICE - found here. In addition, you can find this text on that same page: "This is the DICE C compiler suite which I wrote as shareware for the Amiga in the early 90's." Presumably, that statement was written by Dillon when he updated the licensing recently to be open source, BSD.

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    I'd put it at 1991 too: to my eternal shame, I wrote a really badly-researched review of Matt's compiler for (I think) Just Amiga Monthly. Commodore (UK) wouldn't supply the "Includes & Autodocs" required to make the compiler useful to individuals, so you already had to have either Aztec or Lattice C to make DICE work.
    – scruss
    Dec 24, 2023 at 15:41

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