Lint programming tool

From Academic Kids

Lint is a computer programming tool that performs the lexical and syntactic portions of the compilation with substantial additional checks, noting when variables had been used before being set, when they were used as a datatype other than that of their definition, and numerous other programming errors.

The name of the program was derived from the notion that it would lead to "cleaner", more desirable programming, by picking the "lint" -- little bits of fluff -- out of one's code.

Many of the forms of analysis performed by Lint are also required by optimising compilers, so nowadays compiler warnings provide many of the features of Lint.

Lint also does some kinds of analysis that compilers typically don't do, such as cross-module consistency checking, and checking that the code will be portable to other compilers.

Lint first appeared (outside of Bell Labs) in the seventh version (V7) of the UNIX operating system in 1979. It was a part of PCC, the Portable C Compiler, which was a second compiler included with that system (aside from the principal PDP-11 compiler).

Splint is a modernized successor.

References

Stephen Johnson. Lint, a C program checker. Computer Science Technical Report 65, Bell Laboratories, December 1977.

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