For those programmers old enough to have developed under DOS, especially in Nantucket's Clipper1, PLINK was the name of the dominant linker program at that time. PLINK was short for PLINK86, a DOS program linker produced by Phoenix Software Associates2.

Although PLINK could be used as a substitute for the LINK program that came free with most versions of MSDOS, it really came into its own when it came to tricks of advanced (at the time) memory management. In particular, PLINK brought dynamic overlay management to the limited address space of DOS: A program could be written such that a number of independent subprograms were loaded into the same memory space when needed and swapped out when not. CLIPPER was the first (and perhaps only) compiler that made use of this technology. To the developer, this meant that a CLIPPER program could essentially be as big as you pleased, a Megabyte and more!

The many funky abilities of PLINK could of course not be controlled through the simple (and in my eyes, brain-dead) command argument scheme of LINK, so PLINK was not a drop-in replacement for LINK. This didn't matter much as those who used PLINK never looked back. It was customary to write a linker script to use with PLINK.

  1. Remember Clipper's version names? "Summer 87", "Winter 87", ... ?
  2. I'm not sure, but I believe this "Phoenix" is not the same outfit that still builds BIOSes for PC motherboards these days.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.