Rohit's Realm - September 24, 2010

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September 24, 2010

Fun with Flex, Bison, and Friends

The past month has been particularly prolific for me, if this (worthless) site is any indication. I wrote more regularly in the last three weeks elapsed than I had in the past three years.

But the all-consuming dragon of existential angst that is a mainstay of my most trivial and farcical condition in this miserable life is not easy to slay. So in addition to readin' and writin', I have also been spending some quality time with a dear old friend of mine from a past life: the C programming language (not quite arithmetic, but close enough). It's hard to contemplate killing oneself when all your ire is directed at gcc.

In this post, I discuss a particularly pernicious bug that has plagued me into the wee hours for two days in a row with flex/bison. (Most of you, therefore, can safely skip this entry. But I warn you: nothing invokes the disaffection, misanthropy, or self-loathing for which this site is renown quite like computer science.) The problem and (hopefully) its solution after the jump.