+cowbel is a minimalist but expressive statically typed programming language
+which compiles into real machine code via C. It has generics, interfaces, a
+garbage collector, non-nullable types, an object-oriented system based on
+The purpose of cowbel is to fit the niche where hard-core systems languages
+like C or C++ are too much work, but dynamic or virtual-machine languages
+like Python or Java are too heavyweight. cowbel programs compile into
+standalone executables with few dependencies that have comparable size and
+In order to use cowbel, currently you need:
+ - a Unixish. There is nothing platform-specific in cowbel, but I wrote it on
+ Linux and that's what everything assumes. If you want it to work on
+ anything else you'll need to hack it.
+ - Java 6 or above with the following Apache Commons modules:
+ IO: http://commons.apache.org/io/
+ Lang: http://commons.apache.org/lang/
+ CLI: http://commons.apache.org/cli/
+ - The Boehm garbage collector:
+If you have Debian, you've already got all these. Merely install these
+ libgc-dev libcommons-io-java libcommons-lang3-java libcommons-cli-java
+Once this is all set up, build it with this:
+Assuming this works, you can now invoke cowbel with the 'cowbel' shell script.
+ ./cowbel -Iinclude test/life.cow -o life
+This should produce an executable called 'life' which you can run.
+If it *didn't* work, most likely you'll need to edit the Java classpath
+because things on your system don't match mine. The classpath is stored in
+'build.xml' and 'cowbel' and should be trivial to modify.
+It's probably also a good idea to run the test suite, just to make sure
+Cowbel is a programming language, and as such the manual is beyond the scope
+of this README. Please see the cowbel web site for more information:
+If you use cowbel, please join the mailing list. This will allow you
+to ask questions, hopefully receive answers, and get news about any
+new releases. You can subscribe or view the archives at the following page:
+For reference, the distribution you're looking at right now contains:
+ src/ the Java source code to the cowbel compiler
+ build.xml the antfile that builds the compiler
+ cowbel a shell script that runs the compiler
+ include/ the cowbel standard library
+ test/ the test suite and example code
+ run-tests a shell script that runs the test suite
+There's a whole bunch of stuff missing in cowbel. Most notably:
+ - complete type checking (some invalid programs will be accepted)
+ - dataflow analysis (undefined variables and missing return arguments are
+ - complete coverage of primitive data types (strings only support three
+ - interface inheritence
+If you find anything else wrong, feel free to file a bug here:
+I like bug reports. I like them even better if they have a minimal test case
+Most of cowbel is available under the two-clause BSD license. Please see the
+COPYING.BSD file for the full text.
+Portions of cowbel, including the test suite and the runtime library, are
+Creative Commons Zero distributable. Please see the COPYING.CC0 file for more
+Cowbel 0.1: 2012-02-13: Initial release.
+Cowbel was written by me, David Given. You may contact me at email@example.com,
+or visit my website at http://www.cowlark.com. There may or may not be
+anything interesting there.