#brainfuck #esolang #compiler #interpreter

bin+lib brainoxide

An optimizing Brainfuck compiler/interpreter

2 releases

0.1.1 Feb 19, 2023
0.1.0 Feb 3, 2023

#88 in Programming languages




[ On crates.io ]

An optimizing Brainfuck interpreter/compiler-to-C in Rust.

Made as a project to learn Rust. Code is for sure not idiomatic and quite messy in places.


  • Optimisation
  • Fuzz tested
  • Regression test suite
  • Two backend modes: interpret or generate C code


Does the world need yet another BF implementation? Not really. Did I have fun making it, and did I learn things? Yes.


BrainOxide performs the following optimisations:

  • Instruction merging
  • Loop lowering: while → if, while → equations / set
  • Constant folding
  • IO operation merging: Merges constant outputs into a single byte array output.
  • Dead store elimination
  • Peephole optimisation: [>], [>>], ... → various seeks

BrainOxide internally differentiates between balanced and unbalanced code sections. This refers to the amount of > vs <. In a balanced code sections we know all offsets, and are thus able to optimise better. In unbalanced sections we have very limited abilities to optimise.

For balanced code sections BrainOxide builds a directed acyclic graph (DAG) and performs the optimisation on the DAG.

Optimisation wish list

  • Partial evaluation until first input instruction:

    This could potentially constant fold large programs into a single fputs() call. It would have to be opt-in. Additionally, it only makes sense for code gen mode.

  • Better equation handling:

    Right now the lowering of loops into equations is fairly limited and simplistic. The code cannot lower loops already containing equations for example, and only a loop index stride of -1 is supported.

  • Loop/If unrolling:

    Unroll loops when we know the iteration count statically, if it makes sense. A heuristic would be needed.

Code stability

This code base does not have a stable API. It is not meant to be used as a library. The command line flags are not stable either, as there are some changes I'd like to make to allow more flexible logging options.

This software has only been tested on an up-to-date install of Arch Linux x86-64. If it happens to work on non-Linux, that is a happy accident.

Minimum supported rust version (MSRV)

YMMV. It works on rustc 1.67.0 as of writing. It should continue working on the latest stable Rust (except fuzz testing that needs nightly). I will not test on older versions than whatever happens to be the latest stable when I make a change.

So in summary: There is no MSRV policy.


BrainOxide is released under GPL 3.0 (only, not "or later").


~153K SLoC