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break-even point

break-even point: n. in the process of implementing a new computer
   language, the point at which the language is sufficiently effective
   that one can implement the language in itself.  That is, for a new
   language called, hypothetically, FOOGOL, one has reached break-even
   when one can write a demonstration compiler for FOOGOL in FOOGOL,
   discard the original implementation language, and thereafter use
   working versions of FOOGOL to develop newer ones.  This is an
   important milestone; see MFTL.

[Since this entry was first written, several correspondents have reported that there actually was a compiler for a tiny Algol-like language called Foogol floating around on various vaxen in the early and mid-1980s. The above example may not, after all, be hypothetical. -- ESR]