Bootstrappable language

Chuck Guzis cclist at
Sun Dec 14 13:41:48 CST 2008

On 14 Dec 2008 at 10:33, bfranchuk at wrote:

> 99% of the code I have seen assumes 8 bit bytes.
> I have decided to a 20 bit cpu ... 10 bit bytes.  So far every thing
> seems to fit in the CPLD's I can get, but it is not done until
> I get all the bugs checking done, as right now it is more hacking
> as I go with the logic.

Is there any need for any "byte-edness" at all?  Stick with a 
convenient word size, make it easy to shift and mask out subfields 
and forget about "bytes".  You get the benefit of being able to 
address more memory with fewer bits if you stick to word addressing.

The IBM marketing people used to propogate the notion that the high-
end CDC mainframes were only good for "scientific" applications 
(read:  "written in FORTRAN), where the S/360 architecture with its 
rich memory-to-memory byte and BCD manipulation instruction 
repertoire would smoke the competition in "commercial" applications 
(read:  "written in COBOL").

In fact, for a time, CDC had one of the fastest COBOLs on the planet, 
S/360 notwithstanding.  When you can do things 60 bits at a time fast 
enough to keep memory busy, you don't need a fancy "commercial 
instruction set" option.  Seymour Cray was no idiot.

I submit that the details of any instruction set over another hardly 
matters, so long as an instruction set is complete (i.e., there's no 
"you can't get there from here" situation) and is executed 


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