Display-less computing was Re: TOP POSTING

Charles Anthony charles.unix.pro at gmail.com
Sat Dec 12 18:53:40 CST 2015

On Sat, Dec 12, 2015 at 4:45 PM, Fred Cisin <cisin at xenosoft.com> wrote:

> you could feed the cards through an INTERPRETER, which printed the card
>>> content on the card.
>> [snip]
>>> For many years, I kept around a plug-board labelled "COBOL INTERPRETER",
>>> just to prove that a COBOL interpreter was possible :-)
> On Sat, 12 Dec 2015, Eric Christopherson wrote:
>> Are you using "interpreter" in two senses here, or just one? That is to
>> say, I'm not sure if you're saying the "COBOL interpreter" was just a
>> program that printed COBOL source on a punched card, or if you mean it
>> actually ran the program.
> Yes, I was deliberately conflating two disparate meanings of the word.
> When a friend was discussing compilers V interpreters, I pointed to the
> plug-board, and said, "SEE! There IS a COBOL interpreter!"
> The board was itself not a COBOL interpreter, nor even intended to be
> labelled as such.  The ladelling was intended to identify that it was a
> plug-board FOR the Interpreter (not BEING an interpeter), and that it was
> plug-wire programmed for doing decks of cards containing COBOL code.
> "COBOL" and "INTERPRETER" should have been two separate labels. I kept the
> board around for years, just for the sake of making that ridiculous
> misinterpretation.
The plug board could control which columns of the punch card appeared in
which columns of the printout; it served as a simple FORMAT program. The
COBOL interpreter plugboard rearranged the COBOL source on the punch card
to a more readable style on the printer.

-- Charles

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