Rich kids are into COBOL

Eric Smith spacewar at
Wed Feb 18 21:52:14 CST 2015

On Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 8:18 PM, Chuck Guzis <cclist at> wrote:
> Anyone know of a C that runs on a 1401 or even a 7080?  Packed
> variable-length decimal?

The C standard was deliberately written to be usable on
one's-complement and sign-magnitude binary machines, in addition to
the now-ubiquitous two's-complement, but I'm pretty certain that the
data type requirements of the standard can't be met on a natively
decimal machine. For example, you could define an effectively 8-bit
char type, but it wouldn't be the case that all of the other data
types could be composed only of legal char values. (Unless you
actually simulated all of the data types in that way.)

You could have a non-standard-compliant but very C-like language. I
haven't heard of it being done on a natively decimal machine, whether
fixed- or variable- word length.

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