Rich kids are into COBOL

Chuck Guzis cclist at
Fri Feb 27 12:27:08 CST 2015

On 02/27/2015 06:29 AM, Peter Corlett wrote:

> C does support bitfields, but can't take the address of one. The latter is a
> fairly uncommon requirement though, and so algorithms that require it will have
> to roll their own using mask and shift operations. Given that x86 doesn't have
> bitfield instructions and has to fake it with mask and shift, this is no great
> loss in practice. It wouldn't surprise me if there was a bitfield_ptr<> in
> Boost which did this.

Well, the 386+ CPUs have bit manipulation instructions and *almost* had 
bit string/field instructions.  There are still books out there that 
describe in detail the function of the BFxxx instructions.

I suppose that it's unreasonable for a language to support processor 
instruction set extensions.  But APL does a great job of supporting 
vectors; has a syntax for things such as dot-product, etc.  So it can't 
be that K&R weren't aware of such things.

It seems to me to be very strange that today we're coding in a language 
that was developed for a PDP-11 minicomputer.


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