Rich kids are into COBOL

Paul Koning paulkoning at
Sat Feb 28 08:01:00 CST 2015

> On Feb 28, 2015, at 6:02 AM, Johnny Billquist <bqt at> wrote:
> On 2015-02-28 00:19, Dave G4UGM wrote:
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: cctalk [mailto:cctalk-bounces at] On Behalf Of Eric Smith
>>> Sent: 27 February 2015 19:53
>>> To: General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts
>>> Subject: Re: Rich kids are into COBOL
>>> On Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 11:27 AM, Chuck Guzis <cclist at> wrote:
>>>> It seems to me to be very strange that today we're coding in a
>>>> language that was developed for a PDP-11 minicomputer.
>>> Developed for the PDP-7, actually.  Contrary to popular belief, the "++" and
>>> "--" operators were NOT the result of the PDP-11 addressing modes.
>> Its history is deeper than that. Its part of a family of bracketed languages that started with BCPL which became "B" and then "C".  BCPL was written for the IBM7090.
> And here I was sitting, thinking they all originated with Algol…

They did, of course; Algol after all is the first block structured language, and most block structured languages since then copied its approach to name and data scope.  (Not all; for example, Python has scope rules that are noticeably different.)

Then there was Algol 68, which in spite of its name is not all that close to Algol 60.  It added a number of innovations that subsequently were adopted by C++.  The iostreams mechanism is a rather obvious example (I believe Stroustrup points out the Algol 68 heritage explicitly in one of his books).


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