strangest systems I've sent email from

Diane Bruce db at
Fri Apr 29 15:03:31 CDT 2016

On Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 01:19:34PM -0400, Noel Chiappa wrote:
>     > From: Diane Bruce
>     > PL/M wasn't bad either.
> I forgot about PL/M...


>     > Telephone companies preferred deterministic behaviour from their code
>     > and operating systems.
> Not just telco's. Many (most?) people doing stand-alone applications want
> this, or something close to it.


>     > There are many warts in C I would remove if I had the power to. ;)
> Eh, don't we all.


> My favourite peeve: in cloning BCPL, they left out 'valof/resultis'. That
> made certain kinds of macros really, really ugly...


>     > C is a high level PDP-11 assembler to this day. (auto increment and
>     > decrement)
> This myth persists, but it's wrong. B (the typeless predecessor to C) on the
> PDP-7 had them, before the PDP-11 existed, as DMR attests:
>   People often guess that they were created to use the auto-increment and
>   auto-decrement address modes provided by the DEC PDP-11 on which C and Unix
>   first became popular. This is historically impossible, since there was no
>   PDP-11 when B was developed. 

Yes I knew this. ;) Pity they didn't get it right the first time.
I've had to fix some crufty old code in my time.

Still adding char to C I'd consider a PDP-11'ism.

> The document that's excerted from:
> might be of interest here, since it contains a section ("Whence Success?")

I've read this many times. ;)

> containing his take on why C was a success (e.g. "it evidently satisfied a
> need for a system implementation language efficient enough to displace
> assembly language, yet sufficiently abstract and fluent to describe
> algorithms and interactions in a wide variety of environments").

I loved that it started out as a Fortran compiler that failed.
"After a rapidly scuttled attempt at Fortran,..."

In that era one had to have a highly optimized Fortran. ;) I remember
people writing text editors in Fortran and I saw one debugger 
written in Fortran. It's a good thing it was rapidly scuttled.

> 	Noel

- db at db at

More information about the cctalk mailing list