pdp-11 assembly standards

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Tue Jan 10 11:21:01 CST 2017

    > From: Phil Budne

    > I've always assumed the P in PAL was for paper tape.
    > The Wikipedia artile for PDP-8 says that PAL-8 assembled from paper
    > tape into memory, so the A and L could have been for Assembler and
    > Loader.

I have a number of different versions of the "PDP-11 Paper Tape Software"
manual, and the earliest one (DEC-11-GGPB-D, March '71) turns out to be for
PAL-11A, and it says it stands for "Program Assembly Language for the
PDP-11's Absolute Assembler" (pg. 3-1).

Amusing factoid: the manual says it takes about 45 minutes to re-assemble
PAL-11A from the source tape, and punch a new binary tape (this is using the

    > ISTR PAL-11A was also an "absolute" assembler (did not output REL
    > files), but there was also a PAL-11R.

Yup. PAL-11A took an input an ASCII tape with the program, and produced as
output "an absolute binary tape" (pg. 3-23).

A later version of the 'Paper Tape Software' manual (DEC-11-ASDB-D, May '71)
covers PAL11-R (although it does not, alas, decribe the relocatable output
format in detail - although I think it's documented elsewhere), and also
Link-11 and Libr-11. PAL11-R require DOS.


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