Algol & MTS / was Re: Bootstrappable language

Brent Hilpert hilpert at
Thu Dec 11 16:33:33 CST 2008

Dennis Boone wrote:
>  > We were taught Algol in 1st year Comp Sci, I quite liked it (except for
>  > the verbosity of "BEGIN"-"END") for it's regularity, but that may have
>  > something to do with it being the first structured language I
>  > experienced (various assemblers and BASICs prior). Waterloo version - I
>  > believe it was something near Algol 68, running in batch (cards) under
>  > MTS.
> I'll have to look through my collection of docs to see if I can find
> anything about the Algol compiler.  Or perhaps this was a UBC addition
> that wasn't in the distribution?

(See intervening message about AlgolW.)

The preface in the textbook "Fanget An" begins:
  "Fanget An was first written by Roger Palay to serve as the text for a course
   in elementary programming concepts, Computer and Communication Sciences 274
   at the University of Michigan. ..."

  "... represents our knowledge and understanding of the state of AlgolW on MTS
   as of July 19, 1978. AlgolW is an evolving language. ..."

A few other people mentioned but no more about the origins of the language/effort.

>  > (Anyone recall the MTS OS: Michigan Terminal System?)
> Yes.  A friend attended UMich, and we used their machine for email.
> (Well, at that point it would have been one of their machines, as that
> was about when they started having two: UM and UB.)  Helped him with a
> Pascal class once by taking my Osborne-1 down to use as a terminal.

It only ran at half-a-dozen-or-so sites around the world to my knowledge, but
another one of those massive efforts that bit the dust with the demise of
large, central time-sharing systems.

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