Classic programming

Jay Jaeger cube1 at
Sat Aug 8 14:13:14 CDT 2015

I have always felt that the language name is SNOBOL, with multiple
versions, kind of like FORTRAN II (which is what the 1410 had), FORTRAN
IV, FORTRAN V, etc., but Griswold seems to think otherwise.  ;)

>From a CACM article "A history of the SNOBOL programming languages" from
R. E. Griswold, the abstract reads:

"Development of the SNOBOL language began in 1962. It was followed by
SNOBOL2, SNOBOL3, and SNOBOL4. Except for SNOBOL2 and SNOBOL3 (which
were closely related), the others differ substantially and hence are
more properly considered separate languages than versions of one
language. In this paper historical emphasis is placed on the original
language, SNOBOL, although important aspects of the subsequent languages
are covered."

A version of SNOBOL3 is available in the 6th Edition Unix distribution,
which is available online.  (/usr/bin/sno).

Source can be found at:

More generally, PUPS has and bitsavers have UNIX stuff:

7th edition:

6th edition:

MINI-Unix (which ran on machines without memory management):


On 8/8/2015 12:55 PM, Chuck Guzis wrote:
> On 08/08/2015 08:44 AM, Jay Jaeger wrote:
>> If you like to play with classics like SNOBOL in their original
>> form, then you can run SNOBOL and SPITBOL under the Hercules IBM
>> mainframe emulator.
>> (These days I use Perl for the stuff I used to do in SNOBOL back
>> when).
> Technically, however, isn't the language "SNOBOL4", not "SNOBOL"?  At
> least that's the way my bought-in-1968 black covered copy has it.  I've
> tried it on a 360/40 and a CDC 6600 (even in 1968, there existed several
> "ports' of it, including for the Univac 1108 and RCA Spectrola as well
> as one for the Intel 8080 under CP/M.
> As others have pointed out, there are better tools now.
> Does the code from Bell Labs SNOBOL 1, 2, or 3 still exist anywhere?
> --Chuck

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