Paul Koning paulkoning at comcast.net
Sun Jan 15 09:35:32 CST 2017

> On Jan 14, 2017, at 3:29 PM, Cameron Kaiser <spectre at floodgap.com> wrote:
>> Oh my!  You couldn't have a subroutine that called another
>> subroutine, using their surroutine call/return instructions!  I never
>> knew that!
> Strictly speaking, that would still be true of any CPU that uses a link
> register instead of a stack for return addresses (most RISC CPUs including
> PowerPC, ARM and MIPS; TMS 9900; etc). These architectures have to explicitly
> save the return address in the LR as part of the callee function prologue
> just as these older systems would have had to (or the equivalent operation).

Dijkstra's objection wasn't to linkage via a register -- after all, his earlier machine (the Electrologica X1) does that too, or more precisely via one of 16 low core locations.  The problem with the 1620 is that the link register is not readable -- it's an invisible register.  And that's pretty much unique; all the other machines use a program-accessible register.  So you can context switch the link address, but not on the 1620.

The other obvious issue with the 1620 is that it has no interrupts, so it's hard to see how you would do multiprogramming.  And one other, more obscure, objection is that while it has paper tape readers, it's incapable of reading paper tapes with arbitrary data.  It only accepts tapes punched with the specific character coding it likes.


More information about the cctech mailing list