[TUHS] Unix stories, Stephen Bourne and IF-FI in C code

arnold at skeeve.com arnold at skeeve.com
Tue Jan 10 01:45:47 AEST 2017


I remember the Bournegol well; I did some hacking on the BSD shell.

In general, it wasn't too unusual for people from Pascal backgrounds to
do similar things, e.g.

	#define repeat		do {
	#define until(cond)	} while (! (cond))

(I remember for me personally that do...while sure looked weird for
my first few years of C programming. :-)

(Also, I would not recommend doing that; I'm just noting that
people often did do stuff like that.)

FWIW, it was the USG guys who de-Algolized the sh code, at SVR2,
I believe. I think it was also done by the Research guys at a
later point, but without V8/V9/V10 to look at it, it's hard to know.

If we're talking about langauge design, the Ada guys borrowed a
page from Algol 68's book and let the keywords do the grouping
instead of requiring begin-end.  I personally find that somewhat
more elegant.

Arnold

Marc Rochkind <rochkind at basepath.com> wrote:

> Just a quick note about Algol vs. Algol 68: The two are used
> interchangeably (it seems) in this thread, but they're very different
> languages, with very different control structures. Someone mentioned he had
> studied Algol in school, which is plausible. If he in fact studied Algol
> 68, that's worth a story in its own right!
>
> [Whoops... forgot to properly terminate that last sentence.]
>
> fi
>
> --Marc
>
> On Sun, Jan 8, 2017 at 8:31 PM, Steve Johnson <scj at yaccman.com> wrote:
>
> > I wasn't directly involved in this, but I do remember Dennis telling me
> > essentially the same story.  I don't recall him mentioning Ken's name, just
> > that "we couldn't use *od* because that was already taken".
> >
> > Steve B and I had adjacent offices, so I overheard a lot of the
> > discussions about the Bourne shell.  The quoting mechanisms, in particular,
> > got a lot of attention, I think to good end.  There was a lot more thought
> > there than is evident from the surface...
> >
> > Steve (not Bourne)
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From:
> > "Norman Wilson" <norman at oclsc.org>
> >
> > To:
> > <tuhs at tuhs.org>
> > Cc:
> >
> > Sent:
> > Sun, 08 Jan 2017 21:30:03 -0500
> > Subject:
> > Re: [TUHS] Unix stories, Stephen Bourne and IF-FI in C code
> >
> >
> >
> > Doug McIlroy:
> >
> > There was some pushback which resulted in the strange compromise
> > of if-fi, case-esac, do-done. Alas, the details have slipped from
> > memory. Help, scj?
> >
> > ====
> >
> > do-od would have required renaming the long-tenured od(1).
> >
> > I remember a tale--possibly chat in the UNIX Room at one point in
> > the latter 1980s--that Steve tried and tried and tried to convince
> > Ken to rename od, in the name of symmetry and elegance. Ken simply
> > said no, as many times as it took. I don't remember who I heard this
> > from; anyone still in touch with Ken who can ask him?
> >
> > Norman Wilson
> > Toronto ON
> >
> >


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