On 11/16/2021 12:54 PM, Nemo Nusquam wrote:
On 2021-11-16 09:57, Douglas McIlroy wrote:
> The following remark stirred old memories. Apologies for straying off
> the path of TUHS.
>> I have gotten the impression that [PL/I] was a
language that was
>> beloved by no one.
> As I was a designer of PL/I, an implementer of EPL (the preliminary
> PL/I compiler used to build Multics), and author of the first PL/I
> program to appear in the ACM Collected Algorithms, it's a bit hard to
> admit that PL/I was "insignificant". I'm proud, though, of having
> conceived the SIGNAL statement, which pioneered exception handling,
> and the USES and SETS attributes, which unfortunately sank into
> oblivion. I also spurred Bud Lawson to invent -> for pointer-chasing.
> The former notation C(B(A)) became A->B->C. This was PL/I's gift to C.
> After the ACM program I never wrote another line
> Gratification finally came forty years on when I met a retired
> programmer who, unaware of my PL/I connection, volunteered that she
> had loved PL/I above all other programming languages.
My first language was actually PL/C (and the computer
centre did not
charge for runs in PL/C). I needed to use PL/I for some thesis-related
work and ran into the JLC wall -- no issues with the former, many issues
with the latter. One of the support people, upon learning that I was
using PL/I, said: "PL/I's alright!"
Inside IBM in the 70s, PL/I was definitely not "insignificant". From my
perspective it was the most reasonable language available on VM/370. I
arrived at Yorktown in 1975 fresh from Austin with a couple of boxes of
punch cards of my "APLOMB" simulation program written in Fortran. I was
surprised when I was encouraged to pursue major enhancement of APLOMB
and dismayed by continuing in Fortran. After a period of increasing
frustration, I wrote a SNOBOL program to convert APLOMB to PL/I and
become the basis for RESQ
long as I avoided questionable parts of IBM's PL/I, I was happy with
PL/I. It is hard to imagine that RESQ would have succeeded in any other
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