[TUHS] Etymology of bc(1)
dave at horsfall.org
Fri Sep 12 11:03:03 AEST 2014
On Thu, 11 Sep 2014, John Cowan wrote:
> > I've heard "binary" because it used binary arithmetic (and limited
> > precision), and "basic" because it was a lot simpler than "dc" (which
> > I've always thought was "decimal" calculator due to it using arbitrary
> > precision decimal arithmetic).
> That can't be right. Bc was just an overlay to dc that parsed bc
> language, compiled it into dc language, and fed dc from a pipe (all the
> output was direct from dc). So the arithmetic capabilities were exactly
> the same.
Hey, I never made any claim as to its veracity, and I lost my old manuals
in a house move.
On the *nix systems to which I have access, bc(1) is a standalone
program on FreeBSD and OSX, but pipes to dc(1) on OpenBSD. I cannot
check my Penguin box (Ubuntu) because its keyboard died, and I didn't
set up remote access to it.
All boxen say "arbitrary-precision arithmetic language and calculator" or
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