[TUHS] Algol68 vs. C at Bell Labs

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Thu Jun 30 15:08:31 AEST 2016

scj at yaccman.com scripsit:

> Steve Bourne tried hard to interest us in A68, and I personally liked some
> features of it (especially the automatic type morphing of arguments into
> the expected types).  But the documentation was a huge barrier--all the
> familiar ideas were given completely new (and unintuitive) names, making
> it very difficult to get into.

I heartily agree.  That and the van Wijngaarden grammar were serious
roadblocks to understanding, though such grammars are themselves very
elegant, especially in the form used by the Revised Report.

> I may be biased in my view, but I think one fatal mistake that A68 made
> was that it had no scheme for porting the language to the plethora of
> computers and systems around at that time.  (The Bliss language from CMU
> had a similar problem, requiring a bigger computer to compile for the
> PDP-11).  Pascal had P-code, and gave C a real run, especially as a
> teaching language.  C had PCC.


John Cowan          http://www.ccil.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
That you can cover for the plentiful and often gaping errors, misconstruals
and disinformation in your posts through sheer volume -- that is another
misconception.  --Mike to Peter

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