[TUHS] Why did PDPs become so popular?

Clement T. Cole clemc at ccc.com
Sun Dec 31 22:56:06 AEST 2017

> On Dec 31, 2017, at 12:20 AM, Rudi Blom <rudi.j.blom at gmail.com> wrote:
> .With the
> Compaq C compiler and HP-UX ANSI C I mostly get pages of warning and a
> few errors. By the time I 'corrected' what I think is relevant some
> nasty coredumps tend to disappear :-)

I had to chuckle when we read these two lines.   As Paul I’m sure also remembers and mentioned about the 32/64 bit issues, when we released Alpha there we very few to zero tools available to help find errors in ISV or customer created C code that was caused by assumptions of size.   As you point out with the new ‘Gem’ compilers a great deal of work was spent by Paul and his brothers and sisters in the compiler group putting in just those messages.  For C++ it was worse than C because the language was so new at the time few tools for it existed.  So one of our engineers, Judy Ward, lead the effort to make the C++ front end be extremely useful and offered extremely good errors and warnings (she also had worked on the C FE before that).

When people complained about the compiler before no so “noisy” my response was “Listen to Judy’s advise.  She’s seeing something you are not and she knows more about C and C++ that all of the rest of us.”

We discovered a curious thing.  The ISVs reported way fewer bugs after the Alpha port because Judy’s messages forced them to clean up long standing issues that were silently causing problem on other systems.    I’ve always said Alpha C and C++ compilers was the greatest gift to the Sparc ISVs there was.

Like you to this day, except for possibly Gimple’s Flexilint product, the old DEC compilers are still the best tools I have ever used to clean up code.

I’ve reminded and thanked Judy for this many times when I seen her.  That was a labor of love by some folks that really cared to make a great product as useful as it could be.


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