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

Derek Fawcus dfawcus+lists-tuhs at employees.org
Tue Jan 10 04:48:09 AEST 2017

On Mon, Jan 09, 2017 at 08:30:58am -0700, Marc Rochkind wrote:
> If he in fact studied Algol 68, that's worth a story in its own right!

Surrey University, 1986-1990; reading EE,  we had a set of programming
lectures where we were required to learn it (to some extent) as we had
to submit course work written in it.

I tended to do the work in C on the dept Gould running unix,  then
transliterate to Algol 68 for the final submission.  This was because
the compiler was only available as a batch submission process,  and we'd
have long turn arounds just to get past syntax checks.  Especially when
100 of us were trying to submit jobs at the same time.

I still recall the frustration of a few hours turn around just to get
an error about 'semi-colon not required here', which would then complain
'semi-colon required once one removed it'.

I actually quite liked it,  just it was a bit verbose,  and I never figured
out how to do pointers or dynamic allocation in it at the time,  so some
conversions ended up being less than optimal.

As I recall one could convert the ternary op to an IF expression,  and the
loop construct combined all of 'while' 'for' and 'do while' depending upon
which syntax elements one used.


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